Dr. Chowdhury is a scholar activist and yogi with several years of experience working in the field of community corrections and teaching in higher education. During her career as a Probation Officer, her passion was working with justice involved youth and partnering with local schools to create positive outcomes for the young people she supervised.
Presently, she teaches at Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY) within the Social Science, Human Services and Criminal Justice Department. Prior to her current appointment, she taught at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Rutgers University. She has experience in teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses that include Research Methods, Corrections, Gender Crime and Justice, Gangs and Street Crimes, Introduction to Criminal Justice, Contemporary Issues, Community Resource Management, Advanced Corrections, Race and Crime and Juveniles and Violence. She loves her students and believes that their achievements are her greatest rewards in life. One of her most meaningful experiences in teaching has been teaching students for the NJ STEP program inside correctional facilities. Presently, she advocates for continued opportunities for students inside correctional facilities around the country.
Dr. Chowdhury’s research interests are intersectionality, juvenile justice, gender and crime, mass incarceration, restorative justice, collective efficacy, prison infractions and punishment, racial disparity and the criminal justice system, and trauma focused violence interventions. In 2017, she co-founded a nonprofit entitled Reimagining Justice. Her partners and her provide training, motivational speaking, transformative mentoring, narrative therapy, consultation, resilience circles and support for organizations and community members that are looking to develop innovative solutions for youth in schools and the community. Reimagining Justice has partnered with organizations in Belize, Illinois, Virginia, NJ and NY in the first year of its incorporation. The goal of this organization is to reimagine a justice system that provides love, empathy, equality and opportunities for our communitie
“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change, I’m changing the things I cannot accept”
Theodore Martinez, commonly known as Teddie is a campaigner against gun violence and advocate for returning citizens (ex-felons). Born and raised in the city of Paterson, Teddie has worked with communities across the city, state, and country, through organizations like Paterson’s Men Stand UP, Queens Life Camp Inc., Newark ‘s FP Youth OutCry Foundation and Reimagining Justice to eradicate violence.
In 1990, Teddie fell victim to a brutal gun assault where he was shot 11 times. It is that experience that motivates him to keep fighting to end the vicious cycle of violence that’s sweeping across America- not just in Paterson. To raise awareness of the ongoing violence in the city of Paterson, using Life Camps Inc theme ‘’BURY DA BEEF” Teddie collaborated with other community organization, City Officials, Pastors and Community members and organized a series of anti –violence rallies. In 2009, after witnessing a young man get murdered, Teddie co-created Project Change Anti- Violence Movement with Kenyatte Stewart a lawyer from Paterson NJ. Together they hosted anti- violence seminars and speaking engagements in the Paterson Public School system. In 2010, they organized a successful truce among local gang members in the city of Paterson that ended months of violence in the city. In 2012, Teddie Co-founded PROJECT RECONNECT a 501c3 nonprofit organization with his Barbara. In 2013, Teddie and Barbara created a documentary titled ‘’Death by Design” which addressed the cause, affect and cure to violence in the city of Paterson. Though his work with Project Reconnect, he was instrumental in organizing a truce in 2015 with city officials. Teddie also serves as mentor and life coach to men and woman of all ages.
Casey C. Melvin is native to the Great City of Paterson where he has lived, worked and thrivedfor his entire life. He is a business owner, and a passionate advocate. He has beenself-employed for more than twenty-four years. After completing cosmetology training at Wilfred Academy in 1990, Melvin opened the door to his barber shop, Kutt Creators, in 1994. Thebarbershop changed names in 1998 to Simply the Best Barbershop and was at the samelocation for more than twenty-five years.
He is active in community organizations including The Paterson Street Keepers which he co-founded in 2001, and The Men Stand Up Anti-violence Initiative where he served as manager.
Both organizations address violence, provide resources and aim to bring peace in the streets.Other organizations include Team Charity, and BAND Against Neighborhood Destruction. As aparent, he has served as president of the PTO and as president of the Paterson Public SchoolsParent Leadership Alliance. He brings to the Paterson Healing Collective the full benefits of all the positive relationships that he has built over the years with people no matter their job title, level of education, or station in life. A quote that he lives by comes from Marcus Garvey, “I trust that you will so live today as to realize that you are masters of your own destiny, masters of yourfate; if there is anything you want in this world, it is for you to strike out with confidence and faith in self and reach for it.”
Adam Garrastegui, Esq. is a New Jersey attorney and graduate of Rutgers Law School and Rutgers Business School where he received his JDMBA and Certificate in Corporate and Business Law. Post-graduation, he served a federal judicial clerkship with a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the District of New Jersey and later practiced as a Bankruptcy and Corporate Restructuring associate.
Samiyah Abdullah is a Newark New Jersey native, educated in North Jersey school system. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a major in Criminal Justice and a minor in Legal Studies. She has dedicated her career to being a public servant. She is a personal assistant for the author of Friend in Your Pocket Inc. Which is an inspirational/ motivational book for adults and children.
Barbara has been a part of the anti-violence movement since 2001, and currently works with Reimagining Justice as Data/Grant manager for the Paterson, NJ Hospital Violence Intervention Program (HVIP). As single mother, helping two sons grow into maturity and two daughters become women, Barbara witnessed the growing gang violence in the city of Paterson and was determined to make a difference, starting with her children.
Rahshon Dixon currently serves as the Parks Department Supervisor for the Department of Public Works in the City of Paterson. A native of Paterson, New Jersey, Mr. Dixon is a concerned community member who has devoted his time to violence prevention and advocacy in the city. He is also a member of several grass roots organizations in the City of Paterson such as The B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S. of Paterson Inc., The POWER Coalition and The Village.
LaQuan Hargrove currently serves as the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) Coordinator & Case Expeditor for Passaic County’s Department of Human Services. A native of Newark, New Jersey, Mr. Hargrove is a concerned community member who has devoted his career to advocating for children and families who have come into contact with the Juvenile Justice System.
Najee is a High-Risk Interventionist at PHC. He has experience as a survivor of violence himself and his goal in this position is to help restore the communities in Paterson, NJ, with guidance, mentoring, and more community outings. His skill set includes a very strong mindset who is always willing to learn and help others out.
Isaiah is a High-Risk Interventionist at PHC. He has experience as a survivor of violence and his goal in this position is to help individuals get their life together and to change the negative thinking of the community into positive and to also have others support and help others in the best way possible. His skill set includes reliability ,goal setting, team building, communication, and effective feedback.
Born and raised in Harlem, Jason Davis is an African American Author, Poet, Inspirational Speaker, and Parent Consultant on youth self-inflicted injuries. Davis has cultivated a youth empowerment movement based on gang diversion and strengthening mental health in the Black community. As an adolescent, he found himself drawn to a life riddled with drugs and gang affiliation.
I was born and raised in West New York N.J. Throughout my high school years, I was in a program called “Tomorrow’s Teachers” and it allowed me to work with children from the grades Kindergarten to High school. While being in this program I tutored throughout Hudson County. Also, while being in the program I received an award from the “Olivero’s Teaching family”.
Terrence is a life long Paterson resident who now serves as an outreach worker and mentor for his community. He is a recent survivor of gun violence and utilizes his experience and community ties to mediate conflict.
Javis is a life long Paterson resident who now serves as an outreach worker and mentor for his community. He is a survivor of gun violence and utilizes his experience and community ties to mediate conflict.
Kashi is a life long Paterson resident who now serves as an outreach worker and mentor for his community. He is a recent survivor of gun violence and utilizes his experience and community ties to mediate conflict. Kashif is a credible messenger who can explain the hardships youth face when they make a decision that can be life altering.
Megan is a Licensed Social Worker in the State of New Jersey with experience counseling and providing case management services for justice-involved individuals. Her own encounters with the prison system as a visiting family member emphasized that violence manifests not only person to person but structurally, through our society and institutions. Working with others to reimagine these structures in more humanizing and restorative forms is a core passion that brought her to join the team at Paterson Healing Collective.