GEORGIANS FOR ALTERNATIVES TO THE DEATH PENALTY
GFADP is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit organization
GFADP is the statewide coalition of organizations and individuals working to end the death penalty, build power in communities targeted by the criminal justice system, protect the rights and dignity of those on death row and their families and transform Georgia’s broken public safety system.
LEAD ORGANIZER - DJ SIMS
DJ Sims is an organizer, minister and activist. DJ was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. Growing up in such a racially divisive city had a large impact on the way Darrin saw social justice, even from a young age. He soon made the decision to attend Fisk university in Nashville, Tennessee where he double majored in Political Science and History. Upon graduation, DJ became a community teacher for Teach for America in Nashville and Saint Louis. It was during the Ferguson Uprising that DJ decided to focus on community organizing and abolition. Soon after, DJ enrolled at Candler School of Theology at Emory University where he received his Master of Divinity with a certificate in Black Church Studies along with concentrations in Race and Religion, Leadership in Church and Community and Criminal Justice Ministries. DJ also serves as an Odyssey Impact Fellow where he works to help churches having conversations around anti-recidivism and religion. DJ has devoted his work and research to social justice through a theological lens. His work and writing has been featured in Sojourners, The Center for the Study of Law and Religion, and Facing South. Most recently DJ works at Georgians For Alternatives to the Death Penaltiy as Lead Organizer where he mobilizes statewide around anti death penalty education and policy. DJ continues to teach, preach and organize around faith-based approaches to reducing recidivism, voter suppression and anti death penalty movement building. In his spare time he enjoys trying new recipes with his wife Chauncey and playing tag with his littlies EJ and Zora.
Joseph Shippen is an Episcopal priest in Augusta, Georgia. Since 1999, he and his wife, Suzanne, have ministered to people on death row and their families and advocated for restorative justice in our criminal justice system.
Ben Minor is a nonprofit professional with 10+ years experience working with organizations focusing on providing social services and advocating for marginalized communities in Metro Atlanta and across the Deep South. Ben currently serves as the as the Foundation Relations Manager at the Southern Center for Human Rights, and prior to joining SCHR, he served as both the Project One on One Director and the Development Director at Children’s Restoration Network. Ben's nonprofit experience includes program management, donor cultivation, grantwriting, volunteer coordination, and HR & Training.
Ben graduated from Oglethorpe University in 2007 with B.A. Degrees in English and Philosophy, and he received Oglethorpe University's President’s Citizenship Award that year. In 2007, he was also selected as a Carter Academic-Service Entrepreneur Grant Recipient by The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Foundation for his work with a grassroots organization to raise money for homeless programs by hosting concerts featuring local artists
Kristen Samuels is an investigator/paralegal at the Southern Center for Human Rights on the Capital Litigation Unit. Kristen investigates death penalty cases in various stages of litigation, including trial and post-conviction stages. Prior to joining the SCHR, Kristen studied Sociology/ Criminology at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA where she became active with various non-profit groups advocating for human rights in underserved communities. Kristen joined the GFADP board in March 2018.
Rev. Ezekiel M. Holley is a native of Terrell County, Dawson GA. He serves the community in several capacities including: The Executive Director of the James L. Barnes CDC where he mentors troubled youth, President of the Terrell County Branch of the NAACP, Pastor of the Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Desoto, GA, member of the St. Mark Masonic Lodge #59 PHA, and member of the Board of Directors of Georgia Clients Council, Inc.
Kellie Divis became the GFADP coordinator for Macon vigils in 2019. With interest in facilitating collaboration among all coordinators and further developing public educational opportunities, she joined the board in 2020. Kellie holds an M.A. in educational psychology from UGA and maintains Georgia teacher certification. She currently educates her own three children, works for her spouse's Macon law firm, Divis Law LLC, and clerks for Macon Quakers (affiliated with Atlanta Friends Meeting). She also strives to honor creativity and explore nature daily.
William L. (Bill) Moon is a retired teacher and principal with more than forty-five years of experience in international education, with service as founding Principal at the International Community School for refugee and American families as his last position. Bill now volunteers as a tutor at ICS and as a board member for several non-profit organizations, including GFADP. He is also engaged in social justice activities in DeKalb County and beyond.
Mary catherine johnson
Mary Catherine has been working to end the death penalty in Georgia since 2008. She is currently the director of New Hope House, a prison ministry that offers support and hospitality to Georgia’s death row prisoners and their families. At New Hope House she visits prisoners on death row, hosts death row families during visitation weekends and executions, and attends all capital trials in Georgia. She has also served as a Georgia representative at the Annual Fast & Vigil to Abolish the Death Penalty at the US Supreme Court since 2014.2006.
Peggy Hendrix is from Atlanta. After taking early retirement, she began volunteering with Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. She has been a member of the Board since 2006.
Laura Tate Kagel is the Director of International Professional Education at the Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia School of Law, where she runs the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree program for foreign attorneys. She holds a J.D. from UGA and a Ph.D. in German from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has previously been involved in death penalty abolition work as a State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator for Amnesty International. This is her second time serving on the GFADP board. She also volunteers as a mentor for U-Lead, a non-profit organization dedicated to enabling college access to higher education for immigrant students and students from immigrant families.