Meet The co-creators and hosts
Co-creator and host
My name is Ronaldo Villeda, I’m 24 years old, and I am the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Hoops4Justice. I was appointed by the State of CA Attorney General Becerra as Co-chair of Racial and Identity Profiling Act (RIPA) Advisory Board; I am the only formerly incarcerated person on this board. I am proud to be a Youth Policy Team Member with Underground Grit, and a City Council Aid to City of Santa Ana Councilman Jonathon Hernandez of Ward 5. And I’m excited to be part of the team developing this incredibly important podcast on ending youth solitary. I’ve been there, and I want to keep the next kid from having to experience it too.
Co-creator and host
I am Swey,
I am a formerly incarcerated Afro-Latino from Anaheim Ca. I am a member of the Youth Policy Team with Underground Grit. I'm 24 years old but I feel like I have accumulated a lifetime of lessons and experiences navigating life from not only a marginalized perspective, but a resilient one as well. I am a community activist, a student, brother, a friend, an abolitionist. A story of failure, and a story of Success. I am far more than any criminal record or booking number can ever depict me as.
Meet The crew
At 15 years old Ezekiel Nishiyama found himself on the wrong path in life surrounded by bad influences. Because of it, he faced being tried as an adult in the juvenile justice system. After serving 4 years in California’s Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), Ezekiel came home in 2019 and he began volunteering and advocating within Los Angeles around Juvenile Justice issues. Through Ezekiel’s re-entry journey and while being an advocate for his community and peers, he found himself falling in love with the work of giving back.
Elizabeth Calvin is the senior advocate at Human Rights Watch in the Children’s Rights Division and an attorney with experience in youth justice, foster care, and education rights. At Human Rights Watch she focuses on children, youth, and emerging adults in conflict with the law. Her work includes research and writing on human rights violations against children, policy and legal advocacy, and building partnerships with community and national groups.
Since 2012, her leadership of coalition-based efforts in California has resulted in 11 significant laws being passed, many with first-in-the-nation strategies to reduce incarceration and promote the potential of young people. These laws have changed the lives of thousands of young people, families, and communities in California and beyond.
Jennifer Lutz is a Staff Attorney at the Center for Children’s Law and Policy. In this capacity, she leads CCLP’s campaign to end the practice of solitary confinement of youth. She also assists jurisdictions reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system, reduce the use of detention, and protect the rights of youth in custody.
Prior to joining CCLP, Jennifer was the Juvenile Justice Policy Attorney and Director of Juvenile Training at the Defender Association of Philadelphia. In that position, she engaged courts, prosecutors, child advocates, treatment providers, and other stakeholders on policy issues to improve the quality of representation for indigent children in Pennsylvania.