Azadeh is an activist and strategist with extensive experience in public policy, leadership development, community organizing, and management. As the daughter of two formerly incarcerated parents, Azadeh is deeply familiar with the intergenerational impacts of imprisonment. She has been active in prison reform efforts and advocacy for nearly 20 years. Azadeh previously worked at Legal Services for Prisoners with Children leading the organization’s fundraising and program management. Prior to that she worked in leadership roles as a lawyer, advocate, researcher, and organizer on statewide and national campaigns including the successful effort to end long term solitary confinement in California. Her work has been cited by courts, attorneys, and scholars and has been featured in The New York Times, The Nation, The Guardian, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Ebony, Mother Jones and Al Jazeera. Azadeh earned her BA from UC Riverside where she studied Ethnic Studies and a JD from UC Hastings College of the Law. She is an active alumna of the Women’s Policy Institute, Soros Justice Fellowship, and New Leaders Council Oakland.
BUS would like to welcome its new students to UC Berkeley!
Aaron Harvey (San Diego City College)
Aaron Solorio (Santa Rosa Junior College)
Adam Belardes (San Jose City College)
Adam Solorzano (Grossmont Community College)
Aminah Colbert (Feather River College)
AnDrea Crawford (Laney College)
Apollo Rosas Hernandez (Palomar College)
Arlinda Perez (East Los Angeles College)
Corey Glassman (Coastline Community College)
Darcey Clark (Merritt College)
Fernando Rivera (Evergreen Community College)
Fernando Valtierra (East Los Angeles College)
Francisco Galvan (Diablo Valley College)
Gabriela Gutierrez (Merritt College)
Ginah Tran (Orange Coast College)
Irsyad Sjah (Berkeley City College)
Jamie Hein (Ohio University)
Jonah Moon (Glendale Community College)
Joshua Mason (Sacramento City College)
LeiTasika Faumuina (Contra Costa College)
Luis Lopez (Santa Rosa Junior College)
Mykele Javar Marbley (Laney College)
Tina McClain (Merritt College)
Victor Gomez (Los Angeles Trade Technical College)
This year's newly admitted student event on May 5th was a success. We welcomed over 18 new transfer students from various community colleges throughout the state of California.
The first statewide conference of the Formerly Incarcerated Students & Alumni Network (FISAN) was a success last April 6th and 7th at Cal State LA. The conference was organized by a large group that included the two co-founders of BUS, Danny Murillo and Steven Czifra. In addition, current director Violeta Alvarez was on a panel during the conference.
This year’s conference brought together a network of Formerly Incarcerated Students and Alumni from across the state and focused on developing strategy to advocate for educational and professional opportunities for currently and formerly incarcerated people. Several workshops concentrated on mitigating legal barriers, record expungement, employment preparedness, educational opportunity, advocacy, leadership development, and issues affecting individuals, families, impacted communities, and public health & safety.
This spring, multiple BUS members were accepted into top graduate programs in their fields. Learn more about them below.
Michael is a formerly incarcerated student from West Covina, CA. He was accepted to Master of Public Policy programs at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, the University of Chicago, and Carnegie Mellon University. He was also accepted to the Master of Public Affairs program at Princeton University. In addition, he received full rides for all programs except for the University of Chicago.
Mark was accepted to the Masters of Social Welfare Program here at UC Berkeley's School of Social Welfare where he will be studying Health and Wellness Throughout the Adult Life Span. His goal is to become a Social Worker for the County of Alameda and work on (rehabilitating) youth rehabilitation and providing alternatives to incarceration. He will graduate with his bachelor's degree in anthropology from UC Berkeley in May.
Abdullah was admitted to UCLA's PhD Program in Anthropology. He will be starting there this fall. Abdullah was released in December, 2014 after being locked up in 1999. While inside he got a GED and an AA in social and behavioral sciences from Palo Verde College. In January 2015 he enrolled at San Diego City College where he took prerequisites to transfer to UC Berkeley. He will graduate from Berkeley in May with a BA in political economy.
Clint was accepted to UC Santa Barbara’s English Ph.D. program. He is the first in his family to pursue a college degree. After a total of eight years incarcerated beginning at the age of fourteen and ending at twenty-six, Clint transferred from Cabrillo College to UC Berkeley as an English Major. Here, Clint has pursued research in 19th, 20th , and 21st century literature and poetry with an emphasis in contemporary American prison literature. He has presented his research at the Northwestern Undergraduate Conference on Literature at the University of Portland as well as at the Haas Scholars and McNair Scholars research symposiums at UC Berkeley.
Shalita grew up in East Oakland and is a single of mother of two boys. She is a formerly incarcerated woman of color who is dedicated to fighting against the criminal injustice system. At UC Berkeley she is studying sociology and currently writing an Honors Thesis. She will graduate in May 2018 and was just accepted into UCLA's Masters of Social Work program.