Zosia Sztykowski is a DC-based community organizer and educator working on issues of sexual violence prevention, particularly in public and urban spaces. She has worked with CASS for four years, becoming the organization’s first ever paid employee in late 2013. Her work to engage her community in anti-harassment activism has been covered by the Washington Post, Slate, and NPR. As the Co-Executive Director of CASS, she is responsible for managing the organization’s programs, overseeing its development, and working with our supporters and other stakeholders to determine strategy. Zosia earned her Bachelor’s degree in political science at Tufts University, where she researched urban areas around the world and reported on local politics for the school’s daily newspaper. In June 2011, fed up by the sense that issues of street harassment in DC were being ignored by all but a small group of people, she organized a group of women and men to march in an awareness-raising action against it. She has dedicated her career to creating a vision for a community in which people of all backgrounds, gender expressions, and identities can feel safe occupying public spaces.
Policy Team Member
Emily has a background in reproductive justice advocacy and has worked at various local agencies including two abortion funds, Whitman-Walker Health and Falls Church Healthcare Center (FCHC), a full-spectrum gynecology clinic in Virginia. While at FCHC she helped low-income clients access abortion funding resources, conducted political outreach efforts and oversaw the first abortion doula support program in the DC area. Emily completed her undergraduate degree in Women’s Studies at American University and her Master of Social Work degree in 2015 at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice. As a social worker Emily is interested in the intersections of direct practice and policy development and specializes in community organizing, advocacy and trauma-informed community interventions. She is excited to work with CASS to expand their anti-racism efforts, client-centered community organizing and advocacy initiatives and policies addressing the specific violence facing transgender and gender non-conforming people.
Aside from her feminist activism, Emily loves to spend time with family and friends, her cat and her partner, Adam, who is also a social worker.
Policy Team Member
Jayni Rasmussen is thrilled to bring her years of experience in policy, advocacy, and outreach to continue CASS’ inspiring work to educate and hold DC community leaders accountable for making the city a safe, accessible place to live for everyone. Jayni currently serves as the Advocacy and Outreach Specialist for the National Recreation and Park Association, an organization made up of park and recreation professionals and citizen advocates representing public spaces in urban areas, rural settings, and everything in between. Jayni is excited to utilize her experience advocating toward nationwide social equity in parks and open spaces toward creating safer public spaces here in DC. Previously, Jayni worked in policy and advocacy for Ocean Conservancy. Originally from Cleveland, Jayni earned her B.A. from Kent State University, where she worked for the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, working on issues such as legislation that would have protected victims of crimes like sexual assault and domestic violence in Ohio to remove their addresses from public record. The bill failed to move before the end of session, although the General Assembly did make time to declare the bull frog the official state frog of Ohio. This frustrating experience will serve as daily inspiration while working with decision makers to remind them that policy solutions for public sexual assault and harassment cannot wait. In her spare time, Jayni is a volunteer case manager for the DC Abortion Fund and can often be found exploring the city on her trusty bike or enjoying a park.
CLAIRE S. GOULD
Claire is a passionate advocate for social and economic justice who believes communication can be a catalyst for real change in the world. She started her professional career at Burness, a mission-driven communications firm that provides support to nonprofits and foundations worldwide. From 2013-2015, she was the senior communications associate at Catholics for Choice, a nonprofit at the forefront of national and international debates on the intersection of faith, women’s health, and reproductive justice. She currently works as an Account Manager at Fifth Estate Communications, helping a diverse range of government and nonprofit clients make change. Outside of her day job, Claire regularly volunteers for causes she believes in including Collective Action for Safe Spaces, the D.C. Abortion Fund, and Year Up, and recently served on the executive committee for the Women’s Information Network (WIN).
Claire received her B.A. in English and religious studies with a minor in art from Connecticut College and is currently pursuing a M.A. in strategic communications from Johns Hopkins University. She earned a copyediting certificate from the University of California — San Diego.
Follow Claire at @clairesgould.
Social Media Manager
Tired of feeling vulnerable while walking the streets of DC, Rudhdi joined the CASS team in the summer of 2015 hoping to raise awareness and fight back against sexual harassment in public spaces. She leads CASS’ social media efforts, writing content, pitching the press, sharing stories, and looking for ways to engage with new audiences via social media. In her other life, Rudhdi serves as a Communications Coordinator for the Beyond Coal campaign at the Sierra Club, working to move the country beyond dirty fuels to clean energy sources. Rudhdi graduated from the University of Virginia with degrees in both Politics and South Asian Studies and a minor in French. When she takes a break from fighting for progressive causes, she can be found doing yoga and playing with other people’s dogs. Follow Rudhdi on Twitter @roodysays.
Originally from Shelby, North Carolina, Warner was born with a love to listen to people’s stories and understand how to best create dialogues through the power of words, most evident when she formed a feminist poetry band with other women in college. She has built a career out of focusing on both women’s and LGBTQ advocacy issues, especially in rural areas, and her passion for these certainly come alive when working with CASS. She has worked within communications and community organizing since 2008 with a keen interest on fusing digital and field organizing. She has served on communications teams at Amnesty International and Campaign for Southern Equality while also having designed and implemented campaigns for Neighbors for Equality, an initiative focusing on creating safer spaces in rural North Carolina for the LGBTQ community.
She holds a M.A. in English (Composition and Rhetoric) from The University of Alabama, and while there researched the dynamics between digital composition and social change, and she has also taught college English at several higher education institutions. Her research has been presented at the College Conference on Composition and Communication, Southern Political Science Association, and Southeastern Women’s Studies Association.
Workshops Team Member
Krystal first joined CASS as a member of the Fundraising Advisory Committee and later joined the Workshop team, transcreating the curriculum into Spanish.
Krystal is the co-founder of CommunityRED, a non-profit/start-up with the mission to improve the digital security of human rights defenders and reporters in conflict zones. She also supports the amplification of voices and stories of Latina entrepreneurs and leaders through her @ComadresCode project.
Previously, as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador, she worked with small business owners to found a regional tourism association, to increase business skills and sustainable tourism practices.Before that she worked as an online journalist in East Jerusalem and the West Bank reporting on Human Rights abuses.
Krystal graduated with a Masters Degree in International Administration from The University Denver – Korbel School of International Studies. She also holds a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from The University of Iowa.
Cecilia brings to CASS over ten years of experience as a community based-advocate for survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence. Her bilingual and bicultural background has guided her passion for social justice work that challenges gender-based violence and poverty, and uplifts immigrant families. She has worked alongside adult and youth survivors in Washington, D.C. and the Greater Boston area addressing their legal, social, heath, and healing needs. Today, Cecilia is the Program Coordinator for the Healthy Relationships Program at the Latin American Youth Center offering an array of support services for youth survivors of violence including crisis intervention and safety planning, survivor advocacy, and youth group facilitation. Cecilia has a B.A. from Tufts University in Massachusetts. She’s new to the CASS volunteer team and eager to engage in community empowerment and activism against public sexual harassment through CASS’s workshops and trainings!
Workshops Team Member
Kris is an international development specialist with over six years of experience working in international non-profits managing projects to strengthen individuals and their communities through socioeconomic empowerment. Kris was born in DC, but grew up in Latin America. She began her undergraduate degree in International Studies in Ecuador before moving back to DC to complete her degree at American University. Since graduation, she has managed projects that provide training and technical assistance to civil society groups advocating for basic human rights in Latin America, with a particular focus on women’s rights. This work furthered her interest in working with local community members on the issue of sexual violence, which led her to volunteering with the DC Rape Crisis Center and, subsequently, CASS, where she co-facilitated the first bilingual CASS street harassment 101 workshop. Kris is excited to continue supporting CASS and conducting these powerful workshops with community members.
Chai Shenoy co-founded Collective Action for Safe Space, originally called HollaBackDC!, in April 2009. On behalf of CASS, she’s appeared in several media outlets, including ABC7, FOX5, WTOP. She was also featured in Washington Post, Huffington Post, Mother Jones, and several blogs. By trade, Chai is an attorney who has represented sexual assault survivors in court and at educational hearings. She is also an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Women’s Studies program, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on gender-based violence.
Chai’s worked in several non-profit organizations, including WEAVE, Break the Cycle, and Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. In addition to the non-profit world, Chai worked at a political office, as the Domestic Violence Policy Analyst at the Manhattan Borough President’s Office. During her time there, Chai authored Hidden in Plain Sight: Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault in the New York City Subways, a report that studied the prevalence of sexual violence occurring in New York City subways trains and stations. The report garnered international media attention prompting NYC’s Metropolitan Transit Authority to issue public service advertisements encouraging people to report sexual assault or sexual harassment to appropriate parties. Chai received her B.A. at UCLA and her J.D. at American University, Washington College of Law.
For the last five years, Shannon has worked with nonprofits and public health agencies on women’s empowerment, women’s health, and ending gender-based violence. She currently serves as Program Manager for Empowering Women International (EWI). Prior to joining EWI, Shannon served as the Program Director of the Younger Women’s Task Force under the National Council of Women’s Organizations, where she worked with younger women across the U.S. to develop leadership trainings and raise awareness about the issues affecting women in their 20s and 30s. In 2007, Shannon worked at PR Solutions, an organization that develops strategies to help nonprofit advocacy groups educate the public. Shannon holds a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. She was featured as one of “Tomorrow’s Leaders” in the November 2008 issue of “O, The Oprah Magazine” and nominated for the “Young Woman of Achievement” award by WIN in 2009. Shannon has spoken at numerous conferences across the U.S. about women’s issues, women’s empowerment, and gender-based violence.