Rev. Sharon White-Harrigan, LMSW
Sharon has been the Executive Director of the Women’s Community Justice Association since 2018. Drawing on her experience as a licensed social worker, domestic violence survivor, and formerly incarcerated person, she has expertise in various direct services and policy advocacy campaigns that support justice-impacted women. Sharon was a leader in the successful effort to enact New York State’s Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act in 2019. She also serves as an advisory member of the Survivor’s Justice Project, the co-lead of the Bedford Hills project, a strategic consultant and senior advisor to the Women & Justice Project, a member of the International Advisory Committee with the National Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, co-creator of the Justice 4 Women Task Force (#J4WTF), Policy Council Member, and co-founder & executive member of Women Building UP. She holds a master’s degree in Social Work from Lehman College, a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Criminal Justice from City University of New York where she was a Thomas W. Smith Fellow, and an associates degree in Liberal Arts from Marymount Manhattan College. Sharon is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Frank & Lisina Hoch Award for Social Justice Advocacy and Activism, and the 2019 Leadership Award for her advocacy to pass the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act.
Director of Operations
Tashoy (She/Her) is a driven & motivated advocate fighting for women impacted by mass incarceration.
While she’s just beginning her career in advocacy she’s no stranger to upper level management positions, spearheading initiatives , project management & client relations. Her background has consistently been characterized by her steadfast dedication to enhancing organizational performance and achieving company objectives. Her passion for social justice reform and community engagement has helped her to make an impact across various communities. Her advocacy work began after she gained lived experience & realized how unjust the criminal justice system really is. With her proven ability to leverage communication, presentation, and leadership talents to make significant contributions, Tashoy intends to grow in this field while being a voice for incarcerated women. Tashoy is passionate about advocating for women and Black communities throughout her career and will continue to do so on her path to fight for justice.
Briana Barker's (she/her) background is in advocacy and providing external resources for justice-impacted individuals. She worked five years with HousingPlus, including work within the SHERO Project ("Liberty House"), which provides transitional housing to women upon their discharge from Rikers Island.
Briana has used her social work and interpersonal skills by working closely with the NYC homeless population. She has also connected families and single women to local programs and services to promote independent living and mental wellness. Briana intends to grow in advocacy and organizing while raising awareness of the conditions the incarcerated population faces.
Director of Community Liaison & Organizing
Leah Faria (She/Her) is a Black, formerly incarcerated, community organizer and mother. She is a survivor of domestic and State violence. Faria uses her direct experiences as a way to build community and to organize Black and brown women as the organizer at the Women’s Community Justice Association. She is an instrumental leader of the Justice 4 Women Taskforce (#J4WTF) where she works to amplify the voices and empower women incarcerated at Rikers Island.
Digital Communications Manager
Nicole Cantos (She/Her) is WCJA's Digital Communications Manager. She's a strong advocate for women and animal rights and believes jails and cages shouldn't exist.
During her time with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Nicole learned the ins and outs of digital marketing and the inhumanity humans currently exert on those deemed weaker and voiceless.
Nicole has a graduate degree in Corporate Communications and focused her thesis on the Ecuadorian immigrant mothers' experience and perception of the police in Bushwick, Brooklyn - a quest she found insightful and aligned with the quintessential power dynamics in the USA.
Board of Directors
Rita Zimmer, Board Director, co-chair, Executive Director of HousingPlus
Carole Eady, Board Director, HRA Specialist
Cheryl Wilkins, Board Director, Senior Director at Center for Justice at Columbia University
Connie Temple, Board Secretary
Danielle Minelli Pagnotta, Board Treasurer, Executive Director of Providence house
Joan Montach, Board Chair
Kandra Clark, Board Director, Vice President of Policy at Exodus Transitional Community
Marge Ives, Board Director
Serena Liguori, Board Director, Executive Director of New Hour for Women and Children – LI
Sharon White-Harrigan, Board Director, Executive Director of WCJA
Yolanda Johnson-Peterkin, Board Co-Chair, Chief Officer at NYCHA Family Reunification Unit