GRITS 2022

Speakers

Colette Pichon Battle 2019 Obama Fellow [PREFERRED].jpeg

Colette Pichon Battle

Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy ​

Colette Pichon Battle is a generational native of Bayou Liberty, Louisiana. As founder and Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP), she develops programming focused on equitable disaster recovery, global migration, community economic development, climate justice, and energy democracy. 

Read more about Colette here.  

Liz Jordan

Immigration Detention Accountability Project Director for CREEC

Liz is the Immigration Detention Accountability Project Director at the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC) in Denver, Colorado. At CREEC, Liz has led the project through major class-action lawsuits, individual representation, technical assistance, and legal education at the intersection of immigration and disability justice. Liz is a fierce and compassionate advocate, using trauma-informed approaches and cross-cultural methods to meet people where they are and advocate for a more just future for immigrants in the United States.

Liz Jordan.png
Medha D. Makhlouf.png

Medha D. Makhlouf

Assistant Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Medical-Legal Partnership at Penn State Dickinson Law

Medha D. Makhlouf is an Assistant Professor of Law and the Founding Director of the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic at Penn State Dickinson Law. She is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Penn State College of Medicine. Professor Makhlouf’s research interests lie at the intersection of health law, immigrants’ rights, and poverty law and policy. Her current work focuses on immigrant access to health care and the many ways in which immigration status functions as a social determinant of health. Her recent work, The Public Charge Rule as Public Health Policy, has been cited by litigants and amici curiae in four federal lawsuits challenging the 2019 regulations expanding the scope of public charge inadmissibility.

Faizan Syed

Executive Director of CAIR-Texas DFW

Faizan Syed is the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Dallas Fort-Worth Texas (CAIR-Texas DFW), a chapter of the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization. He began his new role on October 14th, 2019 after being the Director of the Missouri Chapter of CAIR for 8-years. Faizan is passionate not only about defending civil rights, combating bigotry, and building a world in which all people are treated with compassion and respect, but also about empowering the American Muslim community. He has helped launch and supports various Muslim charities and causes.

Faizan.jpg
 
 
 
 
Erin Thorn Vela.png

Erin Thorn Vela

Senior Attorney for TCRP

Erin is a Senior Attorney in the Racial & Economic Justice Program, based in the Texas Civil Rights Program’s Alamo Office. Prior to joining TCRP, Erin worked as a civil attorney in the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office advising one of the largest counties on the US-Mexico border, and as a Judicial Law Clerk at the Port Isabel Detention Center Immigration Court. At TCRP, Erin has largely focused her advocacy on helping migrants at the US-Mexico border access the asylum system. In particular, she advocated for migrants forced by the Trump Administration into Northern Mexico under the Remain in Mexico program.

 

Mary DeFusco

Director of Training at the Defender Association of Philadelphia

Ms. DeFusco is the Director of Training at the Defender Association of Philadelphia.  She was Deputy Chief of the Municipal Court Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia from 1987 to 1995 and served as a trial attorney from 1982 to 1987. Ms. DeFusco is a founding member and President of the Board of Directors of Dawn’s Place, a home for women survivors of Commercial Sexual Exploitation.  She  was one of the founding members of the Philadelphia Treatment Court, the first problem-solving court in Pennsylvania. She was also instrumental in the founding of the Project Dawn Court, a problem solving court for women charged with prostitution. Ms. DeFusco serves as an Adjunct Professor in Trial Advocacy at both Villanova and Temple University Schools of Law.  She has also served as an instructor, an Assistant Team Leader, and a Co-Team Leader for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy since 1991. Ms. DeFusco received her JD from Temple University School of Law and her BA from the University of Pennsylvania.

 
Lauren Simmons Mitchell.jpeg

Lauren Simmons-Mitchell

Lead Organizer for the National Domestic Workers Alliance

Lauren Simmons-Mitchell is a lead organizer for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, where she organizes Black domestic domestic workers through the organization’s We Dream in Black program. A native Houstonian from the 3rd Ward area where she attended the historic Jack Yates Sr. High School and from there The University of Texas at Austin where she studied sociology. She began her career in the labor movement as an organizer with the Texas State Employees Union, a statewide CWA local and then later as an organizer with the American Federation of Teachers Houston organizing project organizing school employees in the Houston ISD. After a brief pause to focus on her family and to pursue a personal passion of anti-violence related community organizing, she returned to the labor movement as a Senior Organizer for United for Respect, where she had her first experience in non-union labor organizing. Passionate about centering the voices of Black workers in the fight for labor rights and addressing anti-blackness and racism within the labor movement she found her way to the National Domestic Workers Alliance to lead the We Dream in Black Houston Chapter.  A devoted mother of two, wife and community activist, she is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority incorporated currently serving in the Houston Alumnae chapter. 

 

Kim Kelly 

Independent Journalist, Author, and Organizer

Kim Kelly is an independent journalist, author, and organizer. She has been a regular labor columnist for Teen Vogue since 2018, and her writing on labor, class, politics, and culture has appeared in The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Baffler, The Nation, the Columbia Journalism Review, and Esquire, among many others. Kelly has also worked as a video correspondent for More Perfect Union, The Real News Network, and Means TV. Previously, she was the heavy metal editor at Noisey, VICE’s music vertical, and was an original member of the VICE Union. A third-generation union member, she is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World’s Freelance Journalists Union as well as a member and elected councilperson for the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). Her first book, 'FIGHT LIKE HELL: The Untold History of American Labor,' comes out 4/26 on One Signal/Simon & Schuster.

Kim Kelly.png
 
tara.jpeg

Tara Mikkilineni

Senior Attorney for Civil Rights Corp

 

Tara’s work focuses on fighting the criminalization of poverty and wealth-based pretrial detention, and on the accountability of prosecutors and other legal system actors. Her cases include a lawsuit against the District Attorney’s Office for Orleans Parish for its yearslong patterns of misconduct towards witnesses; a challenge to the money bail practices in Hamblen County, Tennessee, which resulted in a preliminary injunction; habeas representation of clients in Oregon, and challenges to modern-day debtors’ prisons in Oklahoma, Missouri and Tennessee. Tara began her civil rights career as a Special Litigation attorney at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where she litigated cases in the D.C. and federal courts about prosecutorial misconduct, DNA databases, the constitutionality of sex offender conditions, eyewitness identification, and civil asset forfeiture. Most recently, she was a Fair Lending Enforcement attorney at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She has also represented habeas petitioners on death row in California, and worked at a technology startup. Tara clerked for Judge Emilio Garza on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and is a graduate of UC Berkeley, the London School of Economics and NYU Law School, where she was an Articles Editor on the Law Review.

 

César Miguel Vega Magallón

 

Mexico Advocacy Fellow for The Rhizome Center for Migrants

 

César Miguel is the Mexico Advocacy Fellow for The Rhizome Center for Migrants. A formerly-undocumented community organizer who resided in northern Los Angeles County, CA for 25 years, he has worked for over a decade on various local, statewide, and national campaigns to advance the rights and opportunities of migrants and US-born Latinxs and has spoken about issues of health, disability, access and related themes in the lives of migrants for universities across North America, most recently at McMaster University (Toronto) and the University of California, Berkely. 

 

Having self-deported to Guadalajara in 2018, César Miguel’s passion is taking steps to restore autonomy, justice and dignity in the lives of those displaced by the United States in his natal Jalisco and making it a dignified home for migrants whatever their origins or their reasons.

César Miguel.jpg
 
Kristen Schlemmer.jpg

Kristen Schlemmer

 

Legal Director for Bayou City Waterkeeper

 

Kristen Schlemmer is the Legal Director and Waterkeeper for Bayou City Waterkeeper, which works across Houston to advance water, climate, and infrastructure justice. As a lawyer licensed in Texas, Kristen uses the law as a tool to strengthen the organization's broader advocacy alongside local communities affected by water pollution and flooding. By weaving the law into broader advocacy efforts, Kristen led Bayou City Waterkeeper's efforts to finalize a $2 billion consent decree committing the city of Houston to transform its sewage system over the next generation, a key source of pollution into local bayous and Galveston Bay.

 

Lesley Albritton

 

Project Coordinator and Managing Attorney of the Disaster Relief Project at LANC

 

Lesley Wiseman Albritton is the Project Coordinator and Managing Attorney of the Disaster Relief Project at Legal Aid of North Carolina, Inc., where she is privileged to work with a team of outstanding lawyers, paralegals, and social workers assisting North Carolinians recover from natural disasters. In this role, Ms. Albritton leads LANC’s response to Hurricanes Matthew, Florence, and Dorian, Tropical Storm Fred and numerous other smaller events. Ms. Albritton is a member of the State Emergency Management Housing Recovery Support Function, serves on the board of the NC Housing Coalition and is a member of the North Carolina Rural Inclusive Recovery Network’s taskforce.  She is a contributing author to the American Bar Association’s recent book, Meeting the Legal Needs of Disaster Survivors. Her article, Disasters Do Discriminate: Black Land Tenure and Disaster Relief Programs, was published in the ABA Journal on Affordable Housing. She regularly teaches continuing legal education classes on disaster law to other attorneys. She received her law degree from Ohio Northern University, where she graduated with High Distinction. She was named a 2019 Leader in the Law by North Carolina Lawyer’s Weekly. She lives in Greenville, North Carolina with her husband and three sons.

Lesley-Albritton - Head Shot.png
 
AnaLaurel.jpg

Ana Laurel

 

Staff Attorney at TRLA

 

Ana Laurel (she / hers / ella) is a Rio Grande Valley-based staff attorney at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. where she works on disaster recovery, housing, and legal research related to drainage in the RGV. Ana recently completed an Equal Justice Works’ (EJW) Disaster Recovery Legal Corps Fellowship. Ana holds a J.D. from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University (2019), where she earned her Indian Legal certificate and worked at TRLA as an EJW Rural Summer Legal Corps Fellow.

 

Kelly Haragan

 

Clinical Professor and Director of the Environmental Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law

 

Kelly Haragan is a clinical professor and Director of the Environmental Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law. Kelly joined the faculty in 2008. Prior to joining the Clinic, Kelly worked as legal counsel for national nonprofits including: the Environmental Integrity Project in Washington DC, Environmental Defense Fund in Austin, and Public Citizen’s Austin office. She also worked at the Austin firm Henry, Lowerre, Johnson, Hess & Frederick, representing citizen and environmental groups in permitting and enforcement matters. Kelly specializes in Clean Air Act permitting and enforcement.

Kelly Haragan.jpeg
 
20200609_232054.jpg

Carl Nix

 

Participatory Defense-Bond Fund Organizer, Grassroots Leadership

 

Carl Nix is a native Houstonian and has had the opportunity to work and volunteer with numerous organizations whose mission is centered around advocating for those impacted by the criminal justice system. While volunteering with organizations such as the Bail Project and Restoring Justice, Carl works with community members and leaders, engaging in issues important to them. He believes that advocating for a fair and equitable justice system should be  one of highest priority, yet it’s one of the least talked about. In his early adult years, Carl experienced the pressures of the unjust carceral system when he saw his mother take a plea deal for a case that should have been dismissed based on evidence. From that day moving forward Carl has been intentional in his advocating for a fair and equitable justice system for all.

 

Zoha Khalili

 

Staff Attorney for Palestine Legal

 

Zoha Khalili is a staff attorney at Palestine Legal. Based in Southern California, she provides legal advice and advocacy support to activists in the movement for Palestinian freedom on issues ranging from free speech violations, discrimination and disciplinary charges to doxxing, surveillance and threats.

Zoha.jpg
 
Azadeh.jpeg

Azadeh Shahshahani

 

Legal and Advocacy Director of Project South

 

Azadeh has worked for a number of years in the U.S. South to protect and defend immigrants and Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities. She previously served as president of the National Lawyers Guild and as National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director with the ACLU of Georgia. Azadeh serves on the Advisory Council of the American Association of Jurists and on the Board of Directors of Defending Rights and Dissent. Azadeh has served as a trial monitor in Turkey, an election monitor in Venezuela and Honduras, and as a member of the jury in people’s tribunals on Mexico, the Philippines, and Brazil. She has also participated in international fact-finding delegations to post-revolutionary Tunisia and Egypt as well as a delegation focused on the situation of Palestinian political prisoners. Her writings have appeared in the Guardian, the Nation, MSNBC, USA Today, Aljazeera, and HuffPost, among others.  In 2016, Azadeh was chosen by the Mundo Hispanico Newspaper as an Outstanding Person of the Year for defending the rights of immigrants in Georgia. In 2017, she was chosen by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the 40 under 40 notable Georgians.

 
Carlie Ware.png

Carlie Ware

 

Deputy Public Defender in Santa Clara County, California

 

Carlie graduated from Yale University in 2000 as an all-Ivy League fastpitch softball player. She graduated U.C. Berkeley School of Law, Boalt Hall in 2003. She began her legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Claudia Wilken on the United States District Court, Northern District of California. Carlie received the Relman Civil Rights Fellowship in 2004 from Relman & Colfax in Washington, D.C. where she spent a year learning how to litigate civil rights claims in housing and public accommodations. Her most notable case as the Relman Fellow involved representing 68 plaintiffs in a municipal services discrimination claim, in which an entire African American community in Zanesville, Ohio, was deprived of public residential water service in same neighborhood where white residents received public water. In 2005, Carlie was awarded the Marvin Karpatkin Fellowship in the Racial Justice Project of the national American Civil Liberties Union. She was then hired as a staff attorney at the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project. At the ACLU, she challenged the racially disparate impact of the Seattle Police Department, which arrested 96% African American suspects for drug-sales related offenses despite the city’s overall 8% black population. Carlie has served as a Deputy Public Defender in Santa Clara County since 2009. She has represented adult and juvenile clients at all stages of defense in criminal prosecution. She has tried over 25 cases to a jury verdict, including cases exposing clients to life in prison. She is the author of a chapter about Search and Seizure Motions in the Continuing Education of the Bar California Criminal Law Procedure and Practice guide published by Board of Governors of the State Bar of California and Regents of the University of California. She volunteers as a high school mock trial coach, teaching the next generation of attorneys how to persuade using trial practice, the rules of evidence, and the performance of the art of public speaking.

 
Ahmad Abuznaid.jpg

Ahmad Abuznaid

 

Executive Director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights

 

Ahmad Abuznaid is the Executive Director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. Prior to joining USCPR, Ahmad was a co-founder of the Dream Defenders serving as Legal & Policy Director/COO during his time there. Ahmad went on to serve as the Executive Director of the National Network for Arab American Communities from 2017-2019.

 

Shoshana Krieger

 

Project Director of BASTA

 

Shoshana Krieger is the Project Director of Building and Strengthening Tenant Action (BASTA) at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. BASTA organizes Austin renters to work with their neighbors to ensure that all Austinites have access to safe and affordable housing by facilitating the development of tenant associations and supporting those associations with legal representation. BASTA targets slumlords who profit off of renting substandard properties the conditions of which negatively impact the health of families. Prior to her work at BASTA, Shoshana was a staff attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County (NLSLA) for four years. Shoshana graduated from UCLA in 2011 with a joint degree in law and urban planning. While at UCLA, she focused her studies on community and economic development, housing, and food policy. Prior to graduate school, Shoshana worked as a tenants rights’ organizer at Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) in New York where she advocated for the rights of project-based Section 8 tenants and spearheaded GOLES’s land-use and planning campaigns.

Shoshana Krieger Headshot.jpg
 
Bautista .JPG

Edwin Bautista

 

Management Assistant at Texas Housers

 

Edwin Bautista is a management assistant at Texas Housers, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation established in Austin in 1988 with a mission to support low-income Texans’ efforts to achieve the American dream of a decent, affordable home in a quality neighborhood. He moved to Austin in 2016 from the small outskirt city of Wichita Falls in north Texas and earned a B.A. in Urban Studies from UT Austin in 2020; he is currently pursuing a M.S. in Community and Regional Planning at UT Austin. Edwin is a multi-year participant in the City of Austin's S.M.A.R.T. Housing program and has previous experience helping people find housing in Austin as a licensed apartment locator with Housing Scout. He is drawn to the intersection of city planning and policy and has an ambitious goal to restructure contemporary planning practices and policies to more effectively prioritize social equity and environmental sustainability. Edwin is a strong advocate for affordable housing and community representation, he currently serves on the City of Austin College Student Commission and is the Managing Director for the West Campus Neighborhood Association.

Nefertitti Jackmon.webp

Nefertitti Jackmon

 

Housing & Policy Planning Manager in Displacement Mitigation for the City of Austin

 

Nefertitti Jackmon is a Cultural Strategist and currently serves as the City of Austin’s first Community Displacement Prevention Officer. Jackmon leads the Housing and Planning department’s Displacement Prevention Division where she is instrumental in developing and leading programming and outreach, including the $300 million anti-displacement investments for Project Connect, described as a “comprehensive transit system expansion that will help transform Austin into one of the most sustainable, inclusive and innovative regions in the country.” In this role, Jackmon, worked with community members, consultants, and City staff to co-create an Equity Tool to inform investment priorities for anti-displacement funds related to Project Connect. This tool will be instrumental guiding the use of anti-displacement funding to benefit people most at risk of displacement from high-capacity transit investments.Since COVID-19, Jackmon collaborated with department leadership, partners, and her team to successfully program and deploy over $100 million in tenant stabilization services including RENT, the City’s response to provide emergency rental assistance to households in need. In January 2022 she was listed as one of Texas’ Top 100 Influential leaders impacting the Texas economy by the Austin, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio Business Journals. Prior to joining the Housing and Planning Department, she had served in the nonprofit sector for more than 25 years.

 
 
Chantel.jpg

Chantel Pridgon

 

Participatory Defense and Bond Fund Organizer for Grassroots Leadership

 

Chantel Pridgon is a native from Austin, Texas and in 2005, received her Bachelor's of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Prairie View A&M University, in Prairie View, Texas. Chantel then spent 15 years as an educator. Over the years, life happened and Chantel became a directly impacted person and her passion for criminal justice reform was ignited. In 2018 Chantel became a member of Texas Advocates for Justice (TAJ) because her frustrations with an unjust system towards people of color were at an all time high. Chantel went in head first volunteering her time, protesting at the Affordable Housing conference for Homes Not Handcuffs, and campaigning for the Freedom City Policy Initiative in Austin by sharing her story. Later that year she was selected to become the Amos Walker TAJ fellow in Austin and in 2019 became the Austin TAJ Field Organizer and full time employee with Grassroots Leadership. By the end of 2020 Chantel would embark into her new role as Participatory Defense and Bond Fund Organizer in Austin. I am extremely excited to be in this position because the tools from Participatory Defense empower families to advocate for their loved ones and will change the landscape of power from the courtroom to the community. Chantel has learned that nothing happens overnight, everything is a process. Fighting the system is a battle that must be taken on by a collective and that motivates her to endure to the end.

 

Heather Way

 

Co-Director of the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law

 

Heather K. Way co-directs the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic, which delivers transactional legal assistance to small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and community groups in Texas. Way has more than 20 years of experience working on the creation of equitable and inclusive communities, with a focus on affordable housing, gentrification and displacement, problem properties (including code enforcement), land title issues, informal housing, seller financing, and housing preservation. In addition, Way is the founder and steering committee member of the UT Opportunity Forum, an interdisciplinary collaborative of faculty at the University of Texas at Austin working on fostering equitable communities. Way was previously a Skadden Fellow at Legal Aid of Central Texas, where she founded Texas Community Building with Attorney Resources, a statewide program that has delivered millions of dollars in pro bono legal assistance to CDCs and other nonprofit organizations. After graduating from UT Law, Way clerked for the Honorable William Wayne Justice of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. She is the co-host of the Uprooted Website, which features resources for addressing displacement in gentrifying neighborhoods.

heather.jpeg
 
BoDelp.jpeg

Bo Delp

 

Executive Director of the Texas Climate Jobs Project

 

Bo Delp is the Executive Director of Texas Climate Jobs Project, a statewide nonprofit advancing a pro-worker, pro-climate agenda to build the Texas labor movement. For nearly a decade, Bo has worked to support strategic organizing by helping secure more than a dozen municipal and county policies, including the first Responsible Bidder Ordinance (RBO) in Texas. Most recently, Bo directed strategic research and political efforts for UNITE HERE Local 23, the 18,000-person hospitality workers’ union stretching across the U.S. South from Washington D.C. to Texas. Before that, Bo served as the Better Builder Program & Policy Director for Workers Defense Project, a 501(c)3 committed to improving working conditions for low-wage immigrant construction workers in Texas. He previously served in the Obama Administration as Assistant Press Secretary at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington D.C. Bo earned his BA from Texas Tech University, and his MA and PhD from Cardiff University in the United Kingdom.

 

Helen Gaebler

 

Senior Research Attorney at the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law

 

Ms. Gaebler's current work focuses primarily on criminal legal system reform, with particular interests in parole and reentry. In addition to teaching a project-based Topics in Reentry course, she directs the law school’s Pro Bono Parole Project, which recruits law students to represent parole eligible women incarcerated in central Texas. Ms. Gaebler is active in the Texas reentry community, including as a member of the Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable Planning Council and the Texas Supreme Court Children's Commission Parent Resource Work Group, and provides research support to reentry-focused organizations across Texas. Prior to joining the Justice Center, Ms. Gaebler was the Assistant Director for the Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth, and Families, at the University of Arizona, where she also taught family law. Ms. Gaebler has also served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Arizona Attorney General, as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, and as a litigator at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C. Ms. Gaebler clerked for the Honorable Nathan Heffernan, Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

helen.jpeg
Dixon Headshot.jpg

Karly Jo Dixon

 

Managing Attorney of Client Services at Texas Fair Defense Project

 

Karly Jo Dixon is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas School of Law. Karly Jo came to Texas Fair Defense Project as an Equal Justice Works Fellow in 2016, working on TFDP’s Criminal Justice Debt Initiative. Using direct representation, community education, advocacy, and volunteer legal clinics Karly Jo works to stop courts from incarcerating people who cannot afford to pay their Class C tickets and related fees, and helps people facing this unaffordable debt avoid warrants, arrest, jail time, and driver’s license suspensions. Under her leadership, in 2022 TFDP will continue to expand TFDP's client services and reach underserved jurisdictions throughout Texas.

Ana Rosa Granados

 

Director of Services for Texas Harm Reduction Alliance

 

Ana Rosa is a Salvadoran with a history of advocacy and human rights work. Ana Rosa as a Director of Services believes harm reduction is practiced in our everyday lives and is dedicated to expanding the harm reduction movement in Texas and eventually nationally.

 

She believes in the system of self empowerment and emergent strategies to help organize communities together to further practice harm reduction and to fight stigmas. Throughout her life, she has worked in almost every field of advocacy: fair-housing, harm reduction, prison reform policy, economic justice, immigration, and homelessness. She has a degree in Philosophy and Political Science and she enjoys relationship building, painting and writing in her downtime!

AnaRosa.jpeg
 
 
 

Phi Nguyễn

 

Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta 

 

Phi Nguyen is the Executive Director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta. In her previous role, she was the Litigation Director where she focused on impact litigation in the areas of voting rights and immigrant justice. Since joining Advancing Justice-Atlanta in early 2017, Phi has helped block a Georgia state law that restricted voters’ right to an interpreter at the polls and represented a class of Vietnamese immigrants suing the federal government over the indefinite nature of their detention in ICE prisons.

Phi graduated from the Georgia State University School of Law in 2009 and practiced as a medical malpractice trial lawyer for eight years before dedicating herself to community-centered civil rights litigation. Growing up in the South as a Vietnamese American with refugee parents, Phi's life experiences formed into her passion to protect and expand the civil rights of AAPIs and other marginalized communities. Phi was introduced to Advancing Justice-Atlanta in 2016 when she partnered with them to lead Vietnamese Voices, a voter registration drive targeting Vietnamese Americans; this became a jumping off point for further grassroots efforts to politically mobilize AAPI communities. Phi also co-produced Wake Up, Atlanta, a web series dedicated to educating and civically empowering AAPI millennials in Georgia.

Phi Nguyen - exported_edited.jpg
Alice Yi

Alice Ming Fei Yi

 

Southeast Region Chair of Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association

 

Alice has mobilized Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities in Austin for over 25 years. In 2014, she founded the Austin TX Chapter of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (apapa.org), then help developed Dallas Chapter and Houston Chapter, and is APAPA's TX Regional Chair now. For the past eight years working as a local partner with the Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote organization (APIAVote.org). She is the E.D for Asian Texans for Justice ( ATJ), and the Asian American Community Liaison to Congressman Lloyd Doggett. She is also the member of Advisory Committee of Texas Blue Action (TBA). Alice was on the Executive Board of the National Asian American PAC. 

 
 
JadaX.jpg

Jada X

 

Community Defender and Core Team Member with Free Hearts 

Jada X, mother of 3 young adults; one intertwined in the legal system with some very serious charges. Parent, advocate and Core Team member with Participatory Defense's Tennessee hub - Free Hearts. Educational background in Criminal Justice, Psychology and Public Service Management. Professional background in social services, Human Resources and Project Management.

 

Fighter for freedom, justice and equality!

 

Check back regularly as we continue to add our speaker bios!