Rachael joseph, founder, executive director
Rachael got involved in the gun reform movement after her aunt Shelley was murdered in the courthouse shooting at the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis, MN on September 29th, 2003. The shooter had purchased a gun for $60 through a private sale at a gun show with no background check required by state law.
Rachael is a former Survivor Engagement Lead with Mayors Against Illegal Guns/Everytown for Gun Safety and former Director of Outreach and Communications at Protect Minnesota, both gun violence prevention groups. She currently volunteers at Lucy Craft Laney elementary, serves on the Board of Directors at the Minnesota Alliance on Crime, the Advisory Board for the Women’s March, the Board of Directors at Art is My Weapon MN, and is the current Advocacy Director at Women Against the Violence Epidemic (WAVE). Rachael has a background in electoral politics as a former volunteer for Senator Paul Wellstone, former Field Organizer for Representative Raymond Dehn's Mayoral campaign, former Campaign Manager for Neighbors for Sara Freeman, former Communications Director for Paul Thissen for Governor and Campaign Manager for Representative Jim Davnie. Rachael founded Survivors Lead with the philosophy that gun reform will be achieved through a more representative government by electing public servants that are also trauma survivors.
Julie browder eichorn, board of directors
Julie Eichorn has a passion for getting millennials and disenfranchised communities involved in the political process. Julie is a former Advocacy Lead for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Ohio Chapter, an organization that formed after the Sandy Hook massacre to promote sensible gun laws in America. This work has had her lobbying legislators in Washington DC and in Columbus, Ohio. As the former National Diversity Coordinator for the group, her focus is getting communities of color involved in gun reform. She is a member of several other community groups fighting to curb violence in the Columbus area.
Julie is a former city councilwoman of Pataskala, Ohio, where she represented the third ward of the city. She is a former president of the Licking County branch of NAACP and a former member of the Mental Health and Recovery Board for Licking and Knox counties. She resides on the northeast side of Columbus with her fiancé Leo and is the mother of three millennials, Matthew, Brittany and Sarah.
Kimberly Brusk, Board of Directors
KIMBERLY BRUSK, BOARD OF DIRECTORS
In 2009, Kimberly Brusk left her abusive husband and had him arrested. She obtained a restraining order. On October 27, 2009, Kimberly's abuser broke into her home with a shotgun and sat waiting, in the dark, for her to return home. When Kimberly entered, he said, "I told you not to leave me, don't move," and fired the shotgun. Her abusive ex-husband is now out of prison and Kimberly is forced to co-parent their daughter with the man who tried to kill her. Since, Kimberly has devoted her life to violence prevention. She co-founded her own domestic violence organization, Women Against the Violence Epidemic (WAVE), is a former speaker and Fellow at Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Everytown for Gun Safety. Kimberly currently serves on the DeKalb County Domestic Violence Task Force and the Domestic Violence Advisory Board at Women Against Gun Violence (WAGV). She advocates for victim-survivors nationwide, working to change laws that endanger survivors.
Kimberly is now remarried with three children and resides in Atlanta, GA. Kimberly notes that, "Domestic violence abusers are the most predictable perpetrators of future violence. We will never solve gun violence in this country without addressing the dangerous intersection of abusive men and guns."
Nikki McComb, Board of Directors
NIKKI MCCOMB, BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Nikki McComb's public safety campaign, titled #ENOUGH, uses art as a catalyst for change and social disruption. Taking on the trenchant issue of illegal firearms, Nikki uses photographs and video to reach people from the community level to the legislature. She provides communities an outlet where they feel safe enough to ask for help, empowered enough to provide help, provoked enough to work harder toward unity, and unified enough to make collective change through art.
For seventeen years, McComb has applied her artistic interests and skills to working in north Minneapolis, and surrounding communities, toward youth and family opportunity. In addition to being an art educator, she has organized exhibitions including Art Is My Weapon (Guns in the Hands of Artists). The Art Is My Weapon program worked with local artists, turning decommissioned firearms into creative works for display. McComb is also the Creative Community Coordinator at Pillsbury United Communities. In 2014 and 2015, she received numerous community leadership awards. She is a former recipient of a photography Micro Grant, and a 2017 recipient of the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship. She has held exhibition space with three or more exhibits and curated Art Is My Weapon two years in a row. She currently resides in north Minneapolis, MN.
Joe McLean, Board of Directors
Joe McLean, board of directors
Joe McLean is a trauma survivor and his driver’s license still has an endorsement for Minnesota DNR firearm safety training from 42 years ago. In military high school, he learned marksmanship from retired Korea and Vietnam vets. McLean carried a 45-caliber pistol, 12-gauge shotgun and M14 Springfield rifle when he served in the Navy. He received special training in defensive handgun use at the American Pistol Institute. But by the mid-90s, McLean soured on the extremism evident among more and more gun owners. Joe felt the hunter and enthusiast culture that once promoted safety and marksmanship began to resemble a cult. McLean lost interest and parted ways.
In 1998, big tobacco settled a nationwide class action suit and stopped marketing a harmful product at children. This didn’t happen overnight. Decades of pressure from survivors caused a tectonic shift in public attitude. Many knew they wouldn’t bear witness to that day, but their children or their grandchildren might.
Joe focuses on political operatives misleading and dividing Americans over firearm policy, because this consumer product is killing our children. Americans are poised for change. Survivors have reached a tipping point. We refuse to accept the status quo. Lawmakers can be brave and send political operatives packing or they will answer to a new generation of survivors at the polls.
Anthijuan beeks, sr., board of directors
Anthijuan Beeks, Sr., was born and raised in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area. He is a five-time gun violence survivor. Beeks graduated from Minneapolis Public Schools and completed his post secondary education in Law Enforcement. He is now the Founder and CEO of Face2FaceMN and works closely with at-risk youth. Anthijuan serves on various Boards of other organizations to ensure that the public receives the services citizens deserve.
Sara Freeman, Board of Directors
Sara is a rape and gun violence survivor as well as a former candidate for the Minnesota State House of Representatives. She has spent the last 18 years working in various roles in the healthcare industry, including as a Product Manager, Director of Investor Relations, and Vice President in the Investment Banking Division of two banks on Wall Street. For the past 5 years she has owned her own consulting business, working with clients in the healthcare industry on corporate strategy and business development efforts.
Sara is a mother of three and a volunteer educator at Burroughs Elementary and North High School. Sara is also a volunteer and Chair of the Board at the Domestic Abuse Project, a local non-profit. DAP provides trauma-informed therapy to perpetrators and victims of domestic violence, and children who witness or experience abuse in their homes. Sara started DAP’s “Family Holiday Program” and still leads it each year. The program’s intention was to help relieve the stress and financial burden the holiday season can pose to low-wealth families. Sara speaks openly about being a survivor of rape and gun violence, and living with post-traumatic-stress resulting from her attack with the hope that her candor uplifts other survivors, and helps to de-stigmatize conversations around sexual violence and mental health concerns.
KATE RANTA, BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kate Ranta is the mother of two boys, a marketing professional, and a survivor of domestic and gun violence. She and her father survived two bullets each when her ex-husband stalked her to her home and shot them. The couple's then 4-year-old son witnessed the shooting. Kate has been a gun control activist for nearly six years, has appeared in documentary films, in national media, and on expert panels. She leverages her story to raise awareness about violence against women and the deadly intersection of domestic violence and gun violence. Kate also co-founded Women Against the Violence Epidemic (WAVE), which offers an unapologetic and bold stance addressing violence against women. Kate's focus at WAVE has been to flip society's tendency to shame and/or blame women for abuse perpetrated by violent men. Kate uplifts other women nationally and encourages accountability addressing domestic violence through advocacy to disarm abusers. Kate is thrilled to join the Board of Directors at Survivors Lead!
Rebecca Rhoda fisher, board of directors
Ms. Fisher has practiced exclusively in the area of criminal defense since 1999. Prior to that, she prosecuted criminal cases as a student attorney and law clerk with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. She is licensed to practice law in Minnesota, Wisconsin, the United States District Court in the District of Minnesota, and the United States Supreme Court.
Fisher is a 1993 graduate of the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Sociology. She is a 1999 graduate of William Mitchell College of Law. She has been named “Rising Star” and “Super Lawyer” by Minnesota Law and Politics and one of fifteen “Up and Coming Attorneys” by Minnesota Lawyer.
She is a member of Minnesota State Bar Association and the past Chair of the New Lawyers Section, Chair of the Criminal Section, and an MSBA delegate to Kosovo Bar Association. She received a Pro Bono Champion Award from the American Bar Association in 2016 for her work on a trip with the MSBA to Kosovo in July 2015.
Ms. Fisher is the past President and current member of the Minnesota Society of Criminal Justice. She is the outgoing President of the Warren E. Burger Inn of Court. She is also a current member of the Wisconsin Bar Association and Ramsey County Bar Association.
Since her assistant, Chase Passauer, was shot and murdered in her law office in St. Paul on April 7, 2016, Ms. Fisher has been an active advocate for gun violence survivors. She brings her knowledge and experience in the judicial system to the Survivors Lead Board.
RAYMOND CAMPER, BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Raymond Camper experienced significant emotional, psychological and physical trauma at the hands of his parents while growing up in a cult-like setting in Virginia, before he was able to eventually get law enforcement and social services involved on behalf of his younger brothers and sisters.
Raymond also experienced significant trauma as the result of his time in Iraq, which resulted in Major Depression, PTSD, and a severe battle with alcoholism.
Raymond has been active in the anti-war community, his neighborhood and various community organizations, and has been working in the social services field to assist and advocate for others. Raymond has also written about some of his experiences and mindset during and after his childhood and deployment in a forthcoming collection of poetry.