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Rhode Island for Community & Justice (RICJ) is a social justice nonprofit dedicated to fighting bias, bigotry, and racism and promoting understanding among all races, religions, and cultures through advocacy, conflict resolution, and education. It is our purpose to transform communities to be more inclusive and just by empowering people to lead institutional change. We are the voice that calls people to common ground, with respect for differences but with the understanding that people of all backgrounds have common values and needs that unite them.

Fighting bias, bigotry and racism. 

Promoting understanding.

Our Mission

To promote understanding and respect across groups, RICJ believes society must acknowledge the dynamics of power and privilege and the role individuals play in creating attitudes, behavior and practices that support systems of exclusion and oppression either overt or covert.

Through its adult and youth programming, RICJ works with students, teachers, clergy, corporate and civic leaders to facilitate workshops, develop curriculum, convene race relations and inter-religious dialogues, and provide consulting on challenges related to bias, bigotry and racism. Our current focus on youth programs and juvenile justice reforms is due largely to the organizations belief that today's teens are tomorrow's leaders, and through them is the only way to create long-lasting positive change in our communities. 

Our Story
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Our Staff
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Toby Ayers, PhD

Executive Director

Dr. Ayers is a community psychologist with doctorate from Washington State University and postdoctoral fellowship at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  Executive Director since 2004,  Toby leads administration, strategic planning and fundraising, organizes the Civil Rights Roundtable and founded and directs our Juvenile Justice program.  She teams with Rose and RICJ youth on our diversity and workplace consulting service. 

Jace Cardona

Juvenile Justice Reform VISTA

Jace (he/him) is RICJ's Juvenile Justice Reform VISTA. He promotes juvenile diversion by helping support and expand the Juvenile Hearing Boards in RI, with the primary objective to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system. He assists in providing JHBs resources, training, educational opportunities, and connections throughout the community by helping organize events including the Community Ally Coalition and statewide

JHB meetings. 

Juvenile Justice Reform VISTA

Veronica Godina

Bonner Fellow

Veronica is a junior at Brown University but is originally from Chicago, IL. As a Bonner Fellow, she will be with RICJ for all four years of college. She works with the juvenile justice team but also does independent research for RICJ. This work is especially meaningful to her after witnessing the negative impacts of the school-to-prison pipeline and juvenile incarceration in her own community. After college, she hopes to enter law school and focus on juvenile justice law or immigration law.

Rose Albert

Senior Associate for Youth Programs

RICJ is thrilled that Rose Albert has re-joined our organization, first as Youth Program  Manager and now as our Senior Associate.  In 2018, Rose returned to RICJ after having earned her BA from Salve Regina University and her MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management from the School of International Training (SIT) in Brattleboro, VT. Rose works with RICJ part time to run our Youth Programs. At the same time, Rose is an Assistant Director of Salve Regina University's Multicultural Center.

Sharlene Tavares

Youth Programs Coordinator

Luca O'Donnell

Luca (he/him) is one of two Youth Programs Coordinators at RICJ. He is a senior at Brown University studying Psychology and Engaged Scholarship in Education.  Luca focuses on supporting the operations of Youth Action Council, Camp Project RESPECT, and Youth Facilitation for Change.  He has worked in educational contexts with youth of varying ages and is excited to work with high schoolers for the first time.

Youth Programs Coordinator

Emma assists RICJ as the Juvenile Justice Reform Coordinator through the AmeriCorps VISTA national service program. She assists the organization in capacity building sustainable community diversion for juvenile offenders and expanding the effectiveness, community awareness, and success of Juvenile Hearing Boards in the state. This work aids in combatting juvenile incarceration and redirecting youth towards needed mental health services. 


Board of Directors:

PresidentDavid Winoker, Belvoir Properties

Vice President:  Michael Evora
, Rhode Island  Commission for Human Rights

2nd Vice President Kelly Coutcher, Fidelity Investments

Secretary Col. Steven Paré
, City of Providence


Shameem Awan, Amica Insurance

Andrew Douglass, Douglass Law

Stephanie Hague, Jewish Alliance of RI 

David Leach

Lizzie Pollock, Enspira Consulting

Emeritis Past Presidents

Dr. John McCray, University of RI  (Past President)

Sam Palmisano, Amica Insurance  (Past President)

Our Board
Our Sponsors
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