Rev. Dr. Sharon White-Harrigan

Executive Director

Meet Sharon White-Harrigan, a true trailblazer, visionary, and thought leader who leads with faith and hope. She is the inaugural Executive Director of the Women’s Community Justice Association (WCJA). She is dedicated to healing, safety, and driving change through engagement with systems-impacted, directly impacted, and community members. WCJA provides opportunities for New Yorkers to heal and transform at each stage of systems involvement. Sharon's leadership spans various direct service fields such as reentry, domestic violence, homelessness, mental health, substance usage, trauma, job readiness, employment, and healing. She has also been instrumental in policy advocacy efforts, notably in partnership with leading the campaign to pass NY’s Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act in 2019.

Sharon wears many hats - she's a faith leader, motivational speaker, adjunct professor, consultant, and therapist to name a few. She's also an executive and co-founder of Women Building UP (WBU), an advisory member of the Survivor’s Justice Project (SJP), and a strategic consultant to the Women & Justice Project (WJP). Sharon draws upon her expertise as a licensed practitioner, and survivor of many things including 11 years of incarceration. She holds a Doctorate in Ministry, a Master’s Degree in Social Work, a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and Criminal Justice a Thomas W. Smith Fellow, and an Associate's Degree in liberal arts. She's also the proud recipient of numerous awards and honors for her incredible work.

Tashoy Miller

Director of Operations

Tashoy is a force to be reckoned with, bringing not only passion but also a proven track record of success to the fight for incarcerated women. Though new to the formal advocacy field, her upper-level management experience translates seamlessly, fueling her ability to spearhead initiatives, manage projects, and connect with various stakeholders. This combined with her strong communication, presentation, and leadership skills makes her a powerful advocate, ready to make a significant impact.

Driven by a fierce commitment to dismantle systemic injustice, Tashoy champions the cause of incarcerated women, amplifying their voices and advocating for their freedom. She brings a wealth of experience from upper-level management roles, where she excelled in spearheading initiatives, project management, and client relations. Her proven track record demonstrates a steadfast commitment to optimizing organizational performance and exceeding objectives.

Tashoy is committed to amplifying the voices of marginalized communities and is particularly passionate about advocating for women and Black communities. Her unwavering dedication fuels her ongoing fight for justice, and she remains steadfast in her pursuit of creating a more equitable and just society.

 

Leah Faria

Director of Community Liaisons 

Leah Faria (She/Her) is a mother, daughter and sister who has dedicated over twenty years advocating for communities most impacted by the Criminal Legal system. Leah is a survivor of both domestic and State violence and uses her direct experiences as a way to educate, build community, network and organize within vulnerable Black and Brown communities. She is an instrumental leader of the Rikers Island initiative where during bi-weekly visits she provides support and resources to the women and gender expansive people detained at the Rose M. Singer Center, bringing them a sense of hope in what so often feels like a hopeless situation.

Jay Edidin

Director of Advocacy

Jay Edidin comes to WCJA with a Master's degree in Human Rights, a passion for policy, two decades of experience as a writer and editor, and a lifetime of grassroots activism and organizing. In addition to his work at WCJA, Jay writes for the American Library Association award-winning children’s podcast The Imagine Neighborhood, delves into the minutiae of comics continuity as half of Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men, and knits pretty nice hats.

Rose Harris

Director of Adult and Young Adult Initiatives

For the past 20 years, Rose Harris has worked to educate, uplift, and edify women. Rose has worked to educate women at maximum-security facilities on HIV and AIDS testing and management, and her commitment to fighting that epidemic is matched only by her belief in second chances. Rose is passionately committed to re-entry work, supporting women who are returning from jail and prison. In addition to her work at WCJA, Rose is an ordained Evangelist and the Assistant Director of the Sons and Daughters Ministry; and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Phoenix.

Tashan Rivers

COMMs + Tech Manager

While Tashan is new to advocacy, that doesn't stop him from fighting for the good cause. It is almost a guarantee that Tashan has his camera with him wherever he goes because he is passionate about photography. A few articles featuring his work have been published. In addition to his love of photography, he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to WCJA. During the pandemic, he captured crucial moments at rallies. 

Akiana Smith

Community + Court Manager

Akiana Smith is a native New Yorker and natural born activist. She has worked as a community organizer, educator, and ran anger management groups for men returning from prison. Akiana is currently the Community - Court Navigator of the Women's Community Justice Association, a non-profit fighting for the rights of women in detention and the closure of RIkers Island. Akiana uses her voice as a tool to bring awareness to injustice. She  is earning her Bachelors from John Jay College in Human Services and Community Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Akiana is a proud mother of two empowered daughters and an advocate for prisoners everywhere.

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
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

 

Jordyn Rosenthal, Michelle Feldman, Lucia Alonso & Amina Odzackic are part of WCJA's extended family, Justice 4 Women Task Force