John Gabree has 45 years experience as a writer, producer and host in radio, television and live theater, beginning with a stint as Boston's leading "morning man" on WBCN in the mid-1960s. Among other television shows, he wrote and co-produced Soul Session: James Brown & Friends…with Special Guest Aretha Franklin, one of the most successful music specials in tv history, for HBO. He covered media for the Los Angeles Times, had a widely followed newsletter reporting on "new media" during the Internet's boom years, and for nearly 20 years was the Sunday book columnist for Newsday. He was articles editor of Playboy, and editorial director of Penthouse, and has authored books, including a history of rock and roll, a study of gangster movies, and a textbook on the relationship between the design professions and the social sciences. He was also a special ed teacher in Los Angeles for five years. John’s work with the California Justice Party includes blogging, tweeting and moderating community forums.
Annie Goeke has been a leader in the Greens movement worldwide for over two decades. As co-director of Earth Rights Institute, she has been providing a unique green program in which her principal role is to develop, design and provide a holistic strategy with sustainable concepts and policies for social enterprises and community development. She is presently working with Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and more. Her new consultancy business for sustainable development worldwide promotes community-based models for development to address climate change, poverty, environmental degradation, former conflict regions and more.
MELVIN ISHMAEL JOHNSON
Melvin Ishmael Johnson is the Artistic Director of Dramastage-Qumran, a Recovery Theater Workshop located in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles that provides affordable theater to the downtown community relating to issues such as homelessness, substance abuse and the needs of veterans, women, children and families.
Vanda Mikoloski grew up in West Boylston, Massachusetts, a privileged, suburban princess. She remembers lying in a field with her big brother, marveling about the concept of infinity and the magnificence of all of creation. It seemed like no one knew any real answers for sure, and worse, they pretended they did. She began to doubt everything authoritative people said. She fell in love with yoga and became a yoga and meditation teacher for the Dixie Chicks on their "Fly" tour. Her major plan in life is to take risks even though they are scary, and keep her heart open and soft (like a good chocolate truffle), and to demonstrate what it's like to be free and funny.
Michael Needham is the father of John Needham, who received an Army Commendation Medal for actions to save his comrades, and a Purple Heart for combat injuries suffered in Iraq. John later attempted to commit suicide as a result of severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Instead of receiving treatment, John was held in solitary confinement, deprived of food and threatened by his commanders. He died in February of 2010 from complications related to his medical care. His father also served in the Army, and now advises the Justice Party on issues related to veterans.
Jeff Norman is the founder and director of The Veterans Project, a nonprofit group that helps military veterans adjust to civilian life. A former stand-up comedian and hidden-camera prankster (NBC’s “Spy TV,” Fox’s “Invasion of the Hidden Cameras,” the Sci Fi Channel’s “Scare Tactics”), Jeff nowadays blogs about legal issues for The Huffington Post and Call of Justice. He serves as a strategist and organizer for the mighty Justice Party of California, and is currently focusing on the effort to attract the 103,000 registrants needed for the party to be on the ballot in November.
ERNEST SHEPARD III
Ernest (Big Ern) Shepard III springs from a network of grassroots organizations called Liberated Lifers -- guys who “give back” by applying their skills to the betterment of society. After spending 45 years (starting on Death Row) behind prison walls, Ernest was released less than a year ago, and immediately became involved in the community by doing work as a boxer-trainer, fitness instructor, big brother and mentor to at-risk teens in the South-Central LA area. He’s a certified paralegal and the first black to represent himself (pro per) in a capital case in the state of California. Ernest is a tireless advocate for the successful re-entry of former prisoners, and is dedicated to creating viable alternatives for incarceration itself.