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Shriver Center’s Racial Justice Institute Announces 42 New Fellows in 2019

Groundbreaking Program has trained 200+ advocates from across the country on racial equity in anti-poverty advocacy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
May 9, 2019

Contact: Ishena Robinson
(P) 312-549-9879
ishenarobinson@povertylaw.org

CHICAGO—The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law today announced 42 Fellows who have been selected to take part in its 2019 Racial Justice Institute (RJI), a leadership program that equips and coordinates anti-poverty advocates to address the role that racism plays in causing and perpetuating poverty. This year’s cohort of advocates come from organizations advancing justice in 10 states and the District of Columbia, and notably includes new representation from the south with Fellows from Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia.

“As the federal government continues to dismantle critical civil rights protections for people of color, it is more urgent than ever that advocates for economic justice across the country ground their work in an understanding and pursuit of racial justice,” said Kimberly Merchant, Director of the Racial Justice Institute and Network. “We are thrilled that this year’s Fellows not only hail from various regions across the country but are also racially diverse, providing enrichment to our program as advocates work together to drive equitable change for people living in poverty.”

The 2019 cohort includes public interest lawyers, legal aid attorneys, community advocates, community organizers, public defenders, and paralegals. The Fellows’ advocacy covers issues such as criminal justice reform, consumer protection, and immigrants’ rights, among others. Under the intensive six-month RJI program which begins in June, the Fellows will be exposed to a core set of racial equity concepts which they can apply to projects they are carrying out with and on behalf of various communities.

“This year’s Fellows are working with communities facing many systemic challenges, including  children in the immigration system, Native Americans affected by predatory payday lending practices, restoration of voting rights for justice-involved individuals, and health access for low-income seniors of color,” said Janerick Holmes, newly named Associate Director of the Racial Justice Institute and Network. “As RJI participants, they will learn tools and concepts they can use to mitigate the impact structural racism has on the communities they serve.”

Entering its sixth year, the Shriver Center’s Racial Justice Institute has cultivated more than 200 advocates, representing nearly 80 organizations in 27 states and the District of Columbia. Following this year’s training, RJI will have helped shape more than 240 advocates representing 90 organizations in 31 states. Fellows emerge from the program ready to help shape policies that support a more racially just society and continue to work in concert as part of the RJI alumni network. The full list of the 2019 Fellows can be found below.

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The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. We advocate for and serve clients directly, while also building the capacity of the nation’s legal aid providers to advance justice and opportunity for their clients. www.povertylaw.org

2019 RJI Fellows

Carmen Ayers, Legal Action of Wisconsin
Stephani Becker, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Monica Cail, Legal Action of Wisconsin
Denny Chan, Justice in Aging
Lyndsay Cutler, New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty
Karl Doss, Legal Services Corp of VA
Nolan Downey, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Kerry Ellington, New Haven Legal Assistance Association
Steven Fischbach, Virginia Poverty Law Center
Michelle Garcia, New Mexico Legal Aid
Jennifer Goldberg, Justice in Aging
Molly Graver, New Mexico Legal Aid
Susan Ingles, South Carolina Legal Services
Maria Jankowski, Virginia Indigent Defense Commission
Amber Johnson, South Carolina Legal Services
Rochelle Jones, Legal Action of Wisconsin
Ayanna Jones-Lightsy, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation
Natalie Kitzrow, Legal Action of Wisconsin
Andrea Kovach, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Ming-Yee Lin, New Haven Legal Assistance Association
Tiffney Love, South Carolina Legal Services
Caitlin Maloney, New Haven Legal Assistance Association
Alyssa Mercado, New Mexico Legal Aid
Jonathan Mok, Legal Services Alabama
Adeola Ogunkeyede, Legal Aid Justice Center
Militza Pagan, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Olivia Peña, The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights
Nady Peralta, Legal Aid Justice Center
Jean Phillips, New Mexico Legal Aid
Gregory Ramos, Legal Services Alabama
Holly Ray, Legal Services Alabama
Nannie Reed, Legal Services Alabama
Kim Rolla, Legal Aid Justice Center
Danielle Salgado, The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights
Yvonne Scott, Legal Action of Wisconsin
Ashley Shapiro, office of the Public Defender for the City of Richmond
Whitney Stout, South Carolina Legal Services
Cole Thaler, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation
Laurie Weahkee, Native American Voters Alliance
Nekesha Whitaker, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation
Shelley White, New Haven Legal Assistance Association
Shamyya Wyatt, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation

 

2019 RJI Faculty and Coaches Include:

Aneel Chablani, Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
Emily Coffey, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Ailiana Dennis, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Deb Gardner, Public Justice Center
Ellen Hemley, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Janerick Holmes, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Alvaro Huerta, National Immigration Law Centre
Bill Kennedy, Consultant
Jacki Langum, ArchCity Defenders
Dorianne Mason, Ohio Justice & Policy Center
Kimberly Merchant, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Amanda Moore, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Lucy Odigie-Turley, Opportunity Agenda
Rasheedah Phillips, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia; Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Alice Setrini, LAF Chicago
Steve Sharpe, Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati
Lorilei Williams, Staten Island Legal Services

 

 

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