Our dedicated volunteer board members serve on both Safety and Justice Oregon and Safety and Justice PAC boards of directors. They help guide our vision with extraordinary passion and professional expertise. They inspire us every day, and we’re deeply grateful for all they bring to our work.
Iris Maria Chávez (she/her/ella)
Iris Maria is a state and national education advocate and public affairs consultant who’s committed to advancing equity by supporting sound, just policies that better communities. She came to the Pacific Northwest from Washington, D.C., where she worked for over a decade in education policy, civil rights, and advocacy for organizations such as the Education Trust and the League of United Latin American Citizens. She also has expansive volunteer experience in community engagement, equity, and enriching local neighborhoods’ quality of life. Iris Maria earned a BA from Tulane University and an MA in Social Policy from the University of Chicago.
Felisa Hagins is the Political Director of the Service Employees International Union Local 49 (SEIU 49), representing 13,000 workers on issues that include health care reform and worker’s rights. She has a rich history of serving on the boards of health- and equity-related organizations where she exercises her commitment to health care reform and access to quality, affordable care for all Oregonians. Felisa also has years of electoral work experience on presidential campaigns, state legislative campaigns, and local governments in several states. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon where she studied history, Japanese, and English while gaining a passion for social justice and civic life that she carries forward in her work today.
Dana Hepper (she/her)
Dana works for the Children’s Institute where she has been the Director of Policy & Program since 2013. She previously worked for nine years at Stand for Children, where her most recent position was as National Director of Policy Development. Before that, she was Stand’s Advocacy Director and played a leading role in winning several key pieces of legislation to improve Oregon schools. Dana started her career as a pre-K and elementary school teacher. She graduated Barnard College with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Elementary Education.
Emma Kallaway (she/her), Board Secretary Treasurer
Emma is a Senior Consultant at Kinetic West. Prior to joining Kinetic West, Emma was the Government Relations Director at Portland Community College, Oregon’s largest higher education institution focused on equitable student success. Emma has a MBA with an emphasis in public policy and brings years of campaign experience to her Safety & Justice Oregon board role. In her free, time Emma can be found cooking with family or enjoying the outdoors.
Robyn Steely (Robyn/her)
Robyn is a trainer, facilitator, and organizational consultant for social change, advocacy, and mission-based organizations. She previously worked electoral politics, issue advocacy, and the labor movement and served as Executive Director of Write Around Portland for 10 years. Robyn is a weekly volunteer at VOA’s Men’s Residential Center, an addiction treatment facility for men in the criminal justice system. She holds a degree in African-American studies from Washington University in St. Louis.
Arthur Towers (he/him)
Arthur Towers has been working on issues of civil and economic justice since 1981. He is the Political Director for the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association where he is dedicated to preserving the civil rights of victims of elder abuse, child abuse, and sex abuse, as well as the seriously injured. Prior to that, he spent 14 years helping to lead the political program of the Service Employees International Union in Oregon focusing on the struggle for justice of low-wage working women and on health care reform. He joined our board in 2016 because of his commitment to the work that needs to be done at the intersection of poverty, health care, and mass incarceration. In his spare time, Arthur spends time with his wife Renee and their five grandchildren.
Ricardo Lujan Valerio (he/him)
Ricardo is the Director of Government Affairs and Special Projects at Western Oregon University. His policy background is in immigration, education, election, and criminal justice. Ricardo has served as Director of Advocacy at Latino Network, Policy Associate for the ACLU of Oregon, and Legislative Director for the Oregon Student Association. He has been a leader in passing various state legislative priorities, including Driver Licenses for All (HB 2015) and Youth Sentencing Reform (SB 1008). More recently, he was a co-architect of the Oregon Worker Relief Fund, a multi-million-dollar disaster relief program for Oregon’s immigrant community. Ricardo was born in Netzahualcóyotl, Mexico, and graduated from Southern Oregon University with a BS in Business and a certificate in nonprofit management.
Lamar Wise (he/him), Board Chair
Lamar is the Political Coordinator of Oregon AFSCME. In his earlier leadership roles at the Oregon Student Association, he was successful in passing all six of their 2017 priority legislative proposals, including the End Profiling bill, which Partnership for Safety and Justice strongly supported; the new law fortified existing anti-profiling laws and reduced the charges that can be made against people in possession amounts of small amounts of drugs. During the same legislative year, Lamar also helped secure an additional $100 million from the state budget toward higher education, thus preventing debilitating tuition hikes that leave college graduates with a lifetime of debt. He majored in political science at the University of Oregon, and he joined our board in 2017.
Aisling Coghlan (she/her)