Kristina (they/them) is an Ethiopian and European lifetime resident of Snohomish County in Washington State. They are a parent to 5 amazingly energized birth children and a caregiver to other members of their family. They love spending time with their family and friends, getting lost in a good TV series and doing things that bring them healing and growth.
They hold a Master’s degree in Policy Studies from the University of Washington Bothell where they also studied Society, Ethics and Human Behavior as an undergrad with a minor in Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies.
In 2017, they founded Participatory Justice, a grassroots media justice group that focuses on participatory defense and restorative and transformative practices to work with families of incarcerated loved ones or the individuals themselves that are navigating legal systems. They started this organization because of their own lived experiences navigating the criminal legal and child welfare system, and as a loved one with justice involved family members. They knew how isolating this experience was and have worked to make a change in their own community to support others and impact the oppressive and inequitable policies and conditions that contribute to people’s involvement in these systems in the first place. In 2020, Kristina partnered with other survivors to start the Survivors Justice Coalition, and work with Representative Tarra Simmons- also a JLUSA LwC Alumni, to introduce a bill in WA State that would reduce harsh sentences for survivors and provide alternatives to incarceration. The coalition continues to build deep relationships with survivors inside and out of prisons so they can build out robust legislation that will impact the most marginalized people.
They also currently work as a contracted Social Service Worker with the Washington State Office of Public Defense; working with parents in the dependency court system to reach their desired outcome. Prior to this, they served their community for 8 years as a parent ally; also working with parents in the dependency court system. Kristina also serves on several boards and commissions in her community and state, and as a consultant with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
Kristina’s purpose is to disrupt systems of oppression, racism and violence built from white supremacy and patriarchy, and to work towards justice that recognizes people as whole humans. Their experiences as a survivor of violence and being directly impacted by the legal system has motivated them to utilize the power of communities to work towards collective liberation, healing and wellness.