Meet Our New Leadership Team

Street Justice Newsletter: Board of Directors, Advisory Council, and Staff

I’m so excited to share with you the Street Justice Board of Directors and the Advisory Council that will take this news organization into 501(c)(3) non-profit status. With them, I’ll re-launch the enterprise I started in December 2018. Over the past 6-8 weeks, I’ve worked hard to recruit these folks, think, and write down how I want Street Justice to differ from the current crop of local news in DC.

I’ve struggled to publish regular news reports in the past month because so much of my time went into assembling this team. For leadership advice, I spoke with two dozen people experienced in non-profits, news startups, and community benefit corporations. I reached out to almost every woman and person of color who pledges a subscription, asking them to be a part of Street Justice leadership. Below is a roster of accomplished, connected, experienced, diverse people.

Street Justice isn’t Gordon Chaffin’s newsletter anymore. The Board and Advisors are the shepherds of Street Justice. I’ll always be the founder, but now I’m a servant — an employee — of something bigger. I cannot express in words how exhausting it has been to work insanely long hours — but also to *need* to make the correct decision nearly always, in order for Street Justice to survive as an organization. It’s been extremely lonely and stressful.

To “be perfect” is impossible, and this success is the result of greater alchemy than meritocracy, but I’ve been near the edge of an emotional breakdown so many times. I’m so grateful these 20 or so people have agreed to donate some time and advance the Street Justice mission. Please do not confuse our past or future success for my individual merit. Being more successful or smarter or even harder-working doesn’t make you better than anyone. I believe merit is a moral question and Street Justice is a moral mission.

Our new organizational motto keys off of three words: include, inform, and equip.

  • Inform was what came first to me when I started Street Justice. I had savings and skills and wanted to do local journalism, so I just started doing it.

  • Include became more important after I had attended many months of public meetings and community events, understanding how limited/one-dimensional a perspective of “what the community wants” is presented in news stories. This is a service Street Justice offers (i.e. livestreams, virtual participation) and a process ethic (e.g., stories rarely have two sides, and are we talking to enough LGBT+ and BIPOC people).

  • Equip is the latest and least developed part of Street Justice; it describes how we differ from other local news outlets as well as incumbent advocacy organizations. Street Justice is not just a storytelling organization, but also a tools-provider. Our tools include the civic events calendar, the list of projects open for public comment, and the multimedia content archive — all of which I’ll get back to updating asap. Every SJ story in the future will have next steps a reader can take: a meeting to attend, a decision-maker to email, etc — if they care about the topic.

I have never been more fulfilled, more grateful, more excited, and more confident in what I’m doing. But, it’s my job to believe in the certainty of our future success — I’m the founder of a start-up. It’s our job — the people below, you readers, plus me — to work to make it a statistical probability. I believe this: do your best work, a lot of it, and get it in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Screw everything else.

All of this said, there’s no money for any of it yet and I don’t know how I’m going to pay my September rent. Street Justice continues to depend on your monthly pledges, your one-time donations, and your referrals for virtual meeting services. I understand how expensive $250 is for a lifetime subscription, but if you can afford it and believe in this mission, please consider that investment.

Board of Directors

Ari S. Brown

Amanda Farnan

  • Development and Fundraising Committee

  • Audience and Organizations Committee

  • Washington, DC - Ward 1

  • Partnerships Manager at Protocol Media

Justin A. Lini, MA

Robert Gardner

Robert McPherson

Devin McIntyre, MS

  • Development and Fundraising Committee

  • Washington, DC

  • Principal at Piloting Purpose

Kate Myers

Michael Wray

Advisory Council

Chelsea Allen

  • Audience and Organizations Committee

  • Washington, DC - Ward 5

  • Teacher at Washington Leadership Academy Public Charter School

Karthik Balasubramanian, DBA

  • Finance and Operations Committee

  • Washington, DC - Ward 6

  • Assistant Professor at Howard University School of Business

Daniel Bernstein

Mark Blacknell

  • Development and Fundraising Committee

  • Arlington, VA

  • Attorney in Private Practice

Michael Braeuninger, MA

  • Finance and Operations Committee

  • Washington, DC - Ward 5

  • Director Of Development at Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation

Talia Calnet-Sugin

Jon Coen, J.D.

Adom Cooper

Marian Dombroski, RA, LEED AP

  • Audience and Organizations Committee

  • Prince George’s County, MD

Gil Eisbruch

  • Editorial Committee

  • Washington, DC - Ward 1

  • Software Developer at Planned Systems International

Adam Fofana

Katherine Kortum, Ph.D., PE

Santiago Lakatos

Gaspard Le Dem, MA

  • Editorial Committee

  • Washington, DC - Ward 1 

  • Reporter at The Well News

K.B. Mensah

  • Editorial Committee

  • Montgomery County, MD

  • News Assistant at New York Times

Grace Pooley, M.S.Eng.

David Ramos

John Shaw, DVM

  • Audience and Organizations Committee

  • Washington, DC - Ward 6

  • U.S. Foreign Service Officer, Central America, Ret.

Street Justice Staff

Gordon Chaffin