Kimberly Jones Merchant is Senior Director of Advocate Resources and Training and the former Director of the Shriver Center on Poverty Law’s Racial Justice Institute (RJI) and Network (RJN). She leads and provides strategic oversight for training, consulting, and capacity building of legal aid and social justice advocates across the nation. Merchant has provided her expertise on race equity and justice at numerous conferences and events and served as faculty and consultant for legal aid and public interest organizations across the nation who integrate race equity in their external advocacy and internal practice.
Merchant has 25 years of experience practicing law. Prior to the Shriver Center, she served as the Managing Attorney and Educational Opportunities Director at the Mississippi Center for Justice’s Delta office for 6 years. She attended the University of Southern Mississippi where she received a Bachelor of Science in English, and the University of Mississippi School Law where she received her JD. In addition to being a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Fellow and a 2014 graduate of RJI, she holds a number of leadership roles in her local community and nationally, serving as Chair of the City of Greenville’s Municipal Election Commission; Board Member for the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project (MVLP); Board Member for the ACLU of Mississippi and the Mississippi Center for Justice; and a member of Justice in Aging’s Equity Advisory Council.
Although the pathway to organizational change can be challenging, groundwork can lay a helpful footing.
Although race and poverty have been entwined throughout America’s history, the link between them has often been ignored.
By providing anti-poverty advocates with racial justice tools and concepts, RJI is transforming legal aid and public interest advocacy.