Intersectional Research Agenda

Advisory Committee


Sarah Deer
Professor of Law, Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Sarah Deer, Citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, has worked to end violence against women for over 20 years. She began as a volunteer rape victim advocate as an undergraduate and later received her J.D. with a Tribal Lawyer Certificate from the University of Kansas School of Law. She is currently a Professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Minnesota. Her scholarship focuses on the intersection of federal Indian law and victims’ rights. Deer is a co-author of three textbooks on tribal law. She has received national recognition for her work on violence against Native women and was a primary consultant for Amnesty International’s Maze of Injustice campaign. She is the recipient of a 2014 MacArthur Fellowship.


Dolores Delgado Bernal
Professor of Education and Ethnic Studies, University of Utah

Dolores Delgado Bernal is Professor of Education, Culture, and Society and Ethnic Studies. She is the 2010 recipient of the AERA Distinguished Scholar Award and the College of Education’s 2010 Research Award. Her research contributes to the fields of education and Chicana/o studies by examining the socio-cultural context of the educational pipeline, and investigating alternative definitions of knowledge, teaching, and learning. Her research and scholarship can be viewed as two interrelated areas of interest. She explores critical raced-gendered epistemologies and home/community knowledge systems that stand in contrast to dominant Euro-American ways of knowing. In doing so, she looks to alternative theoretical models (cultural citizenship, Chicana feminist, borderlands, and critical race theory) to better understand and explain the educational experiences of Chicanas/os and other communities of color.

Dr. Delgado Bernal’s second area of interest, community engaged research and scholarship, builds upon the first and is grounded in two collaborative research projects—Adelante: A College Awareness and Preparatory Partnership and the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs (CESA) Scholars Program. She is co-PI and co-director of Adelante, a university-school-community partnership which is dedicated to creating educational opportunities and college-going expectations through community engagement, research, and reciprocity. The partnership calls for addressing under-representation of Latina/o students in higher education by working directly with elementary school students, their parents, and their classroom teachers. Its goals are to raise awareness and expectation of higher education attendance in a predominantly Latina/o community, and it has already received two state-wide awards for its advocacy work in community education. The CESA Scholars Program is a retention program and was created as a way to support students of color during their first year on the University of Utah campus through regular interactions with faculty and staff of color, academic advising, multiple mentoring relationships, and off-campus community engagement opportunities. It is closely linked to the Adelante Partnership as many of the CESA Scholars serve as mentors for the Adelante students during there first year on campus. Currently the second-year retention rate for the students who participate in the program during their freshman year is between 82-90 percent.

Dr. Delgado Bernal has a consistent and strong publication record that is aligned with her research trajectory. She is the author of numerous chapters and articles some of which appear in Harvard Educational Review, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Urban Education, and Social Justice. Her articles have appeared as reprints in well-respected books a total of eight times and her scholarship have received over 700 citation counts. She is co-editor of Chicana/Latina Education in Everyday Life: Feminista Perspectives on Pedagogy and Epistemology. This book was published by State University of New York Press (SUNY) in 2006 and received the American Educational Studies Critics Choice Award in the same year. It is the first of its kind anthology that centers on Chicana/Latina feminist and mujer-centered perspectives that reconceptualize and re-articulate education, pedagogy, and epistemology. It includes chapters that redefine women’s and girls’ everyday teaching and learning in the home, community, and formal institutions as cultural knowledge, cultural politics, and practices of well-being. An essential part of her identity as a scholar is teaching, and she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on critical race theory, borderland theories, US Third World feminism, Chicana/o studies, and ethnic studies. Her teaching contributions were recognized when she was awarded the college’s Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award for the 2001-2002 academic year.

Oleta Garrett Fitzgerald
Director of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Southern Regional Office
Oleta Garrett Fitzgerald is Director of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Southern Regional Office (CDF/SRO). Ms Fitzgerald serves as the Regional Administrator for the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative for Economic & Social Justice (SRBWI). SRBWI operates in 77 counties across the Black Belts of Alabama, Southwest Georgia and Delta Mississippi. The CDF-SRO also serves as lead for the W.K. Kellogg funded Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids (SPARK) Initiative.
Ms. Fitzgerald received a B. A. in Sociology from Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi. She was the recipient of John Hay Whitney and Woodrow Wilson fellowships for graduate studies, however, she moved to Atlanta in the waning days of the civil rights movement and began her work as an advocate for children and families under the tutelage of Andrew Young, Julian Bond, John Lewis, Winifred Green and Connie Curry.In 1970 she was employed by the Atlanta based Southeastern Public Education Program of the American Friends Service Committee. In this position she participated in the Children’s Defense Fund’s, Children Out of School in America, a national study of exclusion of children from public elementary and secondary schools; and monitored Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. In 1976, she was hired as southern director for the Children’s Foundation, which educated citizens and members of Congress on the need for expanded access to federal food programs.

In 1982 she became a project director for the Southern Regional Council working with rural electric power customers in 12 southern states to increase minority representation on rural electric cooperative boards. Moving back to her native Mississippi, Ms. Fitzgerald served as former Congressman Mike Espy’s District Director from the beginning of his first term in 1987 until she joined the Clinton for President Campaign in 1992.

Before joining the Children’s Defense Fund, she was appointed White House Liaison and Executive Assistant to then Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy by President Bill Clinton in January, 1993. Shortly thereafter, she was named the Department’s Director of Intergovernmental Affairs where she worked with local, state and tribal governments; coordinated the Administration’s long-term recovery of Midwestern states affected by The Great Flood of 1993; and was a member of USDA’s executive review panel selecting rural Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities.

Ms. Fitzgerald serves as a Board member for the Mississippi Head Start Association, the Mississippi Children’s Museum, the advisory committee for the Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University, a member of the advisory boards for Excel by 5, Mississippi Building Block, and the State Early Childhood Advisory Council, a member of the State Children’s Welfare Coalition and the Global Women’s Action Network for Children. Ms. Fitzgerald has also received honorary membership to Pi Alpha Alpha, the National Honor Society for Public Affairs & Administration from Mississippi State University in 1999.

Ms. Fitzgerald is the proud mother of four children, Rashida, Yusef, Layla and Joi.

Jessica González-Rojas
Executive Director, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
Jessica González-Rojas is the Executive Director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the only national reproductive justice organization that specifically works to advance reproductive health and rights for Latinas. She has been a leader in progressive movements for over 15 years, successfully forging connections between reproductive health, gender, immigration, LGBTQ liberation, labor and Latino civil rights, breaking down barriers between movements and building a strong Latina grassroots presence. She is an authentic voice for Latinas and a regular presence in national media outlets. She is a frequent contributor to El Diario/La Prensa, RH Reality Check, the Daily Beast and Huffington Post on pressing reproductive health issues in the Latina community, as well as a regular media voice in local and national outlets such as MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry Show, MSNBC’s News Nation, National Public Radio, the Bill Moyers Show, the Boston Globe, the New York Times and Fox News Latino. Jessica and NLIRH has been honored for their work by several outlets and organizations, including Latina Magazine as one of 2014’s “10 Most Inspiring Latina Activists”, Cosmo for Latinas as a “Fun, Fearless Latina” in 2014, the National Council of Jewish Women as a “Champion for Choice” in 2013, LATISM as 2013’s “Best Non-Profit” and by El Diario/La Prensa as one of 2009’s “Mujeres Destacadas” (Women of Honor); she was also recognized on Cosmopolitan’s “2013 Power List” in the October 2013 issue, has been named one of “13 Women of Color to Watch in 2013” by the Center for American Progress.

Jessica is an Adjunct Professor of Latino and Latin American Studies at the City University of New York and has taught courses on reproductive rights, gender and sexuality. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a certificate from the Institute for Not-for-Profit Management at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business.

Deon Haywood
Executive Director, Women With A Vision
Deon Haywood is the Executive Director of Women With A Vision, Inc., a New Orleans-based community organization founded in 1991 to improve the lives of marginalized women, their families, and communities by addressing the social conditions that hinder their health and well-being. Since Hurricane Katrina, she has led the organization to a vibrant locally-rooted international network addressing the complex intersection of socio-economic injustices and health disparities.

In 2009, Deon oversaw the launch of WWAV’s NO Justice Project, a campaign to combat the sentencing of women and trans* people arrested for street-based sex work under Louisiana’s 203-yr-old “crime against nature” felony-level law, which resulted in a federal judicial ruling and the removal of more than 700 women from the sex offender registry. Deon was also the representative from the U.S. South to the 2013 Frontline Defender’s Dublin Platform, has testified in front of the United Nations Global Commission on HIV and the Law and been honored with numerous awards by groups across the United States in recognition of her leadership at the intersection of HIV/AIDS, harm reduction, LGBTQ rights, reproductive justice and anti criminalization work.

Currently, Deon sits on the board of BreakOUT!, a youth-led organization fighting the criminalization of LGBTQ youth in New Orleans and is part of the inaugural class of Public Voices Fellows with the Ms. Foundation (2016).

Michele L. Jawando
Vice President, Legal Progress, American Progress
Michele L. Jawando is the Vice President for Legal Progress at American Progress. Previously, she served as general counsel and senior advisor to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), where she was responsible for wide-ranging portfolio of policy issues pertaining to the federal judiciary and nominations; voting rights; women and labor issues; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, issues; education; telecommunications; technology; and ethics. As a member of Sen. Gillibrand’s senior staff, she helped lead some of the office’s landmark work, including the passage of the 9/11 health bill; the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, or DADT; the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor; and Sen. Gillibrand’s trailblazing work on military and campus sexual assault.
Jawando has a rich background in politics and public policy and a demonstrated lifelong commitment to public service. Prior to working for Sen. Gillibrand, Jawando served as the national campaign manager for election protection and legislative counsel at People For the American Way, or PFAW, Foundation. Her work included managing a nationwide campaign devoted to reforming the election process and serving as the deputy campaign manager for PFAW Foundation’s Restore My Vote, a program devoted to helping ex-offenders in the clemency restoration process.

A native of Queens, New York, Jawando started her career in public service in the office of Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), where she worked on judiciary, health care, and education issues.
Jawando has been a guest speaker for numerous panels and national conferences, including those of the NAACP; the National Urban League; the U.S. Student Association; the Young Women’s Christian Association, or YWCA; and the National Bar Association. She has been a guest lecturer at the Santa Clara University School of Law and was a recipient of the Women’s Information Network, or WIN, Young Women of Achievement Award. She was recognized by the NAACP as one of the “40 Power Young Professionals Under 40” and named one of the top 15 African American women in politics under age 40.

Michele holds a B.A. with honors from Hampton University and received her J.D. from the University Of North Carolina School of Law. Her husband, Will Jawando, is currently running for Congress in Maryland in the 8th Congressional District. Together, they are raising their three daughters, Alia, Addison, and Ava in Silver Spring MD.

Bettina Love
Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice, University of Georgia
Dr. Bettina L. Love is an award-winning author and Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice at the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on the ways in which urban youth negotiate Hip Hop music and culture to form social, cultural, and political identities to create new and sustaining ways of thinking about urban education and social justice. She also concentrates on transforming urban classrooms through the use of non-traditional educational curricula and classroom structures. In 2016, Dr. Love was named the Nasir Jones Fellow at the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Center at Harvard University.

Dr. Love is one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers in the area of Hip Hop education for elementary aged students. She is the founder of Real Talk: Hip Hop Education for Social Justice, an after school initiative aimed at teaching elementary students the history and elements of Hip Hop for social justice aligned with core subjects through project-based learning. Dr. Love also has a passion for studying the school experiences of queer youth, along with race and inequality in education.

Dr. Love is a sought-after public speaker on a range of topics including: Hip Hop education, Black girlhood, queer youth, Hip Hop feminism, art-based education to foster youth civic engagement, and issues of diversity. In 2014, she was invited to the White House Research Conference on Girls to discuss her work focused on the lives of Black girls. In addition, she is the inaugural recipient of the Michael F. Adams award (2014) from the University of Georgia. She has also provided commentary for various news outlets including NPR, The Guardian, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Dr. Love is one of the founding board members of The Kindezi School, an innovative school focused on small classrooms and art-based education. She conducts workshops/professional development seminars for educators and students from educational entities of all kinds.

Finally, she is the author of Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South. Her work has appeared in numerous books and journals, including the English Journal, Urban Education, The Urban Review, and Journal of LGBT Youth. She is currently editing a special issue of the Journal of Lesbian Studies focused on the identities, gender performances, and pedagogical practices of Black and Brown lesbian educators.

Alexis McGill Johnson
Executive Director, Perception ooInstitute
Alexis McGill Johnson is Executive Director of the Perception Institute – a consortium of researchers, advocates, and strategists that uses cutting-edge mind science research to reduce discrimination and other harms linked to race, gender, and other identity differences. She has taught political science at both Yale and Wesleyan Universities. During the 2004 election cycle, she served as Executive Director of Citizen Change, a leading nonprofit founded by Sean “Diddy” Combs aimed to educate young diverse voters through grassroots and tailored social media efforts. Before Citizen Change and launching the “Vote or Die!” campaign, Alexis was Political Director to Russell Simmons.

A thought leader and a bridge builder whose work spans politics, academia, social activism, and cultural strategies, Alexis continues to explore shifting paradigms of identity and race-based politics in the post- civil rights era, increasing civic engagement among youth and people of color, and the implications for demographic and ideological changes of these constituencies on national politics. Her career has always, at their core, focused on improving the lives of young people, with an emphasis on youth of color.

Alexis’s philanthropic and service work mirrors her professional passions. She is the immediate past Board Chair and continuing board member of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund. She also serves on the board of Revolutions Per Minute, a nonprofit agency that supports artists with strategy and support for their activism and philanthropy. Previously, she has served on the boards of New York Civil Liberties Union, Center for Social Inclusion, and Citizen Engagement Lab. She is a founder of the Culture Group as well as a frequent commentator on FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, and in the press.

Isabel Molina-Guzmán
Associate Professor Latina/Latino Studies and Media and Cinema Studies, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
Isabel Molina-Guzmán is an associate professor in Latina/Latino Studies, Media & Cinema Studies and a faculty affiliate of Gender & Women’s Studies and Latin American & Caribbean Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. She graduated from the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania (MAC ’94; PhD ’00). Molina-Guzmán served as Chair of the Department of Latina/Latino Studies 2007-2008, 2009-2012.

Molina-Guzmán’s research and teaching strives to combine her academic interests with her professional experiences as a journalists and communications specialist. Additionally, her interdisciplinary training in humanistic and social scientific approaches drives her research projects on the social construction of identity and contemporary popular culture. Finally, Molina’s commitment to publicly engaged scholarship informs her contemporary analysis of Latinas in the media, U.S. immigration politics, and the media commodification of racialized ethnic communities

Molina-Guzmán has published “Dangerous Curves: Latina Bodies in the Media” (NYU Press, 2010) on the contemporary popularity of iconic Latinas and Latina-themed media programming, such as America Ferrera and ABC’s “Ugly Betty.” The book explores why Latinas have gained such prominence in the U.S. media and the social and political implications of such hypervisibility within the anti-immigration context. She is also working on an edited collaboration with Paul Allatson (U of Technology Sydney) exploring the international attention surrounding the 2000 Elián González custody case. The book brings together a group of international scholars and journalists writing about Elián to explore the role of children as spectacles in the production of the national and transnational imagination. Elements of both projects have appeared in numerous journal articles and edited book collections.

Jyoti Nanda
Lecturer in Law, UCLA School of Law
Jyoti Nanda, a past Co-Faculty Director of the Critical Race Studies Program and core faculty of the David J. Epstein Public Interest Law Program, has been at UCLA School of Law since 2003. To date, Nanda has taught nearly 500 public interest minded law students. Professor Nanda’s scholarship interests are in civil rights, social justice advocacy and the ways in which children and youth intersect with the juvenile justice system – with a particular focus on girls and young women. Her latest article, “Blind Discretion: Girls of Color and Delinquency in the Juvenile Justice System” appeared in the UCLA Law Review. In 2013, Professor Nanda founded the Youth & Justice Clinic at UCLA which trains students to holistically address the unmet legal needs of children Los Angeles County. In addition, she teaches the Public Interest section of the first year Lawyering Skills course, Introduction to Public Interest Law and a doctrinal course on Juvenile Justice. She co-taught Introduction to Lawyer Client Relationship and developed a new class with Kimberlé Crenshaw on Intersectional Perspectives on Race, Gender & the Criminalization of Women & Girls.

Professor Nanda co-chaired a national conference with the UCLA Law Review titled: Underprotected & Overpoliced: Women, Race & Criminalization in 2012 that brought together academics and community activists. As a grant recipient from the Center for Community Foundation in 2008, she worked on the Juvenile Justice Project, a collaborative endeavor focused on addressing educational issues and the racial disparity within the juvenile delinquency system in Los Angeles County.

Prior to joining the faculty at UCLA School of Law, Professor Nanda was awarded a Skadden Fellowship to work as a staff attorney at the Los Angeles office of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF).** While at LDF, Professor Nanda helped file a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch alleging racially discriminatory hiring and firing practices. Professor Nanda earned her B.A. in Ethnic Studies/Rhetoric with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley and her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law, where she served as Articles Editor of the Northwestern Law Review and was trained at the Children & Family Justice Center.

Professor Nanda currently serves on the Advisory Board of Directors for the South Asian Network (SAN), a grass roots human rights organization based in Southern California. She has served as a past Board Co-Chair of the APADRC, which provides peace and conflict programming in elementary schools in Los Angeles, and she was the Pro Bono Chair for the South Asian Bar Association (SABA) of Southern California. In 2003, she was a principal Co-Founder of the SABA Public Interest Foundation which awards thousands of grants each year to public interest minded law students and non-profits. And shortly after the events of September 11, 2001, she co-founded 9/11 Legal Response Network, an anti-hate crimes advocacy group based in Los Angeles.

In April 2012, Nanda was selected by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for the prestigious Dream of Los Angeles Award, the highest award bestowed by the Mayor given to someone from humble beginnings who has had career success. In April 2014, she was awarded the SABA Public Interest Foundation Trailblazer Award. In 2014 and 2015, she was the law school’s nominee for the distinguished university-wide UCLA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award.

** Although established by the NAACP, the LDF has been a separate organization since 1940. LDF’s Founder and First Director was the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Isa Noyola
Director of Programs, Transgender Law Center
Isa Noyola is a translatina activist, a national leader in LGBT immigrant rights movement, and the director of programs at Transgender Law Center, a national organization that changes law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression. She works extensively for the release of transgender women from ICE detention and an end to all deportations. She is a part of the #Not1more campaign team and sits on the advisory boards of TAJA coalition, El/La para Translatinas , and Familia:Trans, Queer Liberation movement. She has organized the first ever national trans anti-violence convening that brought together over 100 activists, mostly trans women of color, to address the epidemic of violence trans communities are facing. Isa is passionate about building the leadership of transgender communities, especially TWOC who experience high levels of discrimination and violence. She is leading programmatic strategies to help build a leadership pipeline through the creation of trainings & leadership gatherings to share advocacy tools and strategies. Isa believes that a stronger and more vibrant transgender community is possible when we abolish oppressive systems that criminalize all of our communities especially trans and queer communities of color.

Jeannette Pai-Espinosa
President, The National Crittenton Foundation
Jeannette brings to The National Crittenton Foundation (TNCF), a 133-year-old institution, nearly forty years of experience in advocacy, education, public policy, strategic communication, program development, and direct service delivery Today, she leads TNCF, which is the national umbrella for the 26 members of the Crittenton family of agencies, which provides services in 31 states and the District of Columbia. Crittenton agencies support more than 130,000 girls annually by providing a comprehensive mix of gender and culturally responsive, trauma informed and specific, developmentally appropriate, strength-based services to girls and young women who are survivors of multiple forms of adverse childhood experiences and violence. Services are provided in a range of settings from in-home to community based and residential.

Jeannette is currently; Chair of the National Foster Care Coalition; the co-Director of the National Girls Initiative – Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U. S. Department of Justice. Additionally, she is a member of: the Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Project for Girls; the Advisory Committee for Women’s Services – SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Advisory Committee of Family Story; the Advisory Board for the hope and grace initiative of philosophy inc.; and the Advisory Committee for the Intersectional Research Agenda, at the Anna Julia Cooper Center, Wakeforest University.
In 2013, Jeannette was recognized with the Robert F. Kennedy Embracing the Legacy award for her work supporting the empowerment of girls and young women in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Jeannette holds a master’s degree of education in student development theory, counseling and administration. She and her husband are the parents of four “grown” children ages 31–37.

Bandana Purkayastha
Professor of Sociology & Asian American Studies, University of Connecticut
Recently appointed American Sociological Association’s representative to the International Sociological Association (2014-2018), Bandana Purkayastha is Professor of Sociology & Asian American Studies, and Head, Sociology, at the University of Connecticut (UCONN). Her current research interests focus on human rights, intersectionality, transnationalism and migration. Examples of her solo or co-authored recent work on different subjects include: Voices of Internally Displaced Persons in Kenya: A Human Rights Perspective (2015); Human Trafficking Amidst Interlocking Oppressions: A focus on Pakistan (2015) ; The Human Rights Enterprise: The State, Resistance, and Human Rights. (2015) ; Human Rights in Our Own Backyard: Injustice and Resistance in the US, which was awarded ASA-Human Rights section’s Gordon Hirabayashi book award for 2013; “Intersectionality in a Transnational World” (Gender & Society); As the Leaves Turn Gold: Asian Americans and Aging; Negotiating Ethnicity: South Asian Americans Traverse a Transnational World; Living Our Religions: Hindu and Muslim South Asian-American Women Narrate Their Experiences; Building a Fabric of Peace: Notes from the Field; Imagining Pan-Asia: Tagore from a 21st Century Perspective, and, From Gandhi to Gülen: The Habitus of Non-Aggressive Action. Along with her research on the USA, she has consistently engaged in and facilitated global scholarly conversations: e.g., the co-edited collections on on informal networks and social change in South Asia and West Africa (2004), on armed conflict and conflict resolution, especially the section on building and sustaining peace (2008), and the Current Sociology monograph (2012) on linking research and action for social justice. Her books, articles and chapters have been published in many countries of the world.

Professor Purkayastha’s excellence teaching and mentoring has been recognized through local, state and national awards. She has been awarded the Sociology graduate students’ Best Mentor award thrice (a record), has been recognized by AAUP and the State legislature for Teaching promise (2001), the UCONN Alumni teaching excellence award (2010) and the American Sociological Association-Asian American Section’s teaching excellence award (2009).

Purkayastha has a significant record of leadership and organizational experience. She is an active member of International Sociological Association since 2002. She served on many elected councils and nominated committees within American Sociological Association (ASA), as President of Sociologists for Women in Society (2013-2014), she led the organization, balanced its operations, significant resources and its 21st century aspirations. Her editorial activities include work in Gender & Society, Journal of South Asian Diaspora, and Frontpage Publications’ Human Rights series. She has served as international and national expert, and ad hoc grants and manuscripts reviewer, and PhD examiner for organizations around the world.

Andrea Ritchie
Police Misconduct Attorney and Organizer
Andrea Ritchie is a Black lesbian police misconduct attorney and organizer who has engaged in extensive research, writing, litigation, organizing and advocacy on profiling, policing, and physical and sexual violence by law enforcement agents against women, girls and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of color over the past two decades. She is a 2014 Senior Soros Justice Fellow, co-chair of the Anti-Violence/Criminal Justice Working Group of the New York City Council’s Young Women’s Initiative, and coordinates the policing subgroup of the LGBT Federal Criminal Justice Working Group.

Andrea is co-author of Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women (African American Policy Forum July 2015); A Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations for Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People Living with HIV, published by the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School in 2014, and Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States (Beacon Press 2011), and author of Law Enforcement Violence Against Women of Color, in The Color of Violence: The INCITE! anthology (2006, South End Press), as well as a number of articles on racialized policing of gender, gender identity, and sexuality.

A nationally recognized expert and sought after commentator on policing issues, she has testified before the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, the White House Council on Women and Girls, the Prison Rape Elimination Commission, and the UN Committee Against Torture, Human Rights Committee and Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. She has appeared regularly in the New York Times, as well as on MSNBC, C-Span, NBC Nightly News, NPR, Al-Jazeera, and Mother Jones, and her blogs and opinion pieces have been published in The Root, Colorlines, Portside, Praxis, Bilerico and TruthOUT,
Between 2009 and 2014 Andrea helped found and coordinate Streetwise & Safe (SAS), a leadership development initiative aimed at sharing “know your rights” information, strategies for safety and visions for change among LGBT youth of color who experience of gender, race, sexuality and poverty-based policing and criminalization, and served as the organization’s Senior Policy Counsel in 2015. As such, she served as a founding member of the steering committee of Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), a city-wide campaign to challenge discriminatory, unlawful and abusive policing practices in New York City led by grassroots community groups, legal organizations, policy advocates and researchers from all five boroughs.

Ritchie was lead counsel in Tikkun v. City of New York, ground-breaking impact litigation challenging unlawful searches of transgender people in police custody, and drafted and negotiated sweeping changes to the NYPD’s policies for interactions with LGBTQ New Yorkers. She has since supported groups across the country in policy advocacy around police interactions with women and LGBTQ people.

She also served as co-counsel to the Center for Constitutional Rights in Doe v. Jindal, a successful challenge to Louisiana’s requirement that individuals convicted of “crime against nature by solicitation” register as sex offenders, and Doe v. Caldwell, the class action filed to remove all affected individuals from the registry, resulting in relief for over 800 class members. In addition to impact litigation, she maintains a small practice focused on challenging police profiling and brutality against women and LGBTQ people of color.

As a member of the national collective of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence from 2003 – 2008, she served on the editorial collective for the Color of Violence Anthology, and coordinated the development of the INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence Organizer’s Toolkit on Law Enforcement Violence Against Women of Color and Transgender People of Color.

Ritchie was also a primary author of In the Shadows of the War on Terror: Persistent Police Brutality and Abuse in the United States, a “shadow report” submitted on behalf of over 100 national and local organizations and individuals to the United Nations Committee Against Torture, the United Nations Human Rights Committee, and the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Additionally, as a consultant to the U.S. Human Rights Network, she coordinated the participation of over 200 local, state and national organizations in the 2008 review of the U.S. government’s compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

She also served as expert consultant, lead researcher and coauthor for Amnesty International’s 2005 report Stonewalled: Police Abuse and Misconduct Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People in the United States, was a consultant for Caught in the Net, a report on women and the “war on drugs” published by the ACLU, the Brennan Center for Justice, and Break the Chains, and co-author of Education Not Deportation: Impacts of New York City School Safety Policies on Immigrant Youth, published by Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM).

Ritchie is currently at work on a book titled Invisible No More: Racial Profiling and Police Brutality Against Black Women and Women of Color to be published by Beacon Press in 2017.

She is a proud graduate of Howard University School of Law and had the privilege of clerking for the Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Linda Sarsour
Executive Director, Arab American Association of New York
Linda Sarsour is an award-winning and nationally recognized racial justice and civil rights activist. She is a Palestinian Muslim American woman born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She is a community organizer, trainer and every Islamophobe’s worst nightmare.

She is the co-founder of MPower Change, the first ever online organizing platform for Muslims by Muslims and the Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York. Linda has been at the forefront of major civil rights campaigns including calling for an end to unwarranted surveillance of New York’s Muslim communities, incorporating Muslim holidays into the NYC public school calendar, ending police brutality and creating law enforcement accountability. Linda is well respected amongst diverse communities in both in New York City and nationally. She was named one of 500 most influential Muslims in the world. She is most known for her intersectional coalition work and building bridges across issues, racial, ethnic and faith communities.

Denese Shervington
President and CEO, Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies
Dr. Shervington has an intersectional career in psychiatry and public mental health. She is the President and CEO of The Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies (IWES), a community-based public health institute; and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Tulane University. At IWES, Dr. Shervington directs the community-based post-disaster mental health recovery division that she created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. At Tulane, Dr. Shervington provides psychotherapy supervision for psychiatric residents. Dr. Shervington is a graduate of New York University School of Medicine. She completed her residency in Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco, and is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Shervington also received a Masters of Public Health in Population Studies and Family Planning from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. In 2006, she was awarded the Isaac Slaughter Leadership award by the Black Psychiatrists of America. In 2012, she received the Jeanne Spurlock M.D. Minority Fellowship Award from the American Psychiatric Association.

Rhonda Williams
Associate Professor of History, Case Western Reserve University.
Social Justice Institute founder and director Rhonda Y. Williams, PhD is an associate professor of history and the founder and director of the postdoctoral fellowship in African American studies at Case Western Reserve University.

Her research interests include:

  • Manifestations of race and gender inequality on urban space and policy
  • History of low-income people’s lives and activism
  • Social justice and movements
  • Illicit narcotics economies in the post-1940s United States

The author of Concrete Demands: The Search for Black Power in the 20th Century (2015) and the award-winning The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality (2005), Williams has been honored by History News Network as a Top Young Historian; the Organization of American Historians as a Distinguished Lecturer; and is listed in the 2009 and 2015 editions of Who’s Who in Black Cleveland. Williams is a recipient of an American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Fellowship and a former Harvard University W.E.B. Du Bois Institute Fellow. She is the co-editor of the recently launched book series, Justice, Power, and Politics, with the University of North Carolina Press and co-editor of Teaching the American Civil Rights Movement.

Williams received her PhD in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 and her undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Maryland College Park in 1989, where she became that university’s first black salutatorian in its then 187-year history.

Miriam Yeung
Executive Director, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
Miriam W. Yeung, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), guides the country’s only national, multi-issue, progressive organization dedicated to social justice and human rights for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls in the US. With offices in NYC, DC and Atlanta, and chapters in 15 cities, NAPAWF is the country’s policy advocacy and leadership platform for AAPI women to win reproductive justice, immigrant rights and economic justice.

Prior to NAPAWF, Miriam held many positions during her 10-year career at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (the Center) in New York City, the last of which was Director of Public Policy & Government Relations where she oversaw policy matters on the local, state and federal level. She started her career at the Center as a Youth Worker responsible for empowering young people to fight bullying and create safer schools.

Miriam is published in diverse publications in print and online and is a sought after speaker and workshop presenter. In 2016 Miriam will receive the Ms. Foundation’s Woman of Vision award. In 2012, Miriam was recognized by the National Council for Research on Women (NCRW) with the Making A Difference for Women award. In 2007, Miriam received special recognition from the New York City Council for her work with the LGBT youth community.

Born in Hong Kong and raised in the projects of Brooklyn, Miriam is a proud queer Asian American immigrant woman activist who is committed to social-justice movement building and raising her two young daughters to be fearless. Miriam holds a Master of Public Administration from Baruch College and a bachelor’s from New York University.