As the first-ever Racial Justice Institute Director, Kimberly Merchant leads and provides strategic oversight for the Racial Justice Institute and its expanding advocacy network. Merchant comes to the Shriver Center with twenty years of experience practicing law. Most recently, she served as the Director of the Mississippi Center for Justice’s Educational Opportunities Campaign, where, among other initiatives, she spearheaded efforts to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.
In addition to being a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network Fellow, she holds a number of leadership roles in her local community, serving on the Board of Trustees for the Greenville Public School District; as President of the Washington County Community Foundation; and as Chair of the City of Greenville’s Election Commission. Merchant is an alumna of the Racial Justice Institute, and has since served as a faculty member, coach/mentor, and a member of the Advisory Council.
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.