The Adachi Project Shares Voices "From Inside" County Jail
In the second Commonwealth Club showcase of The Adachi Project, members of the San Francisco Public Defender's Office and its partners from Even/Odd Films and Compound will present their short film "From Inside" to amplify the voices and experiences of people who were inside San Francisco County Jail during the early days of the pandemic.
The Young Women's Freedom Center will also join the discussion about the trial delays that are keeping hundreds of people in jail past their deadlines, the ongoing conditions in the jails, and the impact that the prolonged pandemic is having on the accused, their families and justice in San Francisco.
Join us for this special online presentation, and have your questions ready for our panelists.
About the Speakers
Ilona Solomon grew up in Miami, Florida, attended Tufts University for her B.A. in history before jumping on an airplane to San Francisco, where she had no job and no place to live, landing on a college roommate’s futon. Ilona had some odd jobs, including waitressing and temp work as an administrative assistant before landing her first real job as a paralegal for an immigration law office assisting clients with asylum applications. After six months of a hostile work environment, Ilona left and became a paralegal at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office in the juvenile unit, where she fell in love with public defense, despite a brief flirtation with social work. After four years, she left to attend UC Hastings to get her J.D. and pursue her life’s passion—fighting it out in court for the indigent, mostly POC, she represents today. After graduating in 2013, she had a post-bar clerkship at the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office and remained as a misdemeanor lawyer thereafter, until 2015, when her mentor and hero, the late Jeff Adachi, reached out and asked her to return to San Francisco, this time as an attorney. She is now a felony trial lawyer with 42 jury trials worth of experience, including her first homicide trial, which recently concluded.
Mano Raju is the public defender of San Francisco, whose office founded the Adachi Project in partnership with Compound and Even/Odd. He completed his undergraduate work at Columbia, holds a Master’s degree in South Asian Studies from U.C. Berkeley, and earned his law degree at U.C. Berkeley Law. After beginning his public defender career as a deputy public defender in Contra Costa County, he joined the San Francisco office in 2008 as a line deputy and went on to become the Training Director and then the Felony Manager. Known as a fierce litigator, Mano has lectured on winning homicide cases, winning gang cases, and race-conscious representation. He believes in the importance of client connection through fam-based representation and holistic community-based empowerment strategies.
Carolyn Ji Jong Goossen is the San Francisco policy director with the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office and a leading member of the Adachi Project. She has extensive experience fighting for criminal justice systems change, LGBT rights and immigrant rights. In her current role, she works to harness the power of the press and community organizing to win tangible changes for public defender clients, their families and communities. Prior to working for the public defender, she was chief of staff to Supervisor Hillary Ronen on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, where she helped draft legislation to create Mental Health SF and to close San Francisco’s Juvenile Hall. She is a queer mother of two and the daughter of immigrants.
Santhosh Daniel, a founding partner of The Adachi Project, is a writer, producer and creative communications strategist specializing in arts, media and impact initiatives. He is founder of the creative strategies group Compound and co-founder of First Kitchen Media, a media equity initiative with original documentary productions in food. His most recent work includes "Open Account," a podcast produced with Slate Group Studies featuring personal stories about money; and "Bloodline," a short film currently airing on PBS about the generational impact of war on family and food culture. Daniel’s professional experience includes The Global Film Initiative and work with the Smithsonian, Medium, Virgin America, Umpqua Bank, Oakland Museum of California, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and U.S. Department of State, and he has served on the Board of Directors of California Humanities and currently serves on the board of Found Sound Nation, a music innovation and diplomacy organization. He has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington and a M.F.A. in English from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Mohammad Gorjestani, a Founding Partner of The Adachi Project, is an Iranian born filmmaker and creative director who grew up in the underbelly of Silicon Valley. His films have earned recognition including the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW, The Tribeca “X” Award, 6 Webby Awards, and Vimeo "Video of the Year." He is a founder of the creative studio Even/Odd.
Born in San Francisco, Julia Arroyo is the second generation born stateside in the United States and is of Mexican/Filipino descent and identifies as Xicana. This work is personal to her having had involvement in the underground street economy, foster care, and incarceration. She has transformed her life and has more than a decade of experience committed to supporting marginalized girls to break free from systemic and interpersonal violence. She is currently majoring in women's studies at San Francisco City College, and has a background in community health, rape crisis, and work with sexually exploited youth. Julia advocates for the decriminalization of girls, and believes it is the job of everyone to create environments for them to grow and lead the next generation. Julia is currently the managing director at the Young Women’s Freedom Center.
See more upcoming Michelle Meow Show programs at The Commonwealth Club, and audio and video from past programs.
Main image: Still from "From Inside," used by permission.