Michael Anthony Mendoza is the Director of Advocacy and a Community Organizer at the Anti-Recidivism Coalition and has successfully worked with partner organizations to center the voices of currently and formerly incarcerated Californians in the service of passing legislation to help end mass incarceration and improve public safety for all. At 15, he was transferred to adult court and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. While incarcerated, Mendoza turned his life around and focused on healing and education to become the person he wanted to be. Changes in state law gave Mendoza the opportunity to demonstrate that he matured into a healthy and prosocial adult. Mendoza was released in 2014 after 17 years of incarceration. He immediately began advocating to reform California’s juvenile and criminal justice systems to implement a vision for a new justice system grounded in healing, health, and opportunity for growth. The California state legislature has recognized Mendoza for his advocacy and impact on the juvenile and criminal justice system and reentry.
Mendoza earned a B.A. in political science from San Francisco State University and serves on various boards and committees in support of safer communities, and a more just and equitable society.