About The Advisory Board
To advise and inform Bring Down The Walls, and ensure the project is executed with integrity and thoughtfulness every step of the way, Creative Time assembled an advisory board of experts, ranging from formerly incarcerated individuals to house music historians to experts in criminal justice reform.
Advisory Board Members
Pedro Collazo is a case manager for We Care Program at FEDCAP, a non-profit that creates opportunities for people with barriers to economic well-being. An author of a seven-step life skills course, The PR Campaign: Steps to Perfection, Pedro has been an active advocate for social change utilizing a person-centered approach where change is brought about on a grassroots level. A self-taught songwriter and musician, he also serves on the advisory committee for Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections program, and was a key member of the band formed with Collins at Sing Sing. Pedro has a BA in Behavioral Science and is currently a graduate student in Clinical Social Work at Rutgers University.
Mary Crowley is Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs at the Vera Institute of Justice. She joined Vera in 2012 as Director of Communications. A member of its leadership team, she leads Vera’s strategic communications efforts, particularly around its core priorities of reducing the use of jails, improving conditions for people who are incarcerated, and securing equal justice in an increasingly diverse America. She oversees government affairs, media relations, social media and online presence, public events, and Vera’s editorial department.
Rob DeLeon manages six of The Fortune Society’s re-entry service units – Alternatives to Incarceration, Admissions, Care Management, Group Services, Court Advocacy, and Family Services. Prior to Fortune, Mr. DeLeon worked at the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services for 13 years, where he was responsible for developing, implementing and overseeing multiple programs for youth involved in the justice system and government and community outreach. Mr. DeLeon spent 10 years in prison from the age of 17 when he was arrested and charged as an adult. Mr. DeLeon serves as an advisory board member for Network Support Services Inc., and is a member of the Juvenile Justice Oversight and Advisory Board for the Administration for Children’s Services.
Based in the English department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, Dr. Baz Dreisinger is the founder and Academic Director of the Prison-to-College Pipeline program, which offers college courses and reentry planning to incarcerated men throughout New York State, and broadly works to increase access to higher education for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals. Her book Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World, a first-person odyssey through prisons in nine countries, was named a Notable Book of 2017 by the Washington Post. Dr. Dreisinger was named a 2017-2018 Global Fulbright Scholar for her work promoting education and restorative justice on an international scale.
Aseanté Renee is a communications strategist working on alternatives to incarceration and victim services programs with more than 12 years of experience in facilitation, curriculum design, and culturally inclusive community engagement work across the nation. She uses her expertise to create strategic opportunity for sustainable progress. Prior to joining Common Justice, Aseanté was a policy advisor with the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice where she led the operationalizing of reconciliation work between communities of color and local law enforcement in six pilot cities. She earned her BA in Marketing from Hampton University and her MSW from The University of Texas at Austin.
Reuben Jonathan Miller
Reuben Jonathan Miller is an Assistant Professor in the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (SSA). His research examines life at the intersections of race, poverty, crime control, and social welfare policy. His forthcoming book, titled Halfway Home, is based on 15 years of research and practice with currently and formerly incarcerated men, women, their families, partners, and friends. A native of Chicago’s Southside, and self-proclaimed house head, Miller received his Ph.D. from Loyola University Chicago, an AM from the University of Chicago, and a BA from Chicago State University.
Dexter Nurse is an aspiring jazz musician and songwriter, self-taught trumpet player and instructor. His original compositions have been showcased in Carnegie Hall and performed at the White House. Nurse serves on the advisory committee for Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections program and is a member of Refoundry, an incubation program for formerly incarcerated participants to start their own businesses. Nurse’s music is a soulful, candid commentary on the shared human experience, and he was a key contributor in the band formed at Sing Sing with Collins. In addition, Nurse has a BA in Behavioral Science from Mercy College and an MA Candidate in Social Work at Columbia University. He is currently interning at Brooklyn Community Bail Fund.
Jill Poklemba is VP of Development and Communications at The Fortune Society, one of the leading non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting successful reentry, alternatives to incarceration, and advocating for criminal justice reform. Ms. Poklemba’s philosophy centers on building strategic partnerships to raise awareness of the crises in society today – poverty, mass incarceration, institutional racism, as well as climate change – and to inspire investments in effective solutions. She also believes that forming deep, meaningful bonds with those directly impacted by these issues is essential to informing this approach. Ms. Poklemba has also worked at STRIVE International and NYS Assembly Office of Program & Counsel.
Dr. Micah Salkind is a Rhode Island-based DJ, sound designer and cultural historian interested in queer histories of technology and the social impacts of Afro-diasporic cultural production on local, national and transnational economies. He serves on the boards of the Providence Public Library and Community MusicWorks and is an ongoing collaborator with dancers and scholars in Chicago’s Honey Pot Performance collective and Dance Exchange’s “Growing Our Own Gardens” initiative. Dr. Salkind also manages large grants and strategic artist initiatives for The City of Providence, and collaborating with cultural institutions, emerging artists, designers, and creative entrepreneurs. Dr. Salkind spends his weekends revising his book manuscript on Chicago house music and its legacies, tentatively titled Do You Remember House? Chicago’s Queer of Color Undergrounds, forthcoming on Oxford University Press.
Special Curatorial Thanks
Special thanks to Nato Thompson, as Creative Time’s Artistic Director and Chief Curator from 2007-2017, Thompson led curatorial direction for Bring Down The Walls, stewarding the project from its inception and playing a crucial role in defining the content and form of Bring Down The Walls throughout the course of his seven-year involvement in the project. Thompson is currently the Artistic Director at Philadelphia Contemporary where he will lead the institution’s exhibitions and programming, and help to found its first permanent building.
Imogene Strauss is the founder of Cool Managers, where she served as CEO from 2013-2017, managing acts including Solange, Dev Hynes, Tim Hecker, and Majical Cloudz. Now working independently across both music and art disciplines representing an increasingly diverse range of artists and cultural collaborators, Strauss’ recent credits include curating and producing MoMA PS1 Warm UPs for five years running; producing Solange’s 2017 Guggenheim performance, as well as music videos for SOPHIE, Kim Petras, and Porches, among others. Strauss has been invaluable as the musical consultant and liaison for the Bring Down The Walls album.
Djoré Nance worked with each of the vocalists on the Bring Down The Walls album as a vocal coach. Nance is a singer, musician, actor and conductor originally from Dallas, TX. Nance performs many genres of music and has shared the stage with a number of renowned artists including Renee Fleming, Celine Dion, and Sarah Brightman. Nance has also held positions as a choral conductor at The Julliard School, Marble Collegiate Church, and Drew University, among others, and holds degrees from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, The University of North Texas, and The Julliard School.