RCP Staff

   
Omar Arauza

Case Manager Omar Arauza grew up in Riverbank, a small town located in California's Central Valley. He is a first-generation college graduate with a degree in Justice Studies, concentration in Criminology. Omar interned for the Crime Strategies Unit at the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office before joining the Record Clearance Project. 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. 

Diana Carreras

Mentor Diana Carreras has spent the last 25 years advocating for those recovering 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 traumatized children. Diana is a member of the Board of Directors at Recovery Cafe, where, since 2015, she has been a peer mentor, facilitating classes in trauma recovery and running peer support groups. In 2017 she was trained by the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) to mentor NAMI's recovery programs. Diana has broadly shared her story of recovery from drugs, trauma, and homelessness as a motivational speaker 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. 

Everett Glynn

Student Assistant Everett Glynn retired from competitive gymnastics in 2019 to pursue a degree in Justice Studies from San Jose State University. Everett has a background in Police Studies and served as a volunteer with the Santa Cruz Police Department for six years. After discovering the impact and power of the RCP, Everett has decided to continue working with the project after he graduates in Spring 2023. His goal is to pursue a graduate education at SJSU to develop replicable solutions that address contemporary issues facing the criminal justice system. Everett is grateful for the opportunity to assist individuals navigate the complexities of the legal system and is proud to work alongside the dedicated RCP team.

Cesar

Project Assistant Cesar Gonzalez grew up in Panorama City, a small neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. He is a first-generation college graduate with a degree in Justice Studies. The Record Clearance Project has rekindled and solidified his passion for law. He plans to attend law school and hopes to create a similar program in his community. Cesar feels a sense of urgency to address what legal scholars term "invisible punishment," the collateral consequences imposed for having a criminal record. He believes that programs like the RCP can significantly reduce recidivism rates and give individuals the opportunity to put their past behind them. Cesar speaks fluent Spanish.

Diana

Student Assistant Diana Huynh grew up in San Jose and joined RCP in Fall 2022. She is working towards her degree in Justice Studies with a focus on Criminology with a minor in Legal Studies and in Creative Writing. Working in the Records Clearance Program has solidified Diana’s goal of going to law school and her passion towards giving a voice to people whose voices may be suppressed by the criminal justice system. Diana firmly believes that everyone has a story to be told and every story should be heard. She is grateful to be part of a program that gives hope back to the community through legal assistance. Diana understands Vietnamese. 

Sam Hwang

Attorney Sam Hwang was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, grew up in the Bay Area, and joined RCP in Fall 2022. He currently works for the Oakland City Attorney’s Office as a Neighborhood Law Corps attorney, with a focus on impact litigation targeting community issues such as business-sourced air pollution and substandard housing conditions. Sam joins RCP with work experience as a Deputy Public Defender for the Marin County Public Defender’s Office, where he advocated for clients through the bureaucratic and emotional difficulties of the criminal justice system, as well as volunteer experience with Root & Rebound, a non-profit in Oakland offering post-conviction re-entry and expungement services. With experience in government work, private law firms, teaching, and the sports industry, Sam welcomes all sorts of questions students may have on various career paths.

Kanita

Project Assistant Kanita Ilic is a first-generation college student from Pleasanton, CA. Kanita graduated in May 2022 with a major in Justice Studies with a concentration in Criminology, and a minor in Forensic Studies. Kanita enrolled in the RCP in Fall 2020, and worked as a Student Assistant during her last semester. Kanita plans to attend law school. She is grateful to be able to provide legal assistance to those whose voices have been lost in the criminal justice system. Kanita speaks Bosnian.

Victoria

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 individual stories of success.

Erika Larios

Project Assistant Erika Larios joined RCP in Spring 2022. She is a first generation college graduate who grew up in Bay Point, a small town located in the East Bay region of San Francisco Bay Area. She graduated from SJSU in May 2022 with a B.S. in Political Science and minors in Justice Studies and Philosophy. The Record Clearance Project has solidified her passion for law. Erika is dedicated to increasing the diversity of the legal profession and promoting social justice by providing information and resources to undergraduates who otherwise lack access. She plans to attend law school to help those whose voices have been silenced, expecting to work in either criminal or immigration law. Erika speaks fluent Spanish.

Jesse

Assistant Program Manager 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 in 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. 

Cindy

Program Manager Cindy Parra grew up in San Jose and joined RCP in July 2019. Cindy is leading the Mentoring 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 teaches Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) classes to clients, as she has in jail and the community since 2016. MRT, a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, helps individuals evaluate their moral decision-making and learn to make positive choices. 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 B.S. in Justice Studies and received 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. 

stacy-quezada

Mentor Stacy Quezada grew up in Gilroy, CA. She has over three years of experience mentoring mothers with substance abuse and mental health issues to navigate the Child Welfare system. After graduating from the program, Stacy participated in Women's drug intervention as a client and supported other women as a guest speaker. She has been involved in several committees with the NA recovery community, including the "Annual NA Barbeque Meeting," where she oversees children's activities. Stacy is knowledgeable about available resources in South County and has done presentations for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and social workers in training. Having lived experience with obstacles of homeless, addiction, incarceration, and poverty, Stacy is passionate about helping community members better themselves and move forward on the right path. Stacy speaks Spanish.

Ruben

Project Assistant Ruben Souza joined RCP in Fall 2019. He is a first-generation college graduate from Oakland with a degree in Justice Studies and minor in Political Science. His involvement with the Record Clearance Project has solidified his desire to continue studying law and become an attorney. Ruben began classes at Santa Clara University School of Law in Fall 2021, where he is the first-year representative to the Criminal Law Society, Latinx Law Student Association, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Ruben also won first place in the 1L Galloway Moot Court Competition. He speaks Spanish and looks forward to further serving his community. 

Peggy

RCP Project Director 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 has also 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 awards. 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 J.D. She has a B.A. from Stanford University. She speaks Spanish.