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We are dedicated to funding evidence-based strategies that can stop murders before they happen.

About Us: Meet the Team
Peace For DC Executive Director Marcus Ellis

Marcus Ellis

Executive Director

Marcus Ellis joined Peace For DC as Executive Director in April 2023. Marcus previously served as the Chief of Staff at the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, in the Executive Office of the Mayor of Washington, DC. In this position he has spent several years overseeing some of Washington, DC’s innovations in community violence intervention. His office has fostered a community-oriented model that is rooted in a public health approach to reducing violence.


Previously in his career, Marcus served as the Director of the Safer Stronger DC Community Partnerships Office for DC’s Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services and was also a key member of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services’ (DYRS) Management Team serving as Superintendent of the New Beginnings Youth Development Center. In this role he oversaw the District of Columbia’s long term juvenile detention facility where he implemented a model that focused on a strengths-based approach and provided therapeutic rehabilitation. He also served in management roles at the Department of Parks and Recreation and DC Public Schools. He is a strong advocate for a public health approach to reducing violence and believes that every child deserves to grow up free of violence and in a safe and thriving community. 


While focusing on impacting some of our most vulnerable residents within his career, he also dedicates his personal time to giving back to the community as Founder and CEO of Giving with a Purpose, a nonprofit organization in the metropolitan DC area. Additionally, Marcus also serves as a Board Member for Cities United, a national network of Mayors and community activists that takes a holistic public health approach to reducing gun violence and creating better lives for young Black men and boys, their families, and their communities. Marcus is a proud graduate of Bowie State University where he majored in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice.

Peace For DC Founder ROGER MARMET



Roger Marmet is working to reduce gun violence to honor the memory of his son, Tom Marmet, as well as every other victim of homicide in the District.  Tom was 22 when he was killed, October 24, 2018,  just driving home from his first job out of college working for So Others Might Eat.  Tom’s murder was another senseless but possibly preventable tragedy in the plague of DC gun violence.

Since then, Roger has dedicated his time to advocacy - and now action.  He is dedicated to building community-powered resources to save lives in DC’s most dangerous neighborhoods, and bringing philanthropy to helping reduce the homicide rate in the city. 


Roger was born in Washington DC and had a long career in television before entering the restaurant business.  He has been active in the leadership of nonprofit organizations and is now committed to bringing resources to the most desperately needed neighborhoods in the city that he - and his son - loved so much for all their lives. 



Chief of Staff

Chandra Dawson has joined our team in a newly created position of Chief of Staff. As Chief of Staff, Chandra will oversee all of Peace For DC's programmatic work, managing our staff, guiding the organization’s day-to-day rhythm, and coordinating our partnerships.


Chandra Dawson, LISW, LCSW is a Licensed Independent Social Worker.  Her professional career includes over 20 years of social work practice serving various marginalized populations primarily comprised of communities of color. A substantial portion of her career involves designing, managing, and implementing programs designed to meet the multifaceted needs of the underserved. She has years of organizational experience including case management, crisis intervention, supervision, training, project management, and senior leadership within organizations serving trauma survivors within the District of Columbia. Chandra’s professional background includes managing contracts at both local and federal levels, leading non-profit organizations, and designing and implementing training programs to support various local and state systems, such as TANF, victim services, behavioral health, and homeless services. Her capability in programming and technical assistance has been instrumental in addressing the complex needs of these systems. Her ability to establish and maintain vital relationships with organizations across systems has contributed to developing formal partnerships vital to trauma survivor safety, healing, and equitable service accessibility. Chandra is deeply committed to the development of system-level trauma prevention and intervention efforts designed to address the intersecting issues of racial and economic oppression. 


She formerly served as Vice President for Friendship Place, a local nonprofit serving the housing needs of homeless individuals and families in the District of Columbia.  She is also the founder of The MACRO Project Inc., a social work consulting practice providing ethical trauma-informed services to groups, organizations, and agencies representing various systems. As founder, Mrs. Dawson provides consultation and training to organizations and licensed professionals addressing topics such as intersectional trauma-informed service provision, domestic & sexual violence programming, multicultural intervention, equity, and more. Mrs. Dawson is a former 2020 Leadership Education and Advancement for Professionals (LEAP) fellow, a program funded by the Office of Violence Against Women. She holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland at Baltimore with a practice interest in Social Action and Community Development.

Peace For DC Director of Operations & Co-Founder RACHEL USDAN


Chief Operating Officer | Co-Founder

Rachel Usdan became involved in the gun violence reduction space in 2016 as a volunteer with the DC chapter of Moms Demand Action. Rachel learned that while DC has relatively strong gun safety laws, the city’s borders are porous and illegal guns can easily enter the city. It wasn’t until Rachel volunteered with Moms Demand Action that she realized she too was a survivor; her uncle died by gun suicide before Rachel was born. Rachel recognized the ripple effects that that tragedy had on her family was the same as the heartbreaking ripple effects that trauma has had on so many DC families who have had loved ones taken by gun violence, homicide or suicide.

After Rachel‘s hometown neighborhood (Tree of Life, Squirrel Hill, PA) and the high school that her husband attended (Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, Parkland, FL) both experienced mass shooting in the same year, Rachel decided she wanted to do more. In 2018, Rachel became the DC Chapter Leader for Moms Demand Action. By then, Rachel understood that much more beyond gun safety laws could make a community safe. Rachel worked hard to show up and listen and get to know the amazing Black- and brown-led local community organizations doing the arduous work of interrupting violence and healing trauma in DC.

Rachel is honored to be a part of Peace For DC - working to encourage philanthropy to make coordinated investments in violence intervention, to give DC’s peacemakers and community-based organizations the tools they need to build capacity and be successful in their work, and to co-create DC’s next phase of safety, peace, and wellness.

Peace For DC Director of the DC Peace Academy NAKEDA GILBERT


Director of the DC Peace Academy

Nakeda Gilbert is Director of the DC Peace Academy, Peace For DC's flagship program. Nakeda brings a wealth of management experience working in the violence intervention field, as well as work in the corporate and business worlds. She demonstrates true compassion and patience, earned through life experiences as a mother and deep ties living and working with community in Ward 7. Nakeda is a strong, organized leader and very valuable Peace For DC team member.

Peace For DC Director of Life Transformation ANTOINE GATLIN


Director of Life Transformation

Antoine Gatlin is an integral member of the Peace For DC team- as a Roca Rewire Cognitive Behavioral Theory Facilitator, supporting our DC Peace Academy program, supporting our Life Transformation Pilot Program, and supporting our community partnerships.  Antoine is a Washingtonian born and raised in Ward 5 in the Trinidad / Ivy City community. As a former employee of NAARC Cure the Streets, Antoine worked his way up from Outreach Worker- where he helped high-risk individuals in The Ward 5 Trinidad community and the 18th and M St sector to obtain wrap-around services- to a role as Program Manager- where he led a team of ten credible staff members: 7 Violence Interrupters, 2 Outreach Workers and 1 Site Supervisor with an overall goal of reducing gun violence in the community and rehabilitating high risk individuals. These professional experiences helped Antoine to learn more about gun violence and how trauma affects a whole community. He has received certification in Restorative Justice, Project Management, VIRT Circle Keeping, Mindful Workplace with Early Childhood, and is a graduate of the DC Peace Academy.  Antoine's motto is: "Put The Guns Down And Pick The Kids Up" and we're thrilled to have him on our team, helping make that motto a reality.

Our Board

We are very fortunate to have a Board composed of individuals who care deeply about our mission and bring deep knowledge and experience to this work.  We are truly grateful for their commitment to building peace in DC.

Peace For DC Board Member Clinton Lacey

Clinton Lacey

President & CEO CM3 - The Credible Messenger Mentoring Movement,

Former Director of District of Columbia Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services

Peace For DC Founder ROGER MARMET

Roger Marmet

Founder, Peace For DC, Former Television Executive, Restaurant Owner

Peace For DC Board Member Dr. Roger Mitchell, MD

Dr. Roger Mitchell, MD

Chief Medical Officer – Howard University Ambulatory Care

Center Director – Center of Excellence, Trauma and Violence Prevention
Chair Department of Pathology - Howard University College of Medicine, 

Former DC Deputy Mayor For Public Safety and Justice, 

Former DC Chief Medical Examiner

Peace For DC Board Member Mary Zients

Mary Zients

Founding Member and Board Chair - Urban Alliance Foundation

What does peace for DC look like to you?

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