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Executive Director


Romarilyn Ralston, M.L.A.
(657) 278-4728

Romarilyn Ralston

Romarilyn Ralston is Executive Director and former Program Director (2016-2022) of Project Rebound. She identifies as a black feminist abolitionist with an incarceration experience. She also chair’s the CSU Project Rebound Consortium Policy & Advocacy Committee. Romarilyn Ralston earned a Bachelor’s degree in Gender & Feminist Studies from Pitzer College and a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts from Washington University in St. Louis after 23 years of incarceration. Romarilyn is especially focused on building power, sharing space, and empowering systems-impacted BIPOC women and other justice-involved sisters from all backgrounds through the transformative power of post-secondary education and community-building. She is a long-time member and organizer with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners and serves on the leadership committee.  Romarilyn sits on the several national Board including the Alliance for Higher Education in Prison and Freedom Reads also known as the Yale Million Book Project. In 2022, Ralston received a full pardon from Governor Gavin Newsom.


She is the recipient of Pitzer College’s 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award, California State Senator Ling Ling Chang’s 2020 Woman of Distinction Social Justice Champion Award, and the 2018 Civil Rights and Advocacy Award from the Orange County Chapter of the National Council of 100 Black Women. Ralston was a 2018 Fellow of the  Women's Policy Institute , where as a member of the criminal justice reform team she helped to pass several pieces of legislation into law. Ralston has also held fellowships with Just Leadership USA, CORO Public Affairs, and the Napier Initiative for Justice and Peace.

Academic Works and Service

Romarilyn Ralston CV

The Education Trust Advisory Board Member, Appointed May

Alliance for Higher Education in Prison, Board Vice Chair, Appointed August 2021

Pitzer College Alumni Board Member, Appointed June 2020

Freedom Reads, The Justice Collaborative at Yale University. The Million Book Project will bring curated 500-book literary time-capsules to 1,000 prisons and juvenile detention centers to each state in the United States, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Steering Committee Member, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation CARE Grant Program ($10 million), FY 2020.

Member, Blue Ribbon Commission on Fair Employment & Equity, City of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, an alliance of private and public sector employers committed to providing opportunities for people who have been historically excluded from upwardly mobile jobs. Los Angeles, CA, July 2017- 2019.

Selected Publications

Romarilyn Ralston | openDemocracy

"Project Rebound Coordinator Uses Education to Help Formerly Incarcerated Students,"  The Daily Titan, December 4, 2017.

"Silenced by the Pain of a Tumultuous Life,"   Ms. Magazine Blog, October 29, 2015.

Abolition Feminisms Vol. 1 Organizing, Survival, and Transformative Practice Edited by Alisa Bierria, Jakeya Caruthers, and Brooke Lober Foreword by Dean Spade

ESSAY: Caring Collectively: 25 Years of Abolitionist Feminism in California

1st Edition Critical Perspectives on Teaching in Prison Students and Instructors on Pedagogy Behind the Wall Edited By Rebecca Ginsburg

Chapter 19: Schools, Prisons, and Higher Education