About the RCP
Student Assistant Omar Arauza grew up in Riverbank, a small town located in California's Central Valley. He is a first generation college student pursuing a degree in Justice Studies with a concentration in Criminology. Prior to the Record Clearance Project, Omar interned for the Crime Strategies Unit at the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office. Omar enrolled in RCP Spring 2019 to empower people who have not traditionally had access to information about their rights. He feels a sense of urgency about flaws in the United States criminal justice system and plans to work for legislative reform in the area. Omar speaks Spanish.
Administrative Coordinator Anahi Beltran grew up in east San Jose and is the first in her family to attend college. She graduated in Spring 2016 with a BS in Justice Studies and a minor in Forensic Science. Based on her experience with the RCP, Anahi plans to attend law school in the future. Anahi was raised by a single mother who worked three jobs to support her sister and her. Anahi herself began working when she was 10, going with family members to clean houses and giving her earnings to her family. As Administrative Coordinator, Anahi is in charge of administrative operations of the Record Clearance Project. Anahi is fluent in spoken and written Spanish.
Mentor Norma Burns brings substantial experience to guide her mentoring clients. She has worked previously as a mentor, as a caregiver to the disabled, as a special education teacher and helps staff a homeless shelter. She is a US Army veteran. Norma has been a motivational speaker at dozens of RCP presentations in Elmwood Jail and the community. Norma appears in RCP videos and has talked to the media regarding her experiences in getting her record cleared through the RCP. Norma uses her background as an addict and an inmate at Elmwood to motivate and challenge her listeners. She speaks of having been given a "second chance" through the RCP, sharing her past to inspire others to get their records expunged. Norma helps her mentoring clients to see that "having a record shouldn't be a lifelong sentence."
Mentor Diana Carreras has spent the last 25 years advocating for those in recovery from addiction, mental health conditions and other trauma. She has 33 years of sobriety and is a former client of RCP. For the last 20 years, she has given free swim lessons to traumitized children. Since 2015, Diana has been a peer mentor at Recovery Cafe in San Jose, facilitating classes in trauma recovery and running peer support groups. In 2017 she was trained by the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) to serve as a mentor for NAMI's recovery programs. As a motiviational speaker since 2015, Diana has shared her story of recovery from drugs, trauma, and homelessness to give hope and illustrate the power of resilience. Diana is excited to guide people on an individual level as they prepare for their futures. She speaks fluent Spanish.
Voulnteer Cristina Delgado... Info Coming Soon!
Lead Mentor Victoria Kirschner had her record expunged in 2011, and has been volunteering as a motivational speaker with the RCP ever since. After decades of addiction, Victoria began living a life of sobriety in August 2002. She has sponsored other women in recovery and been the manager of a recovery home. She is active in her church and community. Victoria has worked in the transportation industry for years. She enthusiastically embraces her work as a guide to people moving from custody to create their own, individual stories of success.
Project Assistant Jesse Mejia enrolled in RCP as a student in Spring 2018. Jesse is a first-generation college student who transferred to SJSU from Hartnell Community College with an AS-T in Administration of Justice in Fall 2016. Jesse majored in Justice Studies and graduated Spring 2019 with plans to attend law school. He hopes to work on expungement law after law school and take this experience back with him to Monterey County. Jesse grew up speaking Spanish.
Volunteer Attorney Subba (Shaun) Naidu, Jr. began working on expungement law with RCP Director Peggy Stevenson when he was a summer student at the Stanford Community Law Clinic in 2005. Shaun has supervised RCP students’ work and helped train students for almost a decade. He is the author of many of the RCP's materials. He has a JD from University of Iowa Law School and a BA from UC Berkeley.
Program Manager Cindy Para grew up in San Jose and joined the Record Clearance Project as Program Manager at the beginning of July 2019. Cindy is leading the RCP's Path to Expungement program in which former clients are hired as peer mentors to connect people leaving custody with needed services as they move forward in their lives. She will teach Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) classes to clients, as she has in jail and in the community for the past four years. MRT, a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, helps individuals evaluate their moral decision making and learn to make positive choices, thereby helping them to lead more productive, rewarding lives. Cindy was a student with the RCP in 2012 and a frequent volunteer at Speed Screening advice sessions after she graduated. The second in her family to pursue higher education, Cindy graduated from SJSU in Fall 2012 with a BS in Justice Studies and recieved her Masters of Social Work from SJSU in Spring 2019. Cindy speaks fluent Spanish and has volunteered as a Spanish interpreter at immigration and workers' rights advice clinics held by Santa Clara Law School's Katharine and George Alexander Community Law Center.
RCP Project Director attorney Margaret (Peggy) Stevenson has taught students to provide legal services to low-income clients since 1994, including 12 years of teaching Stanford and Santa Clara law students in community-based clinics. She began teaching at SJSU in 2007. Peggy received the CSU Chancellor's Award for Faculty Innovation and Leadership in Fall 2018 for her work in establishing the Record Clearance Project. She also has received the SJSU Equity and Diversity Outstanding Faculty award, SJSU College of Applied Sciences and Arts; SJSU Service Learning and Community Engagement and other university and community recognition. Prior to teaching, Peggy was a legal services attorney for 10 years and clerked for a federal judge following UCLA Law School, where she earned her JD. She has a BA from Stanford University. She speaks Spanish.
Administrative Assistant Michelle Taikeff enrolled in RCP as a student in Fall 2017 and has been involved with the program ever since. While majoring in Justice Studies at SJSU, Michelle played on the University's women's water polo team and served on the executive board of the Student Athlete Advisory committee. She was a member of the Criminal Justice Honors Society at SJSU and a President's Scholar. Working the with RCP has enhanced her passion for providing legal aid to those in need. Michelle graduated from SJSU in Spring 2019 and plans to attend law school.
Mentor Laura Wright is a former RCP client. While Laura was in custody in 2014 for two felonies related to her addiction, the RCP spoke to her unit regarding legal rights to expungement. Given new hope for her future, she contacted RCP to start the process of expungement as soon as she was released three months later. She worked with Mentor José Valle, maintained her sobriety, attended school full-time and worked as a waitress. In November 2016, the court granted Laura's petition to terminate her probation early based on her progress and to clear her record. Laura graduated from community college in May 2017 and is attending Cal State Monterey Bay. She plans to enroll in a Masters of Social Work program in the future.
Student Assistant Jordan Velosa joined RCP in Spring 2019. Jordan grew up in Jackson, New Jersey, and is the first in her family to attend college. She will graduate from SJSU in Fall 2019 with a B.S. in Justice Studies, and minors in Forensic Science and Political Science. Participating in RCP has lead Jordan to decide to attend law school in the future, and work in either expungement law or child welfare.