We are a close-knit team of enthusiastic individuals committed to justice and nonviolence. Diversity, sense of social belonging, and equity are essential parts of our culture and identity. We are constantly learning and strive to create a team that reflects the communities we serve and spaces where everyone feels valued, heard, and empowered.
Board of Directors
Heather has worked in the criminal justice field for over a decade assisting victims, offenders, and their families during some of their most difficult times. She has participated in victim-offender dialogues in the past and has shared her experience with various audiences. She has a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is currently pursuing a Masters in Legal Studies at American University and a Certificate in Restorative Justice Facilitation and Leadership at University of San Diego. She is a passionate advocate for criminal and social justice reform and looks forward to a day when restorative justice is widely practiced in the legal system.
Angie is a DC community leader involved in many grassroots organizations. She has a keen sense for building sustainable communities and networks. She has deployed with unarmed civilian protection units as part of the DC Peace Team and is a lead recruiter for the organization.
Heather Legge holds a BA in Public Affairs: Ethics, Philosophy, and Social Policy from Wells College. She has spent the past four years working in Institutional Advancement/Donor Relations for nonprofits, currently in the field of higher education at Randolph College. Her primary roles have been in donor relations and database management. Heather is a social justice advocate and believes that nonviolent communication is a lifelong practice and that starting small in local communities is how NVC and restorative justice practices will become more commonly used for conflict resolution. These practices begin within an individual and spread out as a way of life. Heather lives in Lynchburg, Virginia, with her two teenage daughters and two cats. She enjoys reading, writing, houseplants, and building relationships within communities. While she does not have formal training in conflict resolution, she considers herself a critical thinker, lifelong learner, and empathetic listener; all of these being useful skills for facilitating NVC and RJ. She has facilitated some small trainings on her college campus for student leaders and hopes to continue to build on those trainings within the student, faculty, and staff populations with a goal of helping form a safer community.
James A. Lynch, Jr. is a Dharma Teacher as authorized by the lay Buddhist Organization Rissho Kosei Kai. He is an official representative for their outside affairs in the New York City area, as well as an official representative for Rissho Kosei Kai to the United Nations. James is currently the President of the Buddhist Council of New York, which represents more than 900,000 Buddhist in the Tri-State area. In addition, he has helped organize the Heiwa Peace Foundation a think tank for peace whose primary work is done in the United States and Asia on behalf of its Founder the Venerable T.K. Nakagaki. He further sits on the Board of Religions for Peace USA which is the largest interfaith peace organization in America and was recently appointed as a Trustee to the prestigious international Parliament of World Religions. James is also a lawyer and a tenured professor, as well as the Chairman of the Business Management Department in the Koppelman School of Business located at Brooklyn College, where he teaches Workplace Happiness and Spirituality.
Sal offers training in Active Bystander Intervention, Restorative Justice, Unarmed Civilian Protection, and conflict mediation. He worked for 15 years in academia as a Psychology Professor before transitioning to nonprofit work. He has done Workforce Development training and program management and is a Training Coordinator for the Maryland Harm Reduction Institute. His vision is to help others build and maintain healthy relationships, with conflict transformation as the primary focus. His extensive background in leadership facilitation supports his efforts to keep showing up and sharing.
Princia Vas is a third culture kid who is committed to causes surrounding human rights, justice, advocacy, and nonprofit management. She currently works at the Grameen Foundation in DC and has about 10 years’ experience in academia, private and government sectors. Given everything that’s going on around the world, the importance of peace building, and non-violent initiatives has become more important than ever. Princia is excited to be a part of the DC Peace Team and all the work they are doing to make this world a more peaceful place!
Kay brings a focus on social learning and respectful, joyful communities. She has worked with many types of organizations that empower people to learn, take care of one another, and do good work together, from education to the social safety net to social dance. Her experience with the varied forms of structural decision-making in these multiple contexts informs her approach to program design, values-aligned metrics, social change leadership, and mission strategy. Previous board experience includes Interfaith Works, Washington Elementary Science Teachers Association, the National Association of Swing Dance Events, Rockville Community Nursery School and the Interfaith Housing Coalition. Kay has a master’s degree from Teachers College Columbia University, a love for poetry, dance and learning, and deep belief in the intrinsic worth of each of us as human beings.
Eli S. McCarthy, Ph.D.
Director of Programs
Eli has led numerous training in nonviolent communication, unarmed civilian protection, and bystander intervention. He also helps facilitate the deployments of DCPT’s unarmed civilian protection units. He is a professor at Georgetown University, where he teaches in the Justice and Peace Studies Program. His most recent book is titled A Just Peace Ethic: Building Sustainable Peace and Breaking Cycles of Violence (2020). In 2012, Eli published Becoming Nonviolent Peacemakers: A Virtue Ethic for Catholic Social Teaching and U.S. Policy. He has been formed by multiple trips to Haiti, where he worked with people living in poverty, working with people experiencing homelessness in Boston and Washington, DC, monitoring the Palestinian Elections in 2006 with the Nonviolent Peaceforce, and leading strategic nonviolent resistance campaigns.
Leah (she/her) is passionate about building a world where race no longer determines our opportunities to thrive and where we are all liberated from overlapping systems of oppression. Leah is involved in activating white folks in racial justice work, moving white wealth to people of color-led groups and organizations, cultivating organizational cultures and practices that center intersectional racial justice principles, and reimagining and building our capacity for what safety can look like. Through facilitation, organizational change processes, and community organizing, Leah is excited about working towards a more just future.
Francis (they/she) is passionate about weaving people & processes to further positive change. They hold an M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University; a training certificate from the first Regional Institute in Strategy and Practice of Nonviolent Action from FLACSO, Ecuador; as well as a Project Management Professional certificate from the Project Management Institute. Their professional experience includes operational and programmatic support, staff & volunteer management, stakeholder relationship building, monitoring & evaluation, and working for nonprofits in immigration, peacebuilding, education & human rights. Francis is joining the DC Peace Team to be more involved in the grassroots community of DC and use their experience and skills towards peace and nonviolent efforts, for which they have had an interest since growing up in Ecuador and experiencing the indigenous movements of the 90s. They are committed to continuous learning and growth, including in their practice of nonviolence, meditation, and social justice. Outside of work, they enjoy reading, podcasts, live music, puzzling, and going on dog-friendly adventures with their rescue pup, Owen.
Social Media Manager
Katie is a student at George Washington University, where she studies Organizational Sciences with minors in Human Services & Social Justice and Spanish. Katie became involved in DCPT in the summer of 2020 as social media intern. Katie also created “Family Engagement in Peace Education”, a workbook that inspires children to engage with peaceful living and nonviolent peacemaking. In DCPT, Katie is most excited to learn more about the implementation of peaceful practices and conflict transformation techniques within local communities.
Facilitators & Core Members
Meet some of our experienced facilitators and dedicated supporters. We love them and are inspired by their commitment to passionately share their time and expertise with the world.
Eliane is a peace educator and consultant on gender-responsive policies with a background in peace and security, housing justice, environmental justice, and racial justice. Her work focuses on advancing nonviolence and climate action and promoting women's participation—as critical actors—in all efforts to achieve sustainable peace and justice. Eliane's training sessions empower participants to embrace nonviolence as a way of life and are rooted in the the promotion of human rights and dignity. Through interactive, context-relevant and trauma-informed approaches, she has trained people from all backgrounds and walks of life in the U.S and globally, including community and religious leaders, activists, elected officials, college students, and educators. She is a proud Hoya and completed graduate studies at Harvard University.
Jamal (he/they/them) is is a second-generation educator who earned their bachelor degree in Psychology and Psychoeducational Studies whilst at Howard University. Jamal's career focus has been on at-risk, juvenile, and special education students, specifically students with Emotional Behavior Disorders. While teaching in these alternative school settings, Jamal became a self-taught and trialed by fire in the skills presented. Jamal is currently finishing a Masters in Special Education and currently teaches adult learners at the Academy of Hope, DC.
Jeri (she/her) is a former educator who serves in her community as a first responder chaplain with a longstanding commitment to the spiritual well-being of all of God’s people. She holds a Professional Certificate in Restorative Justice from Vermont Law School. Jeri is inspired by the transforming and healing powers that occur within circles that offer safe spaces to be brave and vulnerable as personal stories are shared openly with authenticity, deep listening, and respect for others. In her professional and personal life, she is passionate about restorative justice and is an enthusiastic member of the Restorative Justice family of the DC Peace Team.
Tarek Farouk Maassarani
Tarek is currently focused on Restorative Justice efforts as a member of the Restorative DC team and the DC Alliance for Restorative Practices. His experience in the field of peacebuilding more broadly includes developing and implementing cross-border encounter programs, gang intervention efforts, community mediation and dialogue, and school-based peace education programs, as well as a wide variety of training/facilitation services. Tarek has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in conflict resolution. He holds a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs and a J.D. from Georgetown University, as well as a B.S. in Environmental Studies and B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Lauren supports DC Peace Team's social media presence. She works in social justice education, and has helped lead student trips to Appalachia, Northern Ireland, Haiti, South Africa, Tanzania, and Rwanda. Lauren is deeply engaged in Quaker peace and social justice initiatives and is on the Steering Committee of the Quaker Palestine Israel Network. She has presented on such topics as "Pacifism Isn't Passive" and "Building the Beloved Community through Social Action" and has had articles published including "Recognizing Teacher Activism" and "Our Drop in the Wave of Liberation."
Debra Budiani-Saberi, Ph.D.
Debra (she/her) is a medical anthropologist academic and health and human rights activist with a longstanding background of international advocacy at the grassroots level and consultancy with international agencies/organizations including the United Nations, the Vatican, Europol and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. She is a trauma-aware facilitator of Mindfulness, Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Conflict Transformation and Restorative Justice Practices (RJPs) with an approach that blends an exploration of our inner worlds with our interpersonal relationships and that is rooted in neuroscience and social justice.
Andria is a graduate student in the online Social Justice and Community Organizing Program of Prescott College. She became involved with DCPT after moving back to Maryland from Madison, WI, where she studied Spanish and Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison before working as a Bilingual Restorative Justice Intake Coordinator at YWCA Madison. Andria is excited to expand her knowledge around RJ and the implementation of other peaceful practices, use these practices to address systemic and community harm, and bring transformative, liberatory healing to all, especially vulnerable communities.
Kai (he/they) is a professional martial artist with over 15 years of experience across styles. He has studied concepts of nonviolence and martial arts technique all over the world. As a dedicated practitioner of nonviolence and a scholar of martial arts theory and practice, Kai has worked alongside masters of numerous styles to develop a unique form of nonviolent self defense that combines technique and philosophy from a number of schools of East Asian martial arts and philosophy. His system of nonviolent self defense has served as the basis for a number of reforms and has been taught across all ages and skill levels. Throughout his career, he has served on an international panel of peace scholars, written many martial arts curriculums, and taught a number of classes.
Amanda (she/her/any pronouns) is a social justice educator with professional experience as a facilitator, organizer, and consultant in higher education and social change movements. Amanda has been practicing conflict transformation approaches since 2010, and often integrates contemplation and mindfulness techniques into her facilitation. Amanda graduated in May, 2023 with a Master of Divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She holds an M.A. with distinction in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University, and a B.A. magna cum laude in Global Studies & French from North Park University.