The We Resolve team consists of a diverse group of women, men, and youth that have a combined 113 years of experience working in nonprofits, governmental agencies, and for the service of others. We are parents, policy analysts, youth workers, employment counselors, community organizers, high schoolers, and, most importantly, people who have been negatively impacted by the criminal punishment system.
We Resolve is sad to announce that our dear brother, Khabir Rasheed, a community leader and one of our core team members, has passed away.
Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.
Meet Our Core Team
Damon Drake, Executive Director
Damon Drake has worked in numerous capacities throughout his professional career as an employment counselor, policy advocate, community engagement liaison, and a martial arts instructor. Damon is a community-oriented professional who has worked tirelessly to confront systems that produce inequity, poverty, disparities in employment, and mass incarceration.
His professional positions include: Civic Engagement Coordinator at Community Action; Program Coordinator of the Community Ambassadors Program; Community Connections Manager at St. Paul Youth Services; Youth Liaison at the Mall of America; Youth Counselor at Boys Totem Town; Building Lives Counselor at Hired Inc.; Outreach Director Council on American Islamic Relations. He is also a U.S. Army Veteran.
Damon has also been an active community volunteer serving on many committees including the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative, Saint Paul Human Rights and Economic Development Commissioner, and the Ramsey County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee.
In addition, for more than 15 years, he has served as a volunteer Islamic advisor for Minnesota State ccorrectional facilities at Red Wing, Rush City, Stillwater, and Oak Park Heights.
Board of Directors
Shanelle Hall is the Associate Director of Client Services and joined Community Action Partnership of Hennepin County in 2020 as the Client Services Supervisor. In her previous role, she was the Community Engagement Supervisor for Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties’ Community Engagement Department. Shanelle is responsible for the development, fiscal management, service delivery, and administration of programs and services assigned to the Client Services department. Shanelle has over 16 years of experience in nonprofit and housing.
Most recently, Shanelle piloted the development and implementation of employment readiness services, which is the first of its kind at Community Action Partnership of Hennepin County. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Brown College. Shanelle has a direct connection to the work she oversees, as she was a previous Head Start student and Car Ownership Program participant of Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties, formally known as RAP, over 15 years ago.
In 2019, Shanelle joined the Board of Directors for Urban Homeworks; a nonprofit based out of Minneapolis, MN, and in 2021, joined the Board of Directors for RESOLVE, which is a nonprofit based out of St. Paul, MN. She is a native of St. Paul and enjoys spending time with her family and friends in her leisure time. Shanelle has a passion for helping others and is fully committed to serving those in her community.
Dena Luna is from St. Paul’s Westside, where she developed a passion for cultural diversity and community engagement. Dena studied Psychology and Communication at the University of Minnesota Duluth and graduated from Hamline University School of Law. She has spent her life dedicated to working with underrepresented communities to disrupt the systems that have been created to hold us down.
Dena currently works in education, pushing and challenging the status quo that contributes to the pipeline to prison and educating others on the systemic inequities that exist within both our education system and legal system. She is gifted in creating spaces for people to learn and grow on their own racial equity journey. Dena is married to her high school sweetheart and together they have four beautiful children.
Diallo is a husband, a father of four, and a life-long resident of St. Paul. Diallo has over 27 years of construction experience. Beginning as a residential utility carpenter, he became a journeyman and foreman carpenter. He founded Kazadia Construction & Rehab in 2001 and stays active in the community.
Samir Saikali, whose parents came from Lebanon and Palestine, was born in Cairo, Egypt, where he attended the French Jesuits’ Holy Family School. He also studied at the American University in Cairo, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in English and Comparative Literature (French and Arabic). Samir came to the United States in 1986. Here he has worked as a business and financial analyst and obtained his master’s degree in education. He is currently the Senior Grants and Information Manager at Neighborhood Development Center, a non-profit that promotes entrepreneurship as a pathway out of poverty.
During the last 25 years, Samir has also been very active teaching about Islam. He is currently the volunteer Imam at Al-Salam Mosque, in Maplewood, and is frequently invited to speak about Islam and Muslims at schools, colleges, and churches, to increase communication and mutual respect, and build bridges of understanding among all people. Samir believes that people of faith have an important role to play today in upholding human rights and social and economic justice and equity for all.
Nieeta currently serves as a Commissioner and the Secretary on the Saint Paul Planning Commission and is the First Vice President for the NAACP Saint Paul Branch Roy Wilkins Memorial Branch 4052. Nieeta Presley has served as a Commissioner on the Human Rights Economic Equal Opportunity, Past Board member of the Community Development Community Development (MCCD) and the Land Bank Twin Cities. She was elected to serve on the St. Paul Mayor’s Central Corridor Task Force that created the Central Corridor Development Strategy (CCDS) for the Central Corridor
Nieeta has been awarded for her community service. She was awarded the Community Leadership award (2006) and inducted into the 2019 Community Development Hall of Fame, Facing The Race Ambassador Award honored nominee (2009) and award winner in 2016. Metropolitan State University’s 40th Alumni “Who Have Made A Difference” award (2011). Nieeta, was awarded the 2013 Twin Cities LISC and the Metropolitan Community Development Awards in the Community Builder’s category for a person who is an outstanding community member or business owner whose professional or personal work in the community is having a significant impact and awarded the 2013 KMOJ-FM 89.9 and Twin Cities Steppers’ Celebrating the Sistah’s Community Award. Nieeta was the 2019 winner of the Twin Cities LISC and Metropolitan Community Consortium of Developers’ (MCCD) Community Development’s Hall of Fame. In 2019, Nieeta was honored for her work as an Influential St Paul Developer in Community Development by the Goldstein Museum of Design and University of Minnesota’s College of Design. Nieeta was honored a Minnesota African American Heritage Honoree Award for 2023 for her many community service activities and exemplifying what service leadership is all about. She continues to both serve on other non-profit organizational boards and continues to volunteer in the community and in her church.
Nieeta lives in St Paul – she has three adult children, 19 grandchildren, and 19 great grand children
Pamela R. Ngunjiri
Pamela R. Ngunjiri, MTS, MSW, grew up in a military family and is a transplant to Minnesota.
She is currently completing her doctoral dissertation, focusing on white supremacy and it’s entanglement with the Christian Church, at Bethel Seminary.
Previously, Ngunjiri received a Master of Theological Studies and a Master of Social Work degrees.
She is currently employed as a Co-Director of Racial Justice at the Minnesota Council of Churches.
Previously, she has worked as a Social Worker in child protection and in the chemical dependency field; as a Family Support Services Manager, and as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Social Work at Bethel University.
Ngunjiri is an ordained Itinerant Elder in the AME Church. She likes to garden and has 2 children, 6 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren.
Greg is a career Ramsey County Public Defender who avows that innocence persists through even the most scarred human histories. He was a recent finalist for Chief Hennepin County Public Defender. Greg has spent his career advocating for social and racial justice and has injected himself into dialogues about equity and policy by publishing several academic works, appearing on local and national television, and chairing legislative Task Forces pertaining to homicide and accomplice liability.
Greg has previously served on the boards for the Ramsey County Bar Association and Green Card Voices, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering tolerance and understanding through the art of immigrant storytelling. He also served on St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities. He volunteered teaching English to immigrants and refugees at Rondo Library. He served as a CLUES youth college readiness mentor.
Greg’s wife is a Honduran immigrant who is the executive director of a local youth-serving nonprofit. Together they are raising three bicultural, bilingual children in the heart of St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood.