Meet Our Staff
Magdaleno "Leno" Rose-Avila, Executive Director
Magdaleno Rose-Avila, more fondly known throughout the human rights community as Leno, is Executive Director of Witness to Innocence. Leno has a long history of civil and human rights work, which led him many years ago to become involved in the movement to abolish the death penalty. In 1998, Leno joined with Sister Helen Prejean, one of the founders of WTI, to develop and launch the Moratorium Initiative, which became one of the most effective strategies to reach out to politicians and the public on the issue of abolition. While working for Amnesty International in Atlanta, he organized the largest meeting of national leaders in the African American Community on the death penalty, including Coretta Scott King, Reverend Joe Lowery, the National Black Police Association, Congressman John Conyers, and many others. He also worked with Cesar Chavez and other leaders of the historic United Farm Workers Union.
Stefanie Anderson, Director of Communications
Stefanie Anderson is the Director of Communications for Witness to Innocence. She first engaged with the abolition movement via her involvement with a local Amnesty International group in Seattle, WA in 2003. She became Washington State’s Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator, and then joined the board of the Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty in 2008, where she has served in several leadership roles. Witness to Innocence is her first professional work in the abolition movement, her most recent previous professional roles being in natural and specialty product sales. Other social justice issues she has engaged with are immigrants’ rights, Israel/Palestine, and food justice. She has studied philosophy, ethics, music, and nutrition.
Dr. Sandra Joy, Community Resources Coordinator
Dr. Sandra Joy is the Community Resources Coordinator for Witness to Innocence. Dr. Joy is also a professor in the Sociology Department at Rowan University, located in Glassboro, New Jersey. She has been on the faculty at Rowan since 2002, teaching courses such as Race & Crime and The Sociology of Death, Dying, & Bereavement. Dr. Joy is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a dozen years of experience as a mental health and substance abuse therapist. For more than two decades, whether Dr. Joy was working in the mental health field or within academia, she has maintained her work as a community activist. She has been an abolitionist in the anti-death penalty movement throughout this time and serves on the board of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty. Dr. Joy is the author of Coalition Building in the Anti-Death Penalty Movement: Privileged Morality, Race Realities (2010) and Grief, Loss, & Treatment for Death Row Families: Forgotten No More (2014).
Sasha Anemone, Business and Office Manager
Sasha Anemone is the Business and Office Manager for Witness to Innocence. She has a background in music education and educational non-profits, holistic healthcare, farming, horticulture, and food justice. Her engagement with other social justice issues including racial justice, police violence, and environmental justice stems from a deep commitment to interconnected health and healing on individual, community and environmental levels. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College in Ohio and is a yoga teacher committed to cultivating and teaching nonviolent practices.
Terry Rumsey, Grants Manager
Terry Rumsey, president of Green Seeds Grants Company, has served as the grants manager and as a fundraising consultant for Witness to Innocence since 2005. Terry has helped WTI to raise more than $5 million in grant funds during that time. In addition to his fundraising role with Witness to Innocence, Terry served as the organization’s Interim Executive Director from March 1, 2011 through October 31, 2011. Terry also has a history of activism on the issue of death penalty abolition. He was the founder and first executive director of Pennsylvania Abolitionists United Against the Death Penalty, which continues to operate to this day under the name of Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Terry has worked for and with many different death penalty abolition and capital defense organizations over the last three decades, including the Atlantic Center for Capital Representation, Dead Man Walking School Theatre Project, Equal Justice USA, Maryland Citizens Against State Executions, Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation, National Death Row Assistance Network, New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, and the Pennsylvania Capital Representation Project.