WE ARE IN A NATIONAL RECKONING.

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The Problem

We are in the midst of a national reckoning over crime and punishment, and what it will take to achieve public health and safety. Yet for decades, lawmakers and the media have overlooked the perspective, voice, and expertise of those closest to mass criminalization. As a result, misinformation spreads, fear wins out over reason, and the status quo prevails. 

ZEALOUS AIMS TO RIGHT THIS HISTORIC IMBALANCE.

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Zealous works with public defenders, advocates, and people with direct experiences to harness:

Storytelling

Communicate experiences for maximum impact.

Collaboration

Identify key allies and build trust to fight together.

Campaigns

Use multi-dimensional strategies to change laws.

Social Media

Harness new tools to raise awareness and drive action.

Traditional Media

Work with journalists to share the injustices we see.

New Media

Propel policy change with video, web, data, technology, and art.

Narrative Shifting

Command language to disrupt the status quo.

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Our values

Building.

Zealous listens and supports. We don’t “empower” or “give voice.” We provide opportunities for local partners to grasp their power and find the voice they always have had.

Relationships.

Zealous doesn’t invite ourselves into local jurisdictions or coalitions. We are always invited to do the work.

Arts.

At Zealous arts are integral to this work and our process. Artists are not just hired guns. They are partners from the very beginning.

Awareness.

Given the half-century of fearmongering media, press, and politics that has driven mass incarceration, we don’t downplay the power of awareness. 

Process.

Collaborative Advocacy means working intentionally and meaningfully in partnership on initiatives, in recognition of the fact that how we work matters as much as the work itself.

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The Team

people

Scott Hechinger

Executive Director & Founder

Demetrius Titus

Deputy Executive Director

Crystal Maloney

Managing Director

Alejo Rodriguez

Director of Collaborative Advocacy

Alexzandria Poole

Director of Defender Initiatives

Gregory McKelvey

Regional Director

Jacqueline Williams

Regional and Prison Program Director

Pallavi Daga

Design and Experiences Manager

Molly Shapiro

Media Policy and Advocacy Manager

Asia Johnson

Senior Associate of Storytelling and Local Organizing

Esul Burton

Policy and Advocacy Associate

Sara Austin

Design Intern

Aisvarya Chandrasekar

Design Intern

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Advisory Council

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Alex Bunnin

Chief Defender

Harris County, Texas

Brendon Woods

Chief Defender

Alameda County, California

James Foreman

Writer, Former Public Defender, Professor.

Yale Law School

Jonathan Rapping

Founder & Director

Gideon’s Promise

Josie Duffy-Rice

Journalist & Lawyer

President of The Appeal

Khalil Cumberbatch

Chief Strategist

New Yorkers United for Justice

Lara Bazelon

Professor, Writer Advocate

University of San Francisco School of Law

Meena Harris

Activist and Founder

Phenomenal Woman Campaign

Rabia Chaudry

Advocate, Author, & Podcaster

Raj Jayadev

Founder

Silicon Valley De-Bug

Samuel Sinyangwe

Data Scientist, Policy Analyst, & Activist

Founder of Campaign Zero

Soledad O’Brien

Journalist, Author, & Philanthropist