CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Cheryl Bonacci is a compassionate consultant with 17 years of experience supporting marginalized populations along with the systems and communities evolving to change the narrative on how we see and treat them. Following an eight-year career in the entertainment industry, Cheryl left Hollywood behind for a life of community service.
Serving as a Catholic Chaplain for the Los Angeles Archdiocese Office of Restorative Justice she developed a deep compassion for our most marginalized children navigating the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems. As a founding executive at The Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) Cheryl developed the unique approach to reentry services that sets ARC apart. Empowering people with a system connected past, she blossomed a staff of four into twenty-six, building the foundation of the Member Services, Housing, Programming and Communications/Community Relations departments.
Cheryl has the unique ability to engage in action driven dialogues across government and community forums, changing the narrative on how we see and support our reentry population while working to remove barriers to employment, education and housing. Her strong alliance with adult and juvenile corrections and judicial representatives, Los Angeles County Supervisors, and a wide range of community and faith-based organizations is a testament to her ability to understand the issues from all angles and work cohesively toward solutions.
As an appointee for Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl on the Permanent Steering Committee of the Office of Diversion and Reentry, and a Board Member for the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative, and the Prison Arts Collective, Cheryl is able to lend her expertise to efforts focused on establishing sustainable change within the system while positively affecting the lives in its grasp. Her holistic perspective of the issues facing our sons and daughters returning home, coupled with the deep relationships cultivated in her years of service, offer a unique depth of knowledge and insight in her work.
Sabra Williams is an independent consultant, arts advocate and prison reform strategist working to transform U.S. prison and reentry systems, serving non-profit, government and activist clients. Williams has made her mark in the U.S. and abroad as a bridge builder and innovator, developing nuanced arts-based curriculum for at-risk youth, incarcerated people and Correctional Peace Officers. Her activism has expanded over the past decade to include policy advocacy at the state and federal level, and relentless strategic leadership on behalf of incarcerated people, the communities they will eventually re-enter, and all prison systems looking to embrace reform and restorative justice techniques.
As co-Founder of The Actors’ Gang Prison Project, Williams oversaw the conception and development of a program with the central purpose of giving people who are incarcerated the life-changing tools that the Arts can foster. Over the past twelve years under her leadership, the Prison Project has reached well over a thousand students across twelve prisons and has led to promising outcomes for participants who saw significant decreases in behavioral infractions and recidivism rates.
Williams has developed and led tailored programs to serve those serving in juvenile facilities, women’s prisons, and maximum-security facilities, as well as both prevention and reentry courses for individuals of all ages. She is currently developing an arts-based intervention and empowerment program designed for Correctional Officers.
Her work has been featured by the BBC, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, The Today Show and National Public Radio, amongst other national and international outlets.
For her work, Williams has been recognized with a British Empire Medal from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, a Champion of Change Award by the Obama Administration and by the Martin Luther King Westside Coalition with their Community Light Award. Under her leadership, the Prison Project has received the ‘Pursuit of Justice Award’ from the California Women’s Law Center, an Artistic License Award from the California Lawyers for the Arts.
Andrew Nguyen received his International Relations degree from Tufts University and was honored to serve as an awarded Tisch Scholar for Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. He began his community organizing career mobilizing low-income workers and piloting a workforce development program for the formerly incarcerated in Detroit. From there, he spent 5 years with ROC United in NYC managing labor organizing campaigns, base-building & coalition initiatives, and a workforce training program for New Yorkers & returning citizens facing barriers to advancement.
His passion on issues of access, equity and empowerment has driven his campaign experience in working with social ventures - from COLORS (part restaurant, part training-facility, part worker-owned cooperative incubator and social justice space) to Artist Republic (an agency empowering disenfranchised independent recording artists and managers) and Communalife (with a mission to equip low-income disaster-prone areas in California with equitable community energy development). He is now honored to serve Creative Acts and our incarcerated individuals + families in a development capacity.