Meet the Team | Not in Our Town

Meet the Team

   Staff  |   Board Members   |   Advisors


Staff and Consultants

Patrice O’Neill is a filmmaker, CEO of the Oakland-based non-profit strategic media company, The Working Group, and founder and co-director of Not In Our Town, a movement of people across the country working to build safe, inclusive communities for all.  For 25 years, O'Neill has fostered a network of “Not In Our Town” activists and helped lead screenings of her films and town hall meetings in hundreds of communities nationwide. (longer bio)

Pardeep Singh Kaleka is a leader and senior strategic advisor to Not In Our Town, He first became acquainted with NIOT when the production team came to film the story of the attack at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. His father and six other Sikhs were killed by a white supremacist. Pardeep joined NIOT in touring the country to show the film, Waking in Oak Creek, in 2014. In 2020, he became co-leader of our virtual conversation series, and in 2022 joined the leadership team Not In Our TownNIOT. As a first-generation immigrant from India, Pardeep has spent more than 25 years working in the fields of law enforcement, education, and social services, as well as assisting hate crime survivors across the United States with recovery. Pardeep is the author of "The Gift of Our Wounds" and also serves as a hate and violence prevention advisor with The Working Group and a de-radicalization trauma-focused clinical therapist with Parents4Peace

Denise Manjarrez-Renteria is the Operations and Administrative Manager for Not In Our Town. She is a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and former Neighborhood Engagement Coordinator at the Urban Ecology Center.

Eliza Veronda is the Administrative Assistant for NIOT. Eliza is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Data Analyst.  She is responsible for the support of our Executive Producer/CEO, Co-Directors and team of staff members.  Her experience includes working with the Stephen D. Bechtel Foundation as a Grants Administrator collaborating with many non-profit education, environment and effectiveness organizations to fund much needed public initiatives. Previously, she worked as a Manager of Healthcare Data Analysis for HealthNet, Inc. and an Employee Assistance Counselor for the Teamster Union helping to treat family members with mental health and substance abuse conditions. She holds a Master of Social Work from Arizona State University and a Master of Public Administration from New York University.
Charene Zalis, Linda Peckam and Lisa Frank are producers of Repairing the World: Stories From the Tree of Life  Jeremy Jue, a decades long contributor to Not In Our Town, was Associate Producer of the film, along with Emma Schwartz.
Past and present team members who have also contributed to The Working Group and Not In Our Town's films and website:

Rhian Miller ,Co-Founder of The Working Group,  is an independent documentary television and radio producer. Miller served over 25 years as the senior producer on the company’s award-winning national public television programs focusing on labor, civil and equal rights. Miller was a producer on the original Not In Our Town film, Not In Our Town II, When Hate Happens Here and Class Actions. Along with Patrice O’Neill, Miller helped develop the Not In Our Town program. Miller has served as a freelance producer on numerous NPR/PBS television and radio programs for over ten years, with specific community focus and local engagement aspects. Miller created and produces the Wonderland Radio Hour series, a community showcase of musicians, artists, historians and characters from along and around the Russian River and the My American Dreams television series presenting the lives and voices of undocumented youth seeking deportation relief and federal recognition through the Dream Act.

Kelly Whalen is an independent documentary film director and producer, and a Berkeley City College faculty member of the Multimedia Department, where she teach video arts. Kelly directed and produced the national Emmy-nominated documentary “Tulia, Texas” (PBS’ Independent Lens,) documenting a landmark civil rights case exposing racial injustices in America’s War on Drugs. Kelly was a producer for  Not In Our Town specials “Light in the Darkness,” and “The Fire Next Time,” (POV), and produced numerous regional episodes of the anti-violence storytelling project. She was a producer at  San Francisco's PBS/NPR affiliate KQED, where my team covered the region’s creative communities and beyond. Her producing and directing credits include “Rising from Ruin” (MSNBC’s Hurricane Katrina special,) “Policing the Force” (WNET’s Expose: America’s Investigative Reports,) and “Murder in St. Petersburg” (PBS FRONTLINE World.)
Erika Gosser, and Alicia Upano  were integral to the creation of Additional producers and contributors include Barbara Nishi, Diana Smith Emma Clune, Diana Calloway, Mimi Shum, Kate McLean, Heather Blackwell Gersh, Christina Corodimas, Kirthi Nath, and Sue Fishkoff; producer Adrienne Calo; and editors Anthony Lucero, Bob Laird, Matt Dibble, Andy Gersh, Jeremy Jue and Jill Strong. David Molina is responsible for some of the music featured in the videos on You can find David's music here. Additional music was provided by Music Orange and Dave Nelson of Outpost Studios. was built and designed by EchoDitto and their collaborators at Biro Creative. NIOT is in the process of creating a new version of this site in collaboration with Ben Johnson and Courtney Miller. 

Board of Directors

Frank Dukes is a mediator and facilitator who directed the Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN) at the University of Virginia (UVA) from 2000 to 2015 before stepping down to concentrate on his applied work. He also is founder of the University & Community Action for Racial Equity (UCARE), which addresses the university’s legacy of slavery, segregation and its impact on the wider community. He served on Charlottesville's Commission on Race, Memorials and Public Spaces, was on the design team leading community engagement for the forthcoming Memorial for Enslaved Laborers at UVA, and speaks frequently about the history and legacy of white supremacy at UVA and Virginia.

Grande Lum is the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Menlo College in Atherton, California. Prior to joining Menlo, he was Director of the Divided Community Project (DCP) at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Previously, Grande Lum was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2012 as the Director of the Community Relations Service (CRS), an agency within the Department of Justice. Before joining CRS, Grande Lum was a clinical professor at the University of California Hastings School of the Law, where he directed the Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. He is the author of The Negotiation Fieldbook (McGraw-Hill 2nd Edition, 2010); Tear Down the Wall: Be Your Own Mediator in Conflict (Optimality, 2013); and the forthcoming America’s Peacemakers: The Community Relations Service and Civil Rights (University of Missouri, 2020. Co-authored with Bertram Levine). He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Berkeley and a law degree from Harvard. Grande joined The Working Group / Not In Our Town board in May 2020.

Jacquelyn McCormick is Chief of Staff to Mayor Jesse Arreguin of Berkeley, CA. Jacquelyn is a community leader, devoted organizer and activist. In 2016, she joined newly elected Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin as his Senior Advisor and became his Chief of Staff in early 2019 following a career in architecture, project management and holding senior leadership positions in corporate facility management.  During 2017, right-wing extremists came to Berkeley almost a dozen times.  

In response to the tragedies of Charlottesville and in preparation for a similar demonstration in Berkeley, Jacquelyn organized the printing and distribution of over 50,000 signs in Berkeley and neighboring communities. These signs, still found in the windows of businesses and homes, bear the message that each community stands United Against Hate. This one-time effort has evolved into the United Against Hate movement, a growing regional week of action to build safe and inclusive communities that Jacquelyn co-chairs. Jacquelyn joined the The Working Group / Not in Our Town board in October 2019.

Patrice O’Neill is a founder of The Working Group/ Not In Our Town and serves as Director and Executive Producer for the non profit founded in 1988.  O’Neill has produced successful national PBS series for 20 years, and led a multi-platform approach that utilizes documentary film, social networking, and civic engagement to encourage dialogue and community action. O’Neill’s acclaimed Not In Our Town series set a new standard for public television impact, launching a dynamic national movement that uses film, social media, and grassroots organizing to connect people in the fight against intolerance.

Stephen Scaffidi has worked extensively in media research, marketing, public relations and local government, and is currently the co-host of the Scaffidi and Bilstad show, which airs from 12-3 p.m. every day on 620WTMJ in Milwaukee. He served as the mayor of Oak Creek, Wisconsin for 5 years, beginning in April of 2012. 4 months after his election, a gunman killed 6 people at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and he led a community response which is considered a model for communities dealing with mass shootings. As a project manager in Special Projects for the Nielsen Company, one of the largest media research firms in the world, he was involved in audience research for the major U.S. television networks, leading a team that identified and tested new research methods to extract viewing data from new viewing platforms like laptops, smartphones and PCs. He is the founder of Oak Creek Cares, a donor fund established by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, which raises money for programs which help to reduce violence in communities. He is also the author of the book, Six Minutes in August, which tells the story of the shooting in Oak Creek in 2012, and the incredible community response and recovery from that horrific event.

Adam Strom is the Director of Re-Imagining Migration. Throughout his career, Mr. Strom has connected the academy to classrooms and the community by using the latest scholarship to encourage learning about identity, bias, belonging, history, and the challenges and opportunities of civic engagement in our globalized world.  The resources developed under Strom’s direction have been used in tens of thousands of classrooms and experienced by millions of students around the world including Stories of Identity: Religion, Migration, and Belonging in a Changing World, What Do We Do with a Difference? France and The Debate Over Headscarves in Schools, Identity, and Belonging in a Changing Great Britain, and the viewer’s guide to I Learn America. Before joining the ReImagining Migration Project, Strom was the Director of Scholarship and Innovation at Facing History and Ourselves.

Marcia K Thompson is an attorney and law enforcement practitioner with over 20 years working in the criminal justice field. Marcia has served as an advisor to law enforcement organizations on civil rights and law enforcement issues for over 15 years. She has been an active member of the IACP Civil and Human Rights Committee for over 10 years. In addition, she has provided insight and guidance on timely and novel civil rights and human rights matters impacting law enforcement nationally, including bias-free policing, tasers, use of force, stop and frisk, constitutional policing, procedural justice, hate crimes, and affinity group protections. She has also served as General Counsel and advisor to the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) for many years. In both capacities, she provided a legal perspective and civil rights lens on law enforcement, community policing and criminal justice matters.

Eunice Ward  joined The Working Group / Not In Our Town board in June 2020 and she recently retired from her family law practice in Chicago, Nottage and Ward. For fourteen years Eunice served as board chair and board member of Project Kesher, a group of Jewish women from the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and countries of the former Soviet Union who work together to restore and promote Jewish values in the region and advance the status of women. Eunice was introduced to Not In Our Town when Project Kesher launched a Not In Our Town Tolerance program in Russia and Ukraine in 2007. She now resides in the Blue Ridge Mountains and volunteers with local social justice organizations.

Advisory Council 

Aman Ahuja is a founder of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of DataKind, a non-profit dedicated to helping NGOs and other organizations tackle data science problems. In his third year as chapter leader, Aman focused on developing processes and leadership structures that lead to successful, sustainable projects. With a background in engineering and physics, he worked for several years at a consulting firm that focused on content management systems, taking on roles as a project manager, business analyst, and data engineer.

Susan Bro Susan Bro is the mother of Heather Heyer, and a Co-Founder of the Heather Heyer Foundation (HHF). Susan launched the foundation to carry on the legacy of her daughter, Heather, who was murdered while standing up for social justice with her friends on August 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia. For 18 years, Susan was an educator with a specialty in Early Childhood education. Susan now works as the President of the Heather Heyer Foundation and Board Chair. Based on her daughter's adopted motto, "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention," Susan brings Heather's legacy alive by sharing a positive call to action to speak up and step out for social justice and civil rights through dialogue and understanding. 

Malissia Clinton is senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary of Aerospace, an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to the objective application of science and technology toward the solution of critical issues affecting the nation’s space program. There, she provides legal advice and counsel at the senior management level and manages corporate transactions of the board of trustees and its committees. Before joining Aerospace, Malissia worked for several years in the Office of General Counsel at Northrop Grumman. Prior to joining Northrop Grumman in 1998, she worked for the law firm of Tuttle and Taylor in Los Angeles. She began her career working summers during college as an analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency. Malissia received her BA from Arizona State University and her JD from Stanford Law School, where she was an editor for the Stanford Law Review. She serves on the boards of directors of the City of Hope Medical Center and the Arizona State University Alumni Association, and she formerly served on the board of the Constitutional Rights Foundation. Malissia lives with her husband, Ronald, and their three children in Manhattan Beach.

Ellen Hume is a journalist, teacher and civil society activist who works on the front lines of democracy around the world. Before moving to Budapest (2009-2016) where she mentored journalists and founded a project on Roma integration, she was research director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT (2008-9), and creator of the New England Ethnic Newswire (2007-2009). Hume’s analysis of why independent journalism hasn’t done well in post-Communist countries “Caught in the Middle: Central and Eastern European Journalism at a Crossroads”  was published in 2011 by the Center for International Media Assistance. Her earlier report “Media Missionaries” was the first comprehensive study of U.S. efforts to train foreign journalists, published in 2004 by the Knight Foundation. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the advisory aboard of the Center for International Media Assistance, the Center for Media, Data and Society at Central European University, and DIREKT36, a Hungarian investigative reporting group. An international journalism trainer since 1993, Hume also served on the board of Internews. Hume is also a founding member of the International Media Development Advisers which trouble-shoots media problems in challenging environments, working to help people develop their own versions of journalism and democracy.

Pardeep Singh Kaleka is the eldest son of Satwant Singh Kaleka – the president of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, who was gunned down during the attacks of August 5th, 2012. Pardeep grew up in Milwaukee and graduated from Marquette University. Being a former Milwaukee Police Officer and a current teacher in the inner city – Pardeep is no stranger to the never ending battle against racism, bigotry, and ignorance. He firmly believes that the lamp of knowledge and truth will outshine all the darkness in the world, and does his best to profess this through his work with Serve 2 Unite.

Arno Michaelis, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, was a leader of a worldwide racist skinhead organization, a reverend of a self-declared Racial Holy War, and lead singer of the hate-metal band Centurion, which sold 20,000 CDs by the mid-nineties and is still popular with racists today. Single parenthood, love for his daughter, and the forgiveness shown by people he once hated all helped to turn Arno's life around, bringing him to embrace diversity and practice gratitude for all life. After spending over a decade as a successful information technology consultant and entrepreneur, Arno is now a speaker, author of My Life After Hate, and very fortunate to be able to share his ongoing process of character development as an educator working with Serve 2 Unite. Founded as an ongoing peaceful response to the August 5th 2012 Sikh Temple shooting in Oak Creek, WI, S2U engages students creatively with a global network of peacemakers and mentors in partnership with Against Violent Extremism, The Forgiveness Project, Arts @ Large, and Parents for Peace. Arno’s customizable keynotes and workshops leverage noble qualities of compassion, curiosity, and kindness to engage all human beings, building foundations for diversity appreciation and cultural agility. 

Rabbi Sydney Mintz was ordained in 1997 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion where she progressed through the Jerusalem, Los Angeles and New York campuses.  Rabbi Mintz has served on the Reform Movement's Commission on Social Action, the Board of the Brandeis Hillel Day School and the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis, the Rabbinic Advisory Councils of Shalom Bayit-the San Francisco Jewish Domestic Violence Board and the Jewish Community High School of the Bay. In addition to lecturing widely in the area of Midrash and Jewish humor, she is currently on the Board of the Documentary Production, "A Gift for Laughter-Comedy and the Jews."  Rabbi Mintz became a Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem after completing her fellowship in 2004. She helped to found the award winning Late Shabbat Young Adult Program at Congregation Emanu-El where she has served as Rabbi since her ordination in 1997. Although Rabbi Mintz dreams that real Chicago pizza existed in San Francisco, she would never dream of giving up life in the vibrant Jewish community of the Bay Area.  Rabbi Mintz led Team Emanu-El in the AIDS Lifecycle Ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles and is an avid open ocean swimmer.

Deepak Puri is a Silicon Valley veteran with executive experience at OracleNetscape and VMware. He specializes in applying technology to maximize the impact of philanthropy and volunteers with non-profit groups such as AshokaTaproot and IESC. Deepak is the co-founder of Democracy Labs and also serves on the board of the Tides Foundation.




Updated on May 25, 2023