Chanell M. Hasty
Founder and President of FRJ & Ex-Officio Founding Board Member
Chanell Hasty graduated from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a concentration in International Affairs in 2004. After graduating from Spelman, she pursued her graduate studies at Seton Hall University’s John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations; where she received a Master of Arts in Diplomacy and International Relations with specializations in International Law and International Organizations.
Upon graduating from Seton Hall University, Chanell moved to Boston, MA, and began working with the Victim Rights Law Center (VRLC), a legal non-profit that provides free legal services to survivors of sexual assault. In her role as an Intake Coordinator/Paralegal, she worked on domestic sexual assault legal issues and on the issue of how sexual assault affects one’s refugee and/or immigration legal status. Chanell played a particular part in helping to expand the VRLC’s immigration law unit. The next stop for her was Guatemala, where she served as an International Accompanier/Human Rights Observer for the social justice organization, the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala. Chanell lived and worked in various communities in Guatemala that bore the brunt of the civil war in the early 1980’s, as an international presence that gave Guatemalan civil society the space to advocate for justice and accountability within their country. After returning from Guatemala, Chanell moved to Washington, D.C. to further pursue her human rights ambitions; but this time, she did this working on Capitol Hill. She started out as a Congressional Intern in the personal office of Congressman Tim Holden (PA-17), and then transitioned to the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights. Chanell gained an immense amount of global policy experience working under the leadership of former Congressman Donald Payne (NJ – 10) on the Subcommittee.
Chanell continued gaining global policy experience working at the global health organization, Management Sciences for Health (MSH). She started out as a Policy and Advocacy Coordinator within MSH’s Policy and Advocacy Unit, and was later promoted to Gender Initiative & Global Health Specialist within the Center for Leadership & Management. In both positions, Chanell worked to elevate MSH as key player in health policy programming. She also gained both domestic and international human rights/youth development experience in New York City with organizations such as Women Deliver as a C-Exchange Youth Initiative Consultant and as an Online Program Associate at Global Kids. Today, Chanell is the Founder and President of Fashion Redefining Justice – a non-profit organization that seeks to uniquely revolutionize the way adolescent orphans and vulnerable children access justice - through the provision of livelihood and life skills training within the global fashion industry.
Founding Board Member
Erika Hardaway is thrilled to be a Founding Board Member of Fashion Redefining Justice. Advocating for social change, youth empowerment, and equitable educational/economic opportunities for all has always been at the forefront of her professional and personal endeavors.
Erika holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Literature and French Language and Culture from Hunter College in New York City. While in college, Erika studied abroad in Paris, France, and worked on summer programs in Mexico and Paraguay with the Amigos de las Americas program. She also interned with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney during her senior year of college. Miss Hardaway's most influential international experience was her 2009 trip to Honduras. There, she witnessed the devastating effects of the military coup, which sparked her interest in international education and in particular, peace and conflict education. After graduation from Hunter College in May of 2013, Erika started graduate school at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University (NYU); where she received her Master of Arts degree in International Education. While at NYU, Erika worked as a Research Assistant on a project that evaluated community-based education in war-torn regions of Afghanistan, conducted research on refugee employability in New York City, and interned with Catholic Charities' Refugee Resettlement Office; as well as interning at Scholars at Risk, a non-profit organization that finds academic residencies for scholars world-wide who are escaping persecution. Miss Hardaway was honored with the International Education Program's Leadership Award and NYU's Western Scholarship, which honors a graduate student who demonstrates outstanding scholarship and service to the community. Upon graduation, Erika worked as a Senior Trainer/College and Career Coordinator at Global Kids in New York City, and subsequently taught Spanish at one of Brooklyn, New York's charter high schools.
Currently, Erika is a Curriculum and Instruction Program Manager at BUILD-New York City, where she is responsible for coaching BUILD educators, strengthening curriculum implementation, managing the programming budget, and cultivating relationships with various stakeholders. Erika LOVES traveling and is committed to visiting Dubai (the United Arab Emirates), Prague (the Czech Republic), Agra (India), and Accra (Ghana), in her lifetime. She is an avid reader, often finishing multiple books in just a few hours. She also loves dogs, zumba, kemetic yoga, and spending time with loved ones. Miss Hardaway is certain that FRJ will provide access to justice for vulnerable populations, and she looks forward to using her professional and educational experiences to creatively address some of the world’s most pressing issues.
Founding Board Member
Gabriel was born in the Bronx and raised in East Harlem. He is a meticulous, technologically proficient, bilingual professional who can adapt to the many changing demands in business. Gabriel wants be recognized as a Management Accountant who integrates accounting expertise with advanced technological and management skills with the goal of influencing an organization’s business performance.
Mr. Rivera holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the SUNY Institute of Technology and a Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) from Touro College. His blend of youth development experience includes working in after-school & foster care settings. Other experience includes roles with a cancer research foundation, a large university and working with individuals with developmental disabilities.
Gabriel exercises regularly, and enjoys organized sports such as softball and touch football. Mr. Rivera likes to travel in order to meet new people, learn about their cultures, and sample their cuisine. He is fluent in Spanish and is conversational in Italian.
Founding Board Member
Janai Smith is a Bronx native who attended the University of Vermont. While there, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with minors in Gender Studies, Community & International Development, and French. Upon graduating, she worked with the Advocacy Lab, South Asian Youth Action, and Global Kids. During her time at these youth development non-profits, Janai educated youth about various human rights issues and how they can fight for social justice. She has led young people to take action against human trafficking, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, hunger, and more. In addition to her youth development experience, Janai is an alumna of the Public Allies AmeriCorps program. After her year of service with Public Allies, she spent 5 months in Cameroon volunteering at an orphanage, as well as an HIV/AIDS non-governmental organization.
Today, Ms. Smith is the Youth Outreach Manager for ECPAT-USA, an anti-human trafficking organization. There, she runs the Youth Against Child Trafficking (Y-ACT) program to educate teens about child sex trafficking in the United States. In this role, Janai travels to schools & organizations implementing Y-ACT - which empowers & mobilizes youth to take a stand against child sexual exploitation. In addition, she raises awareness about the issue through presentations & workshops at various community venues & events.
Janai is passionate about gender equity, youth activism, and human rights. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Global Gender Studies.
Oumie has more than ten years of experience in the nonprofit and voluntary sector working for and with underserved groups and communities. She is the co-founder of The Girls’ Agenda, a community youth organization. Through this organization, she campaigns for the rights of girls and young women in her country by demanding for investment in their education and reproductive health. Currently, Mrs. Sissokho focuses mostly on harmful cultural practices such as female genital mutilation, arranged and forced marriages that violate the rights and bodily integrity of women and girls. In addition, Oumie’s role at The Girls’ Agenda allows her to conduct capacity building programs on comprehensive sexuality education, life skills, and leadership development for adolescent girls. She also served in her country’s only alliance organization specifically on gender-based violence - the Network against Gender-Based Violence, in the Gambia. In that position, Oumie advocated for the elimination of violence against women and all forms of discrimination by targeting policy-makers and religious leaders. She also worked closely with young people to galvanize voices against gender-based violence.
Formerly, Mrs. Sissokho spent nine years, with the Nova Scotia Gambia Association, a nonprofit group that works on health promotion in schools and communities. During those years, she focused on adolescent development through peer education, mentorship and leadership skills transfer to keep vulnerable girls in school. Because of Oumie’s commitment to the advancement of the status of women and girls in her country, Women Deliver awarded her the “Global 100 Young Leaders Award” in 2012. Also, during her graduate program, she did a fellowship with the Carnegie Council for Ethics in Global Affairs where most of her researches were channeled on women’s human rights in global politics. Through these engagements, Oumie gained an extensive experience in initiating and managing health and reproductive rights projects in remote, poorer and under-served locations. She has a keen interest working for and with groups that empower girls through education and the elimination of all forms of degrading and harmful traditional practices.