About the RCP
Mentor Norma Burns has worked with the homeless and disabled as a caregiver, and as a special education
teacher. She is a veteran of the US Army. Norma has spoken at more than a dozen RCP
community education presentations in Elmwood Jail and the community. She accepted
the County Board of Supervisors’ commen
dation on behalf of the RCP in June 2012. 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 experience as an addict and an inmate at Elmwood to motivate and challenge her listeners. She speaks of having been a victim of sexual, physical, mental and verbal abuse, and of having been given a “second chance” through the RCP. She believes that sharing her past will inspire others to get their records expunged, and that “having a record shouldn't be a lifelong sentence.”
Student assistant Anahi Beltran grew up in east San Jose and is the first in her family to attend college. She will graduate in Spring 2016 with a her BS in Justice Studies with 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. Currently, in addition to attending school and working for the RCP, Anahi does security work for a high tech company, giving her perspective on law enforcement.
As a student assistant, Anahi is in charge of helping to organize and staff class workshops, community events, Speed Screening advice interview sessions, and related RCP program tasks.
Student assistant Nina Bernardini began working with the RCP in June 2015 after being a student in RCP courses. Currently a Justice Studies major planning to graduate Fall 2015, Nina started out as a nursing major. After taking criminal justice classes, Nina realized that her passion was in the legal field. She earned AA degrees in Paralegal Studies and Liberal Arts in 2007, and began working as a Legal Clerk for an employment law attorney. In 2015 she joined the RCP class where she has enjoyed helping with Speed Screenings and giving community education presentations on expungement law. Nina is considering going to law school so she can continue to help people in the future to learn about and use their legal rights.
Program Coordinator Kenia Contreras graduated from SJSU with a BS in Justice Studies and a minor in Human Rights in Spring 2015. Kenia started in the RCP class in Fall of 2014 and became Program Coordinator in May 2015. She was born in Mexico and came to the United States when she was 11 years old. She is a native Spanish-speaker. Kenia lives in east San Jose and is the second in her family to graduate from college. Kenia plans to become a probation officer working with juveniles.
As Program Coordinator, Kenia responds to community requests for assistance; finalizes and files clients' court papers; organizes moot court practice sessions (giving clients a chance for critiqued preparation for court); organizes Speed Screening advice sessions; assists with the administrative tasks involved in staffing the RCP classes; and generally manages whatever needs to be done. When she is not devoting her time to the Record Clearance Project, Kenia helps individuals who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Graphic Designer Josue Cruz is a student currently attending the BFA Design program at SJSU. He helps promote
information about the RCP's work and expungment law to the community. Josue is a native
to the Bay Area, born in San Jose and raised in Newark, Ca with family ties to Jalisco,
Josue has a background in print design and is currently working as a graphic designer at the San Jose based web design firm, CB Creative.
Former Mentor and current RCP Advisory Board member Winnonah Hernandez has moved to Richmond and thus is no longer an active mentor. However, Nona continues to guide the RCP and others. She has been a sponsor for numerous women over the last 12 years, and written a guide to the 12-step program. She currently sponsors 11 women, who in turn sponsor others; their sponsorship tree includes over 120 clean and sober women. Winnonah is a motivational speaker at conventions, retreats and community education presentations. She has spoken to the press regarding the powerful effects of expungement in giving her the courage and confidence to move forward in her life. Nona currently is writing her autobiography.
Nishtha Jolly, former Program Coordinator, is now attending law school at Santa Clara School of Law. She spends some of her time between classes assisting with the database and analysis of RCP's work.
Attorney Subba (Shaun) Naidu, Jr. has worked on expungements with Peggy when he was a summer student at the Stanford Community Law Clinic in 2005. Shaun has supervised RCP students’ work and helped train students since being admitted to the bar in 2009. 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.
Former Student Mentoring Coordinator Rochelle Rotea is now a first-year law student at UC Irvine. She continues to assist with social media and communications.
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. She serves on the SJSU Pre-law committee, is highly rated for her teaching and the recipient of several awards, including Equity and Diversity Outstanding Faculty award, SJSU College of Applied Sciences and Arts (May 2011); Faculty Lecturer Award, SJSU Service Learning and Community Engagement (April 2012). 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.
Mentor José Valle grew up in a single-parent low-income housing project in East San José. Without a positive male role model, José was vulnerable to the gangs and drugs that surrounded him, and dropped out of high school when he was 16. While at Elmwood Jail in 2006, José joined a recovery program, received his GED, and found inspiration at the Elmwood library in books about pre-Colombian and Chicano history.
Upon release, José continued his sobriety. José wrote for De-Bug and Street Low Magazine about Chicano history, current issues, and his life experiences. He co-hosted a community talk radio show, and founded Souleros Ball Revue, a nonprofit arts, music and cultural empowerment organization. José has been a case manager and gang intervention specialist at California Youth Outreach, a non-profit faith-based organization for gang-impacted youth and families.
The Record Clearance Project maintains a detailed database regarding its clients' demographics and conviction histories. The database -- removed of all identifying information -- has been the basis for research findings from SJSU Prof. Danielle Harris, Prof. Ericka Adams of North Central College in Illinois, and Prof. Elsa Chen of Santa Clara University.