Jessica graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in History. She is a mom to one toddler and one cat. She tweets about motherhood, intersectional feminism, the need for affordable housing, and her daily encounters with catcallers at @thejessicaraven.
Interim Policy Director and Safe Bars Policy Manager
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.
Policy Team Member
Sarah is a feminist vegan and California transplant who, looking to get involved in DC activism, joined the CASS Policy Team in August 2016. She serves as a Public Benefits and Insurance Navigator on Whitman-Walker Health’s Legal Services team by day and anti-oppression blogger by night. Prior to joining Whitman-Walker, Sarah worked as an Executive Associate and Global Hotlines Fellow at Polaris, a leading anti-human trafficking organization. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in Diplomacy and World Affairs from Occidental College, where she completed her undergraduate thesis on the intersection of human rights theory and citizenship practices. Sarah can usually be found reading, cooking, and redefining her femininity through progressively shorter haircuts. Find her at www.feministvegan.com.
COMMUNICATIONS & DEVELOPMENT TEAM
CLAIRE S. GOULD
Claire is a passionate advocate for social and economic justice. 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 the D.C. Abortion Fund, the Make-a-Wish Foundation Mid-Atlantic, 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 a M.A. in strategic communications from the Johns Hopkins University. She also earned a copyediting certificate from the University of California — San Diego which mostly just makes her anxious about typos in her own writing.
Follow Claire at @clairesgould.
Development Director and Email Manager
Michela joined CASS’s Communications team in the summer of 2016 following a desire to have a positive change in the community. A recent graduate of The George Washington University with a B.A. in Women’s Studies and International Affairs, Michela is passionate about social justice, locally and around the world. Currently, she works with The National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association. As a GW student, Michela was a four-time Director/Producer of The Vagina Monologues, which raised over $4,400 for DC Rape Crisis Center and nearly $1,760 for HIPS during her tenure. Additionally, she served as Co-President of the Feminist Student Union and GW Voices for Choices. When she’s not contemplating structural inequality, Michela enjoys drinking diet coke, watching crime procedurals, and exploring her new neighborhood, Columbia Heights. A member of the Women’s Information Network, Michela also volunteers with DC Abortion Fund. Follow Michela on Twitter at @saymthreetimes.
Social Media Manager
Nic joined CASS in 2016 as a communications volunteer, moving on to become one of the social media managers in the fall. Nic brings experience from working in non-profit communications surrounding poverty alleviation, federal consulting, and women’s economic security. Nic manages CASS’s social media accounts and works to elevate the discussion on gender based violence in DC and beyond. He has lived in Washington DC for two years, but originally comes from Virginia Beach, VA. Nic studied political science and economics at the College of William and Mary and hopes to pursue a graduate degree in public policy in the future.
Social Media Manager
Melissa started volunteering with CASS in 2015 after testifying at a DC city council roundtable on street harassment and assault. As one of CASS’s social media managers, she is passionate about the role of storytelling and digital media in building progressive movements.
Melissa is a digital communications specialist at a management consulting firm, where she works on social media, email and web strategy. She started her career at Burness, a public interest communications firm, running policy advocacy campaigns for foundations and nonprofits in health equity and violence prevention.
When she’s not organizing fierce allies online or wrangling donors for CASS’s annual fundraisers, Melissa can be found volunteering with rescue dogs, watching college basketball or hanging out on her yoga mat. She is a native of Singapore and studied public policy at Duke University. Follow her on Twitter at @myeo3.
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
Rachele is native to Washington, DC and a whole Mom to 2 imaginative boys. Long bothered by the idea of circumventing street harassment in her own neighborhood, she is honored to be a part of the CASS team.
In addition to facilitating harassment workshops with CASS, Rachele is a volunteer supporter of Sheldon For DC creative arts campaign. As a homemaker, she created the Project Suite (www.ProjectSuiteVA.com) to design websites donating 5% of profits to support warriors of domestic abuse. She also hosts Suite Birth Doula Services (www.SuiteBirth.com) to support women through healthy natural childbirth. Prior, Rachele worked as a Nanny/ Governess to private families in Northern Virginia. She taught Elementary School and JHS Latin for English Grammar in Temple Hills, MD. She also worked as a school administrator and temporary Administrative Assistant for various corporations in DC, Indiana, and North Carolina throughout college.
Rachele studied Family & Consumer Science at Ball State University in Muncie, IN. She has since studied Web Design, Online Business Marketing, ReiKi, and trained as a Birth Arts Doula, Sacred Pregnancy Postpartum Doula, and HypnoBirthing Practitioner. Rachele loves creative arts, figure skating, and tea.
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.
HEALTHY MASCULINITIES TEAM
Healthy Masculinities Team Member
I’m excited to join CASS as part of their Healthy Masculinities team. After attending one of CASS’s bystander intervention trainings, I wanted to find more opportunities to support the wonderful work that CASS does. The Healthy Masculinities program was a draw for me because I want to go beyond being a bystander and be an active participant in building safe and health communities. I am looking forward to examining my own role in building safe spaces in my life and my community.
My background is in international development, having spent time working in countries such as Jordan, Kurdistan, Bangladesh, Mongolia, and Haiti. As a program coordinator for Simpson University’s international service program, I spent three years training students in cross-cultural skills. I moved to DC from the wonderful West Coast in 2015 to do a year of service through a local church. After interning with a social service agency, Samaritan Ministry, I was offered a full-time position with their case management team. I enjoy being from Oregon, drinking coffee, bicycling, good conversations, and exploring the world.
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.