Board of Directors

Darwin Hamilton's picture
Darwin Hamilton
Co-chair

Darwin is a 5th generation Austinite and graduate of LBJ High School. He was recently featured in the 2015 #IAMBLACKAUSTIN interactive campaign by the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce. Darwin’s great great grandfather, Thomas Dedrick, was a former slave and freeman who was among the first to settle in East Austin after Emancipation where he built the historic Dedrick-Hamilton house on 11th St. The House is the site of the African American Heritage & Cultural Center and home to the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce. Darwin’s first legal battle was in representing his family and property rights in an eminent domain lawsuit filed by the City of Austin.

He works to shift the attitudes of society and those who work within the criminal justice system by strategically telling his story and example of success. Since 2012, Darwin has actively been engaged in criminal justice reform, education and re­entry advocacy. He currently serves on the executive committee of the Austin/Travis County Re-entry Roundtable and as co-chair the Re-entry Advocacy Project.

Barbara Hines's picture
Barbara Hines
Co-chair

Barbara Hines is a former clinical professor and founder of the University of Texas Law School Immigration Clinic. She directed and co-directed the immigration clinic from 1999 to 2014.  She is an active member of the RAICES/CARA Karnes Pro Bono Project that provides legal services to and advocacy around the detention of mothers and children at the Karnes Detention Center.  She has litigated many issues relating to the constitutional and statutory rights of immigrants in federal and immigration courts including the lawsuit leading to the closure of the Hutto immigrant family detention center.

Hope Mustakim's picture
Hope Mustakim
Governance Chair

Hope is a recent graduate of the Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University, where she earned a Master's of Social Work degree with a concentration in Community Practice. She is the Executive Director and Lead Organizer of the Waco Immigrants Alliance. Since March 2011, Hope Mustakim has been a member and co-leader of the community-led advocacy group, when her husband was unexpectedly detained and nearly deported. Through Hope’s relentless grassroots organizing, her husband's case was dropped and he returned home after 10 months of detention in a for-profit detention facility. Through this experience, Hope was thrown head-first into the world of immigration and criminal justice policy, and has since been an active members of Grassroots Leadership, Detention Watch Network, and other coalitions and organizations. 

While learning the detailed stories of hundreds of fellow immigrants along their journey, (and the hundreds of thousands of families devastated each year), a passion was born in Hope for community organizing, specifically around immigration and criminal criminal justice reform. Hope is a passionate voice and activist for justice and reform in the Heart of Texas region while also filling the role of doting parent of her and Nazry's two young (human) children and one fur child. In her free time, Hope enjoys dancing, reading, hosting friends, and frequenting the parks and river front spots in their "hometown" of Waco, TX. Hope was honored to join the Grassroots Leadership Board in mid 2016, and she currently serves as the Governance Committee Chair. 

Mo Cortez's picture
Mo Cortez

Mo is a Document Controller at an energy services company and has experienced the harm of mass incarceration having his father spend most of his childhood in the criminal legal system and losing him in 2002 due to health complications while incarcerated. Mo is passionate about finding ways to better support families of those that are incarcerated and to reform the criminal legal system. Mo also continues to support and advocate for undocumented immigrants, especially those from Central and North America.  Mo continues to support and advocate for those that are impacted by unjust institutional systems whether it be the criminal legal system, medical institutions, or political policies that impact communities most marginalized.

Kevin Foster's picture
Kevin Foster

Dr. Kevin Michael Foster is a University of Texas at Austin professor with appointments in Black Studies, Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Administration and Anthropology. Through ICUSP, the Institute for Community, University and School Partnerships, which he founded in 2006, Kevin directs student programs, and coordinates professional development activities for schools and community. He is the Executive Producer of BlackademicsTV, an Emmy-nominated television program. Dr. Foster has authored dozens of publications. Dr. Foster lives in Austin Texas and Washington D.C. and has two teenage children, Marlee and Malcolm.

Jacinta Gonzalez's picture
Jacinta Gonzalez

Jacinta is a Senior Campaign Organizer with Mijente and is based in Phoenix, AZ. Previously, she worked at PODER in México, organizing the Río Sonora River Basin committees against water contamination by the mining industry.  Jacinta was the lead organizer for the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice Congress of Day Laborers (2007-2014). In Louisiana, Gonzalez helped establish a base of day laborers and undocumented families dedicated to building worker power, advancing racial justice, and organizing against deportations in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Josue Guillen's picture
Josue Guillen

Josué is Technology Director at the Texas Organizing Project, the leading statewide organizing group in Texas, advancing racial and economic justice through community and electoral organizing. A proud alumni of the Center for Third World Organizing’s Minority Activist Apprenticeship Program, Josué worked as a labor and community organizer throughout the 1990s. A stint with the non-profit internet service provider IGC started his shift into supporting movement work with their technology needs. The MayFirst Technology Collective, the Praxis Project, Avaaz and the Center for Popular Democracy have all made good use of his skills and expertise. Josué is a graduate of Wesleyan University and Hunter College High School.

Nicole Porter's picture
Nicole Porter

Nicole D. Porter manages The Sentencing Project’s state and local advocacy efforts on sentencing reform, voting rights, and eliminating racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Her advocacy has supported criminal justice reforms in several states including Kentucky, Missouri, and California. Porter was named a "New Civil Rights Leader" by Essence Magazine for her work to eliminate mass incarceration.

Since joining The Sentencing Project in 2009, Porter's work has been cited in several major media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, and National Public Radio. She has given a number of talks on state sentencing policy, collateral consequences, and racial disparity to various audiences including the League of Women Voters, NAACP, and the United Methodist Women's Assembly.

Porter is the former director of the Texas ACLU’s Prison & Jail Accountability Project (PJAP). PJAP’s mission was to monitor the conditions of confinement in state jails and prisons. Porter advocated in the Texas legislature to promote felony enfranchisement reforms, to eliminate prison rape, and improve prison medical care. Porter received her undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin. Her master’s thesis addressed exploring self employment among formerly incarcerated African Americans. She also studied African Politics at the University of Ghana, West Africa.

Stephanie Taylor's picture
Stephanie Taylor

Stephanie Rodriguez Taylor is originally from Brownsville, Texas, and obtained her bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Brownsville. After graduating the University of Texas School of Law, Stephanie received the Julius Glickman Fellowship in Public Interest Law which initially funded her work on criminal-immigration issues at American Gateways (formerly the Political Asylum Project of Austin). She is now in private practice in Austin, Texas at Hansen & Taylor, PLLC, a law firm dedicated to providing immigration legal services for working people and families in Central Texas. The firm operates on a sliding scale to ensure that everyone has access to high-quality legal services, regardless of their income.

Michael Young's picture
Michael Young

Michael Young is a professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. His research is in the areas of social movements, sociological theory, American evangelicalism, and immigration. He is the author of three books and multiple articles in these areas. He was a board member of the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition and chairperson of the Curriculum Advisory Committee at Travis Heights Elementary. He is also a member of Congregation Beth Israel in Austin.