Community Representatives - Reimagining Public Safety Task Force

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Karyne Messina Akhtar

I am a Montgomery County resident and a dedicated public servant committed to improving our community. I am currently employed by the United States Department of Health & Human Services in the Office of the General Counsel. Prior to my tenure with the federal government, I was a prosecutor in Prince George’s County and a judicial law clerk in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County. In that capacity, I worked closely with officers and police departments for nearly a decade. In addition to my professional experience, I volunteer on the Board of Directors for MD CASA, the state arm of a national nonprofit organization that provides services to children who have been abused and neglected. I also serve as a Commissioner on the Ethics Commission for the City of Rockville. Based on all of these experiences, I believe I can offer a unique perspective to this task force and provide a valuable contribution to the reimagine public safety mission.

Brenda Olakintan Akinnagbe, MPH

Brenda Akinnagbe is a life-long resident of Montgomery County. With a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University, and a Master of Public Health from the George Washington University she has served in roles working for clients with mental and substance abuse disorders, students, healthcare workers and immigrant communities. As a first generation American to Nigerian and Salvadoran parents, she values meaningful representation, particularly for historically marginalized groups. Currently, Brenda serves as the Director of Infection Prevention and Control for Suburban Hospital in Bethesda.”

Barton Aronson, Esq.

I have lived in Montgomery County with my family for 26 years. I am currently general counsel and chief compliance officer for a financial services firm; prior to that I was a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Hogan Lovells. I have served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., where I handled matters including homicide, sexual assault, and other serious crimes; for several of my years in the U.S. attorney's office, I focused mainly on domestic violence. I have taught criminal procedure at Georgetown University Law Center and lectured on issues related to domestic violence at American University law school and George Washington medical school. I am currently the Chair of the Board of Trustees at Green Acres School in Bethesda.

Mumin Barre

I have been a resident of Montgomery County for 31 years. I have a long history of community service and involvement in a variety of capacities and through different groups/organizations. I am a member of and an advocate for the needs and concerns of a growing diverse immigrant community and bring a unique experience to the efforts to make our community safe, strong and vibrant. Some of the groups/organizations that served on and/or continue to serve on are Montgomery County Muslim Council, Montgomery Sister Cities, County Executive's African Affairs Advisory Group, Faith Community Working Group's Education Committee, and the African Affairs Commission for Governor O'Malley.

Marlene Beckman, Esq.

While I understand the importance of TF citizen diversity, my 37 years at the U.S. Department of Justice working on police and criminal justice reform--including directly with AGs Reno and Holder-- and my decades volunteering at the state and County levels in law enforcement, juvenile, courts and corrections issues would be a helpful addition to the TF's mission. Early in my three- term tenure on the CJCC, I assisted the MCPD first establish the County's community policing initiative; I served several terms on the Pre-release Center Board; mentored returning citizens in the Welcome Home Reentry program; and, assisted inmates at the jail obtain gainful employment. I also bring a background of a master’s degree in Counseling and a law degree from Georgetown University, as well as being an excellent writer. I am a lifelong resident of the County and, since retired, have the time, energy and enthusiasm--as well as the background--to participate on this vitally important endeavor. Thank you for considering me. Full resume and references on request.

Robert Binger, M.S.

I am a rehabilitation specialist working in a mental health office in Montgomery County. I obtained my B.S. in psychology at St. Mary's College of Maryland and my M.S. in Counseling Psychology at Frostburg State University. I have worked in hospital behavioral health units, outpatient offices and out in the community as a social worker during the past three years.

Danielle Blocker

Danielle Blocker is a steadfast organizer for community empowerment and human rights. Originally from Silver Spring, Maryland, she began organizing as a student activist in St. Louis, Missouri around issues of fair wages and working conditions, and police brutality. She has since worked as a union organizer, helped launch the Poor People's Campaign: a National Call for Moral Revival, as one of its inaugural chairs in Maryland, and worked with communities across Maryland and Washington D.C. to mobilize and train organizers. Danielle founded Young People for Progress (YPP) in 2019 because she believes young people, like all people, have the power to improve their own lives and those of their communities through collective action. Every day, she is grateful to organize with other talented, dedicated, and fun young organizers in Montgomery County.

Christopher Bolton

Chair, East County Citizens Advisory Board

Michael Chase

I live in Silver Spring and attended and graduated from Appalachian State University with both undergraduate and graduate degrees in criminal justice and criminology. I studied the components and theories of the criminal justice system and interned with the US Marshals office out of Raleigh, NC. I recently graduated from American University in December with an MBA with a concentration in analytics. Between 2010 - 2017 I was an Infantry officer in the US Army and served with the 101st Airborne Division with two deployments to Afghanistan and with the 509th Infantry Regiment in Fort Polk, LA.

Joshua Dhyani, Esq.

I am a lifelong Montgomery County resident and attorney practicing primarily in Maryland, DC, and Virginia.

Marvin Dickerson

Mr. Dickerson is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Dickerson Technologies, LLC, a full-service Information Technology consulting firm based in Germantown, MD. Mr. Dickerson has spent the past two decades advocating for education and career opportunities for disenfranchised and underserved youth and families. Most of this work has been done under the banner of 100 Black Men of America where he has served as the local chapter president (20042008) in the Greater Washington DC area and International Board Member of 100 Black Men of America (2009-2017). This advocacy for black children and their families in Montgomery County, the Greater Washington region and throughout the US has provided Mr. Dickerson connections to the community and knowledge of the issues facing young people, particularly black men. He is also a former Chairman of the Board for Leadership Montgomery.

Jeremy Dickey

Jeremy Dickey serves as the Communications Manager for the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas in Silver Spring, Maryland, overseeing social justice communications. He holds a master’s degree in public relations from the University of the Arts London, London College of Communication, and a bachelor’s degree in political science international relations from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania. He is an experienced communications practitioner with a background working on social justice issues of: immigration, anti-racism, environment, women’s rights and non-violence. Originally from Northwestern Pennsylvania, Jeremy has lived and worked in downtown Silver Spring since 2014.

Patricia Fenn

Life Member & Committee chair of MC-NAACP for last 27 years/newsletter editor; & life member & former officer of Organization of Chinese American Women-MD Chapter; former President & Board Member of Prisoners Aid Association of MD, chartered 1869. Worked extensively on recent successful County & state legislation in Crisis Intervention Training (Mobile Crisis Response), use-of-force reform; law enforcement transparency & trust act; introduction and implementation of racial equity & social justice act; policing advisory commission; and reframing racism via caste.

Francisco Javier González

I am an immigrant, who attended public schools in New York City and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. After service in the U.S. Army, I joined the Department of State and represented the United States in Colombia, Hungary, Pakistan, Nicaragua, and Russia. Since 1990, and when not assigned overseas, I have lived in Montgomery County.

Dawn Hill

Dawn Hill has been a resident of Montgomery County since 2012. Currently, Dawn is a Grants Manager for the Department of Justice managing over 150 grants for local law enforcement, health departments, tribes, and state agencies. As a grant manager, she is responsible for providing technical assistance to grantees; reviewing complex budgets and programs; analyzing data and making recommendations; and conducting site visits and writing reports based on any findings. Some of the programs that she manages include, Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program, Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, and Operation Legend. Before working with DOJ, Dawn was an elementary school teacher in Washington, D.C. for a couple of years before becoming a Field Operations Specialist and Director for alternative high school programs throughout Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Richard F. Johns, MPH, J.D.

Richard F. Johns is a practicing attorney with the U.S. Department of the Treasury specializing in employment and labor law. Prior to joining the Treasury Department, Mr. Johns was an attorney with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of General Counsel for nine years, and in private practice for eleven years with Reed Smith, LLP, Leftwich & Douglas, PLLC, and The Law Offices of Richard F. Johns, PLLC. Following graduation from Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, MD, Mr. Johns earned a B.S. in Biology from Morehouse College, a Master of Public Health degree from George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and a Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University Law School. Mr. Johns currently resides in Montgomery County with his wife and two children.

Mary Beth Lawrence

I have lived in Montgomery County for 18 years, serving Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church, a multi-cultural congregation, as associate pastor for community engagement. I am eager for Montgomery County to be a place where all of our neighbors thrive, and in live in justice and peace.

Jesse-Thomas Lim

Currently served as the Chairman of the MoCo Firearms Range Safety committee and service the Montgomery County for the last 10 years. Wild Life Achievement Chapter, IWLA Conservation Club with 1400 active members; current Chairman for the Rifle and Pistol Ranges, MD QHIL license Gun instructor, and many other disciplines and 3rd Vice President. Cybersecurity and Insider Threats analyst investigation contractor with the Department of Energy.

Charles Lincoln

Awaiting biography.

Karen Maricheau

Karen is a Montgomery County resident. She is a racial equity advocate, leader and consultant. Her background includes strategic engagement, partnership and program development. She brings her past experience, working for a nonprofit, criminal justice organization, to the task force. She is a community organizer and leads the Forest Estates Task Force for Racial Justice. Karen serves two terms as a Commissioner on the Commission on Aging and leads the COA's Task Force on Racial Equity, Dementia Services and the Police. She has created and led volunteer-run programs and services, for vulnerable adults, while working for a local municipality.

Marc Mauer, Task Force Co-Chair

I have recently retired as Executive Director of The Sentencing Project, a national non-profit engaged in addressing mass incarceration and reducing racial disparity in the criminal justice system. In that capacity I have frequently testified before Congress, the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucuses, and state legislative bodies. I have also worked with criminal justice practitioners, including judges, parole officers, and corrections officials, to develop strategies to identify and ameliorate racial/ethnic bias in the justice system. In 2019 I received a ‘Frederick Douglass 200’ award as one of 200 individuals ‘who best embody the spirit and work of Frederick Douglass.’

Ermiyas Mengesha, Esq

I am member and former Chairperson of the African Affairs Advisory Group here in Montgomery County.

Bernice Mireku-North, Esq., Task Force Co-Chair

Bernice Mireku-North is an attorney that practices criminal defense, wills and probate law with her office in Downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. After clerking for two judges in D.C. Superior Court and the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, she began her legal career with the State's Attorney Office for Anne Arundel County, where she spent six years prosecuting misdemeanors and felonies charged against juveniles and adults. Thereafter, she worked for the Law Offices of Aileen Oliver practicing primarily family law. She previously served as Chair of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board and as a member of the Judicial Inquiry Board for the Commission on Judicial Disabilities. Currently she serves on the Peer Review Committee for the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission and as a Member At-Large for the Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys Association.

Linda Moore

Linda Moore is the Principal of Animer Consulting, LLC a management consulting firm specializing in people, program and business development. She has held positions of City Administer, Airport Official and Corporate Executive. Linda is a UCAB board member and immediate past chair. She has served on the MVF Board, volunteered with Gaithersburg Help and is a member of Leadership Montgomery. Linda has a master’s degree in Urban Affairs and Policy Analysis and successfully completed the Georgetown University Leadership Coaching Certificate Program.

Edmund Morris

A student of the human condition and researcher of systems devoted to creating a more equitable and efficient society. Uses design logic to evaluate parameters and practices to ensure best fit solutions for complex or persistent problems. Encourages all stakeholders to speak honestly, in order to find the best paths to agreed upon goals.

Gareth Murray, M.Div., Ph.D

The Honorable Gareth E. Murray, M.Div., Ph.D., has over forty years combined experience in the fields of higher education, mental health, organization development, religion and public service. Due to his expertise in human and organizational behavior, Dr. Murray has served as a consultant to a wide range of private, public and governmental agencies. Following his service as the Director of the Office of Stress Management for MCPD, Dr. Murray was appointed Assistant Pastor of People’s Community Baptist Church. In 2002 Dr. Murray won the general election for District 20 to the Maryland General Assembly and in 2007 was appointed Director of Legislative Affairs for the Maryland Higher Education Commission and served in that position until January of 2013.

Peter Myo Khin

Peter Myo Khin is a retired US Postal Executive, past Chairperson of the East County Citizens Advisory Board, past President and current Treasurer of the District 14 Democratic Club, current President of the Tamarack Triangle Civic Association, and current Co-Chairperson of the Montgomery County Commission on Common Ownership Communities.

Maria-Lynn Okanlawon

I graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Public Health and have committed to improving the lives of vulnerable families in the DMV for over 5 years. I have worked for both public and government health systems and it has been my consistent priority to be an agent of positive change for the common good. I love being a lifelong resident of Montgomery County, and am devoted to the advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion across all sectors. In my free time I enjoy listening to jazz music, reading, and photography.

Marko Rivera Oven

Marko Oven - Born and raised in Montgomery County, Marko has always been a advocate for the Latino community. He is a Volunteer Firefighter/EMT in the county and is also the Hub Coordinator at the UpCounty Consolidation Hub in Germantown which was founded to serve families affected by the Covid pandemic. Marko also serves on the Board of the Latino Democratic Club and the Community Recovery Advisory Group.

Carlean Ponder, Esq.

Carlean Ponder is an activist and leader with the ACLU MoCo, and the Silver Spring Justice Coalition, which formed after the fatal police shooting of Robert White, an unarmed black man with mental illness. The coalition, which is primarily led by women and young people of color, is the first of its kind in Montgomery County, Maryland. In its first year of existence, the Coalition supported and achieved the creation of the county’s first Police Advisory Commission. Carlean also served as chairperson of the Commission of Juvenile Justice for Montgomery County, Maryland. She served the Commission in various capacities from 2011 to 2017. Carlean is an attorney with the federal government. Prior to joining the federal workforce in 2011, Carlean was an attorney with the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights, a corporate law firm associate, and a solo practitioner with a focus on employment discrimination cases.

Albert Delon Reed, Jr.

My name is Albert Delon Reed Jr. I am a Criminal Justice Transformation Consultant, Social Justice Commentator, and Public Speaker based out of Gaithersburg, Maryland. On May 16, 2019, after serving 25 years in the Federal Bureau of Prison for a nonviolent drug offense, I was granted immediate release due to the First Step Act of 2018. I have been given quote in various media outlets to date, and most recently participated in a panel discussion at the 15th Annual John Jay / Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium-On Crime in America.

Naznin Saifi, Esq.

Naznin Saifi is the executive director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, a legal services organization that provides linguistically accessible and culturally appropriate civil legal aid to the low-income, limited English proficient Asian Pacific Islander community in metropolitan-DC. Prior to this position, Ms. Saifi was an attorney with several legal services programs where she practiced in the areas of public benefits, housing, consumer and family law. Ms. Saifi has been a resident of Silver Spring since 2005.

Mikaylah Sayles

I am a current student at Montgomery College studying nursing and business marketing and communications. I have years of expereince working with disadvantaged group in Montgomery County and beyond. I have also served on the NAACP youth council board as Vice President for two years and Montgomery County's regional Student Government Association as the legislative state deputy. My senior year of high school I also served as a MD State Page in Annapolis to fully engage with the people who are working to make our communities safe and better for the people. I hope to work on this task force and continue to serve this community as best as I can.

Scott Schneider

I am a 37-year resident of Montgomery County. Professionally I am a Certified Industrial Hygienist and have spent the past 40 years working to improve safety in construction and other industries. One focus has been on how to change safety culture on construction sites. I am on the steering committee for Progressive Neighbors and have been active with many local groups like IMPACT Silver Spring and Jews United for Justice.

Joanna Silver

Joanna Silver has been a resident of Montgomery County for fourteen years and works professionally as public defender. In a volunteer capacity, Joanna coordinates the Montgomery County Deportation Defense Coalition and is a member of Jews United for Justice and Takoma Park Mobilization; Joanna represents both of these organizations in the Silver Spring Justice Coalition. Joanna served for six years on the Board of the Ivymount School in Rockville and currently serves on the Board of Temple Emanuel, in Kensington. Joanna coordinates her neighborhood’s casserole program for Shepherd’s Table, in Silver Spring and the Sligo Middle School PTA Emergency Assistance Fund. Joanna is a proud graduate of the Impact Silver Spring Weaver Learning Lab and a 2019 recipient of the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition Community Advocate Award.

Clint Sobratti

Clint has worked for the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s Ride-On division for the past nine and half years. He’s a shop steward for Local 1994 (MCGEO) and in that role assists fellow employees in understanding union contracts. Clint serves on MCGEO’s Bargaining Committee team. He knows how to advocate for better working conditions including the need for PPE during the pandemic as well as core member needs like higher wages, lower medical costs, and sustainable retirement plans. He’s very committed to environmental justice and the need to address climate change. He serves on the Montgomery County Sierra Club’s Executive Committee and a member of the Caribbean American Advisory Group and was involved in some of the Fire Drill Friday events led by Jane Fonda in 2019 and 2020. Clint was a candidate for State Delegate in District 39 in 2018. He lives in Montgomery Village.

Max Socol

I am a resident of Silver Spring and a community organizer with ten years of experience in grassroots leadership development. I have worked on policy change projects, including police reform, in cities throughout the US, most recently in Raleigh, NC. I am also active in local Montgomery County civic and political groups like the MORE Network and the Democratic Socialists of America. My work is with the national advocacy organization Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, where I am the national campaigns manager.

Katie Stauss

Katie grew up in Silver Spring and attended Springbrook High School. She is current co-chair of the Silver Spring Justice Coalition which strives to end police violence and racism, and increase police accountability through changes to state and county laws and policies and through engagement with the public. Katie is a consultant and works on overseas community development programs primarily in Africa. Katie is an MCPS parent. She studied History, Political Science, and Economics, as well as African and Middle Eastern Affairs in college/grad school and speaks French, Spanish, Wolof, and studied Arabic and Russian.

Anestine Theophile-LaFond, Ph.D.

Dr. Anestine Theophile-LaFond is an active member of Montgomery County. A contribution member of the Black and Brown Coalition, NAACP Parent Council Rep for JFK High School. Full Professor in Communication Studies Unit at Montgomery College including assignments in High Schools for Early College and Dual Enrollment. Member of the Saint John The Evangelist Parish and an active member of the Caribbean American Advisory Group to County Executive.

Bishop Paul L. Walker, Sr.

Bishop Paul L. Walker is Founder and CEO of “Healing and Deliverance Ministry” Rockville, Maryland where the mission is to bring emotional, spiritual, physical and mental healing to all people. Bishop Walker was inducted into the Office of Human Rights Hall of Fame in 2018. Bishop Walker is also the Creator, Founder, and Executive Director of the “Healing yourself Outreach Life Skills Program” (HYOP), which provides professional development opportunities, leadership skills, certifications, apprenticeships, career portfolios, interviewing skills, character education, and links to self-help community agencies. Bishop Walker’s community involvement includes: 1) Collaborating with the Department of Human Rights, as a Board Member of community leaders of Montgomery County Maryland, who’s effort is to unite the African American and Jewish communities together, 2) Board member Montgomery County Commission on Remembrance and Reconciliation, 3) Founder and Executive Director of the Healing Yourself Outreach Life Skills reentry program; 4) Community Advisory Board member Johns Hopkins COVID-19 clinical trials initiative, and 5) Completing the Citizens Police Academy Training Program in Frederick, Maryland. Bishop, Walker previously maintained the position of Chaplain for the South End Coalition in Frederick, Maryland Public safety initiative. Bishop Walker is also a Facilities Engineer who owns and operates his own company – RMI and Associates real estate investments.

Simone Walton, DSW

Simone Walton is a Montgomery County resident who is an international social strategist and social worker. She is an entrepreneur and the founder of Core Issues, a consultancy business seeking to develop applied solutions to large scale social challenges. Simone's professional experience includes working in international humanitarian organizations accompanying vulnerable and marginalized populations as both a clinical and macro practitioner. She is passionate about people and the systems in which they function. Simone is a dynamic trainer, guest lecturer at universities, and an emotional strengthening coach. She is an alumna of the University of Southern California (Doctor of Social Work), Boston College (Master of Social Work), Duke University, and Howard University.

Millie West-Wiggins

I have lived in the county since 1982. I have worked in the Federal government for 48 years in several civil rights positions. I am currently the 1st Vice President of the MDMontgomeryCounty Section of National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and the Chairperson of the Legislative Affairs Committe

Elijah Wheeler

Elijah Wheeler serves as the Executive Director of the Montgomery County Collaboration Council. During his professional career, he has worked in various capacities to redress the negative impacts of disparate treatment for marginalized populations. He also serves as a CoChair of the County Executive's African American Advisory Group as well as a Board member for Maryland Mentor.

Basile Whitaker

20-year county resident
married & father of 3 sons
current COO & business owner for a local bio-manufacturer & retired army officer.
current board member for my HOA and civic association
Graduate of MoCo Citizens Academy