Board of Directors

Nicole Porter's picture
Nicole Porter
Co-chair and Personnel chair

Director of Advocacy for the Sentencing Project in Washington, DC, Nicole is the former director of the ACLU's Prison & Jail Accountability Project (PJAP). PJAP's mission was to monitor the conditions of confinement in Texas jails and prisons.

Jacob Flowers's picture
Jacob Flowers
Co-chair

Jacob is a native of Shelby County, Tennessee, and the Executive Director of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center in Memphis. Jacob worked with Grassroots Leadership in the campaign against privatization and expansion of the Shelby County Jail and Penal Farm.

Gislaine Williams's picture
Gislaine Williams
Finance Committee chair

Gislaine leads the administrative support team for the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project. She previously worked as a program manager for a non-profit organization serving international refugees in Houston, TX. Before that, she served as a state-wide field organizer for the ACLU of Texas criminal justice and youth rights campaigns.She became involved in the issue of for-profit detention as a student organizer at Rice University and the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin. A native of Honduras, Gislaine grew up in Houston and has participated in a number of grassroots campaigns related to immigrants’ rights, workers’ rights, and death penalty abolition.

Arjun Sethi's picture
Arjun Sethi
Development Committee chair

Arjun Sethi is an attorney in Washington, D.C., and a frequent commentator on civil rights and social justice related issues. He has previously represented victims of domestic violence, asylum seekers, national security detainees, and criminal defendants on death row.

His commentary has appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, CNN, Al Jazeera, The Christian Science Monitor, and other news outlets. Arjun is a graduate of NYU Law School and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Darwin Hamilton's picture
Darwin Hamilton
Program 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.

Hope Mustakim's picture
Hope Mustakim
Governance Chair

Hope Mustakim is graduate student in the Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University. Her studies include a concentration in Community Practice and specialization in immigrant rights advocacy. She is a co-leader of the Waco Immigration Alliance and has been a member of Detention Watch Network since 2011, when her husband was unexpectedly detained and nearly deported. Through Hope’s relentless organizing, her husband's case was dropped and he returned home after 10 months of detention in a for-profit detention facility. In learning the stories of hundreds of fellow immigrants along their journey, a passion was born in Hope’s family for immigrant rights activism and they are now passionate voices for justice and reform.

Gabriela Benitez's picture
Gabriela Benitez

Gaby was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and immigrated with her family to Memphis at age 6. Living most of her life as an undocumented student and with her family currently facing the deportation of her father, Gaby has a strong commitment to immigrant community organizing. Gaby was a co-founder for Youth for Youth, an undocumented immigrant youth group in the Memphis area, and served the West Tennessee Organizer for the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC).  She currently serves as the Domestic Worker Program Coordinator for Latino Union of Chicago and is a member of Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) a project of Undocumented Illinois that works on stopping deportations of individuals in the state.  She is a graduate of the University of Memphis. 

Topeka Sam's picture
Topeka Sam

Topeka Sam is the founder of The Ladies of Hope Ministries (LOHM) whose mission is to help disenfranchised and marginalized women and girls transition back into society through education, empowerment and spiritual development. Topeka is also a member of The National Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls also known as “The Council.” She is pursuing her Certificate in Christian Ministry at New York Theological Seminary, is a Beyond the Bars 2016 Fellow and a Justice­In­Education Scholar at Columbia University.

While in federal prison, Topeka began to develop and envision the concept for the organization. She established the program only a few short months after her release in May of 2015 with the help of The Eleanor Moody­Shepherd Resource Center for Women in Ministry and has gained considerable awareness for the organization. Topeka has participated in several panel discussions including #FreeHer Justice Advocacy Conference, which was held at Harvard University in Aug. 2015. As organizer of the Real Women Real Voices Symposium, she continues to take the conference nationally to bring awareness around advancement in policy for women in incarceration.

Isis Misdary

Isis Misdary recently joined the Defender Association of Philadelphia as an assistant defender. Prior to this, Isis worked as a freelance theater director, primarily working with playwrights representing  marginalized communities and bringing their stories front and center of mainstream American theatre.

During her career as a theater director, Isis worked as an educator, working with NYC public school teachers and within the NYC public school system and its partners on innovative ways to wrestle with improved literacy through creative writing and expression.

Isis has also worked as a community organizer for Union of the Homeless and the Kensington Welfare Rights Union in Philadelphia. Isis is the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Directors Program, a Van Lier Directing Fellowship at Second Stage, Soros Fellowship for New Americans, a Fulbright Grant to Egypt and Maggio Immigrants' Rights Fellowship.

Zenén Pérez's picture
Zenén Jaimes Pérez

Zenén Jaimes Pérez is the Communications Director with the Texas Civil Rights Project. A native Austinite, Zenén became heavily involved in social justice movements through his personal experience growing up in a mixed-status immigrant family and seeing firsthand the effects of the private prison system. Previously, he worked on advocacy and policy with United We Dream, the Center for American Progress, and Advocates for Youth. Always passionate about demystifying policies and laws for his community, Zenén is a first-generation college graduate from Georgetown University.

Ainee Athar's picture
Ainee Athar

Ainee Athar is an immigrant advocate passionate about innovation in politics and government. Born in Pakistan, Ainee became a youth leader in the immigrant rights movement after her family was put in removal proceedings while applying for asylum. In Fall 2017, her family won their case after 24 years of residency. She has supported local and national campaigns to resist SB 4, preserve in-state tuition, and pass pro-immigrant policies since 2010. Recently, Ainee served as the Texas Coalitions Director for FWD.us. Currently, Ainee works at the City of Austin on civic technology projects as a Design, Technology, and Innovation Fellow.

Barbara Hines's picture
Barbara Hines

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.

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.