Tonya Harris

Tonya Harris, Executive DirectorTonya Harris, Executive Director 

Tonya Harris is the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV). A lifelong resident of Rhode Island, Tonya has decades of experience working to empower others, build relationships, and bring people together. She believes that diversity is our strength and that being kind and patient with one another is essential to creating a culture of respect. Prior to joining the RICADV, Tonya served as the executive director of the Center for Mediation & Collaboration RI. She also held leadership roles at the Providence Black Repertory Company, the Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) of Rhode Island, and the YMCA of Greater Providence. Earlier in her career, Tonya served as an officer of the Providence Police Department for twenty years, and she holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Roger Williams University. An experienced mediator and conflict resolution trainer, she has used her skills to train police officers and public officials in South Africa and throughout RI. Tonya has an entrepreneurial spirit and embraces change, innovation, and continuous movement. She is devoted to family, is the proud mother of four children, and loves her granddaughter with all her heart. In her free time, Tonya enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her loved ones building lasting memories.

Brittany Ballantyne

brittanyjpgBrittany Ballantyne, Communications Manager 

Brittany serves as the Communications Manager at the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV). She works to strengthen media relations, community engagement, and public awareness through helping others tell their stories. Prior to joining the RICADV team, Brittany’s passion for justice fueled her career as a reporter/photographer for The Valley Breeze Newspapers, and later her role serving public schools and educational nonprofits as a communications director at Martin & Associates. She served as a volunteer for Intsikelelo in 2013, a nonprofit in South Africa empowering communities - an organization she holds close to her heart. Brittany, a Rhode Island native, holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Keene State College in Keene, N.H. She loves live music, exploring the outdoors, and taking photos of her family and friends.

Lee Clasper-Torch

Lee Clasper-Torch, Men's Engagement CoordinatorLee Clasper-Torch, Men's Engagement Coordinator

Lee Clasper-Torch served on the faculty of the Moses Brown School (Providence, RI) for 25 years in the Humanities Department, teaching courses in comparative world religions, philosophy, and ethics. Lee is currently working as the Men’s Engagement Coordinator for Ten Men, a project of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV). He is also currently an adjunct Professor of Philosophy of Religion at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI). Lee completed his undergraduate work in Comparative Religious Studies at the College of Wooster (OH) and received his Master of Divinity degree from the Pacific School of Religion (of the Graduate Theological Union) in Berkeley, CA. He sits on the Advocacy and Justice Commission of the Rhode Island State Council of Churches and has been speaking and leading classes/workshops in a variety of settings on the topics of comparative religion, philosophy, spirituality, and social action. Lee's study, teaching, travel, and life-journey have long involved both a concern for contemplative practice and active participation in peace, social justice, and human rights work.

Sara Eckhoff

Sara Eckhoff, Law Enforcement Training Coordinator Sara Eckhoff, Law Enforcement Training Coordinator

Sara Eckhoff is the Law Enforcement Training Coordinator at the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV). Working alongside the chair of the Violence Against Women Act Law Enforcement Training Committee, Sara works to research, develop, and coordinate educational opportunities on topics related to sexual and domestic violence for law enforcement and other criminal justice professionals throughout Rhode Island. Prior to starting her work at RICADV, Sara worked as Advocacy Coordinator at Day One, a sexual assault and trauma resource center in Providence, where she provided advocacy services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and hate crimes. Additionally, she has served as a Law Enforcement Advocate, assisting survivors of violence through the criminal justice process at four police departments in Southern Rhode Island. Sara holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Rhode Island and a Master of Arts in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She is passionate about social justice and hopes that by using an anti-oppression lens in her work, she can have a positive impact on her beloved community. Sara loves pizza, books about body liberation, spending time with her friends and family, especially her niece and nephew, and spoiling her 30-year old box turtle, Shelby.

Elissa Franklin

elissaElissa Franklin, SOAR Coordinator

Elissa May Franklin is the SOAR (Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships) Coordinator at the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV). The SOAR Task Force is a survivor-led task force with a mission to promote, advocate for, and work towards the elimination of domestic violence and to embody and give visibility to the voices of survivors of domestic violence. Prior to joining the team at RICADV, Elissa coordinated volunteers, including a survivor speakers’ bureau, and provided counseling and advocacy to survivors of sexual violence in Massachusetts. She is passionate about empowerment and equity for survivors of violence, and hopes to bring about just and positive changes for communities in Rhode Island. Elissa served as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Charlottesville, Virginia at a youth mentoring agency after graduating from Lesley University in 2013, and will soon complete her Master’s in macro Social Work from Boston University. Elissa loves her family, animals, and music, and in her spare time, enjoys exploring new places, going to farmers’ markets, spending time near the ocean, hiking, and trying new recipes. 

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Ian Colomer

Ian Colomer, Policy SpecialistIan Colomer, Policy Associate

Ian Colomer is the Policy Specialist at the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV). Ian joined the RICADV team in 2016, shortly after graduating from Roger Williams University (RWU) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a concentration in Anthropology and Sociology. In his current role, Ian oversees the organization’s data collection system EmpowerDB and provides technical assistance to the RICADV’s member agencies and staff. During the state legislative session each year, Ian supports the RICADV’s policy agenda, which includes monitoring legislation, creating fact sheets, and conducting advocacy at the State House. Ian’s passion for social justice began during his undergrad years, when he participated in the creation of the Diversity Leadership Program (now the P.E.A.C.E. Program) at RWU. The program focused on mentoring underrepresented groups in their first year at university and developing programs based on inclusivity and equity. Ian finds his downtime filled with listening to and discovering new music, as well as watching anime and TV shows like The Office.

Krista D'Amico

Krista D'Amico, Director of PreventionKrista D'Amico, Public Education & Outreach Manager

Krista D'Amico is the Director of Prevention at the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV). A native Rhode Islander, Krista has been part of the RICADV team since 2013, two years after graduating from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Communications. In her current role, Krista coordinates local and statewide activities for the prevention of intimate partner violence, overseeing the organization’s prevention initiatives and related training. Krista is a voracious reader, researcher, and lifelong learner, with a love for nature, animals, and art in all its forms. She lives in Warwick with her boyfriend Ricky and, in her free time, enjoys trying out new recipes, watching movies, and playing saxophone.

Brandi Gbemisola

Brandi Gbemisola, Community Engagement SpecialistBrandi Gbemisola, Community Engagement Specialist

Brandi Gbemisola is the Community Engagement Specialist at the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV). She is responsible for developing and implementing the Training Calendar, as well as building and strengthening community collaborations. Prior to joining the RICADV, Brandi was the Volunteer Coordinator for the Domestic Violence Program of Crossroads RI. Brandi also served as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) member for two years within the Rhode Island community. Brandi loves exploring the world to eat delicious delicacies. She loves to dive into new worlds through reading, watching movies, and playing video games. Sometimes, she likes to create her own through writing. She is an alumna of Rhode Island College, where she holds a Bachelor's Degree in Communications. She also received her Master's Degree in Higher Education Administration from Southern New Hampshire University. In her free time, Brandi enjoys volunteering at local organizations throughout the state.

Ezra Guay

Ezra Guay, Administrative AssistantEzra Guay, Administrative Assistant

Ezra Guay is the Administrative Assistant of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV). They work with the Administrative and Finance teams to ensure smooth communication between the RICADV and our grant partners at the Department of Human Services, Supreme Court, DCYF, and others. Ezra is currently pursuing a degree in Accounting to further their strengths and develop new skills. Beyond administrative activities, Ezra provides graphic design support and technical troubleshooting. Prior to joining the RICADV, they acted as Office Manager at their family’s business in Richmond, VA. Outside of work, they play tennis, make stained glass, weave, and seek out artistic justifications to use more power tools.

Carmen Recalde-Russo

Carmen Recalde-Russo, Director of Community EngagementCarmen Recalde-Russo, Director of Community Engagement and Communications

Carmen Recalde-Russo is the Director of Community Engagement for the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV). She joined the RICADV in 2007. Prior to joining the organization, Carmen worked for Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, a RICADV member agency, as the Latino Advocate. Carmen holds a law degree in Paraguay, South America, her country of origin. In Paraguay, she represented victims of domestic violence in family court cases and also represented and provided legal assistance to worker and farmer cooperatives.

Lucy Rios

Lucy Rios, Deputy DirectorLucy Rios, Director of Prevention & Communications

Lucy Rios is the Deputy Director for the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV). At the RICADV, Lucy facilitates trainings for advocates, criminal justice personnel, service providers, and other allied professionals on the dynamics of domestic violence and related topics, such as children who witness and teen dating violence prevention. Since 2003, Lucy has been coordinating Rhode Island’s Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancement Leadership through Alliances (DELTA) Project funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Through DELTA, Lucy provides technical assistance to state and community stakeholders on the primary prevention of domestic violence and has led a statewide strategic planning process for primary prevention. Lucy also represents the RICADV on several statewide networks, including the Sexual Violence Prevention Steering Council and the Healthy Kids Rhode Island Coalition.

Cynthia Roberts

Cynthia Roberts, Empowerment EvaluatorCynthia Roberts, Empowerment Evaluator

Cynthia Roberts is the Empowerment Evaluator for all programs across the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV), with a primary focus leading evaluation planning and implementation for the RICADV’s federally- and locally-funded primary prevention strategies, particularly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-funded DELTA Impact project. Additionally, Cynthia provides empowerment evaluation support to the Newport Health Equity Zone and technical assistance to local, state, and national partnering organizations. Prior to joining the RICADV in 2014, she was evaluator for the RI Department of Health’s Statewide Tobacco Control Program. First trained in 1997 with the Program Evaluation and Research Group (PERG) at Lesley College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cynthia’s evolution as an evaluator has been shaped by organizational and community-based colleagues, formal and personal experiences designing and implementing educational environments, leading community organizing where she lives, and via her love and appreciation of nature and ongoing spiritual practices. She cherishes the quality time she spends with her husband, Jon, and son, Kai, as they provide a sense of balance to her tendency to be overly serious and focused. Cynthia earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of New Hampshire, a Master of Arts in Intercultural Relations from Lesley College, and a PhD in Behavioral Science from the University of Rhode Island. Cynthia counts her life experiences as a Peace Corps Volunteer, student at Goddard College, and member of the RICADV staff and Unitarian Universalist Association to be among the most critical shapers of her ever-evolving social justice-focused worldview.

John Wesley

John Wesley, Director of Policy and AdvocacyJohn Wesley, Director of Policy & Advocacy 

John Wesley is the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV), where he focuses on policy and systems advocacy related to domestic violence prevention and resiliency for survivors and children who witness violence. John received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Wesleyan University and a Juris Doctor degree from New England Law in Boston, where he represented juveniles and clients with mental health disabilities in legal clinics. After law school, John worked as a staff attorney for several years at the Hiscock Legal Aid Society in Syracuse, New York, representing victims of domestic violence and indigent clients in trial court and appeals. He enjoys spending time with his guitar and playing outside with his family (humans and one large fluffy dog). He also likes hiking, biking, and Rhode Island beaches!

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