Skip to main content
Advancing justice and opportunity
Menu ≡

Fellows Selected for Groundbreaking Race-Equity Training

Addressing racism remains integral to eradicating poverty; National race-equity network grows to advance justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michelle Nicolet, Marketing Director
312.368.2675, mnicolet@povertylaw.org

CHICAGO — The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law has announced that 41 Fellows have been selected to participate in the 2016 Racial Justice Training Institute (RJTI). RJTI is a national training program that builds the capacity of low-income people’s advocates to deploy up-to-date racial justice advocacy skills that address the role racism plays in causing and perpetuating poverty.

“RJTI puts race front and center in the fight for equal justice,” said Ellen Hemley, Vice President of Advocate Resources & Training at the Shriver Center. “As recent events throughout our country have painfully shown, it is more important now than ever to understand and address issues of race and implicit bias when advancing justice for marginalized communities.”    

The RJTI, with generous support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Pritzker Foundation, includes a combination of online and in-person training completed over a six-month period. Working in teams, and with support from skilled faculty, RJTI participants will gain the skills and knowledge necessary to address structural racialization in housing, education, employment, healthcare, and more. The program is guided by the credence that an effective advocacy agenda must be driven by advocates immersed in their communities, who have fostered a sense of shared values with and deep understanding of their clients and partners.

This year’s cohort consists of Fellows with a diversity of backgrounds. Participants include public interest lawyers, legal aid attorneys, and community organizers, with experience in a wide range of advocacy areas, including economic justice, criminal justice reform, immigrants’ rights, and voter protection, among others. Following the training, these Fellows will join a growing national alumni network of advocates working to advance a coordinated racial justice agenda.

“RJTI has certainly better equipped me to advance justice,” said Daryl Atkinson, Senior Attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCJ), who participated in RJTI in 2014 and 2015. Atkinson also currently serves as the Justice Department’s first-ever Second Chance Fellow. “The tools and knowledge provided by RJTI are essential for advocates looking to achieve race-equity in their communities.”

Entering its third year, RJTI has trained 80 advocates from 42 organizations in 19 states. This alumni network continues to work in concert on several issues, including education equity and fair housing. RJTI Fellows have also provided innovative advocacy approaches and civil litigation strategies in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Our Fellows emerge from the program ready to help shape policies and build the future for a racially just society,” Hemley added. “The real works starts after RJTI.”

The full list of participants can be found below.


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

2016 RJTI Fellows

Mike Black, Montana Legal Services Association, MT
Caitlin Borgmann, ACLU of Montana, MT
January Contreras, Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services, AZ
Sherisa Davis-Larry, Legal Aid Services of Oregon, OR
Magda Derisma, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, IL
Marcia Dinkins, Toledoans United for Social Action, OH
Abuko Estrada, New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, NM
Jessica Feierman, Juvenile Law Center, PA
Jennifer Ganata, Inner City Law Center, CA
Rachel Garland, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, PA
Peter Gilbert, Legal Aid of North Carolina, NC
Amanda Goad, Inner City Law Center, CA
Erin Goeman, Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services, AZ
Maia Goodell, MFY Legal Services, NY
Sovereign Hager, New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, NM
Andy Huff, Governor’s Office, State of Montana, MT
Phil Hwang, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, CA
C. Genevieve Jenkins, Inner City Law Center, CA
Karla Johnson, MFY Legal Services, NY
Patricia Jones, Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, TN
Samuel Keen, Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, TN
Cheryl Kleiman, Education Law Center, PA
Lorraine Lopez, Inner City Law Center, CA
Dorianne Mason, Ohio Justice and Policy Center, OH
Heather McCorkle, Legal Aid of North Carolina, NC
Sheila Miller, National Immigration Law Center, CA
Alvaro Moises, Huerta National Immigration Law Center, CA
Andrea Ogston, Legal Aid Services of Oregon, OR
Jerry Pena, Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative, OH
Rasheedah Phillips, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, PA
Wendy Pollack, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, IL
Nora Preciado, National Immigration Law Center, CA
Ashley Sawyer, Education Law Center, PA
Joyce Song, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, CA
Yvette Stackhouse, Legal Aid of North Carolina, NC
Jim Taylor, ACLU of Montana, MT
Whiquitta Tobar, Juvenile Law Center, PA
Marie Claire Tran-Leung, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, IL
Valicia Trowbridge, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, CA
Tangi Turner, Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services, AZ
Marla Williams, Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, TN

2016 RJTI Faculty and Coaches

Daryl Atkinson, U.S. Department of Justice; Southern Coalition for Social Justice, NC
Aneel Chablani, Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc., OH
Antionette Dozier, Western Center on Law and Poverty, CA
Anita Earls, Southern Coalition for Social Justice, NC
Fran Fajana, National Center on Law and Economic Justice, NY
Dorcas Gilmore, Consultant, MD
Justin Hansford, Saint Louis University School of Law, MO
Ellen Hemley, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, MA
Patty Hernandez, Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc., OH
Janerick Holmes, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, IL
Gavin Kearney, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, IL
Terry Keleher, Race Forward, IL
Bill Kennedy, The Race Equity Project, CA
Chinh Le, Legal Aid of District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.
Eva-Marie Malone, The Opportunity Agenda, NY
Kimberly Merchant, Mississippi Center for Justice, MS
Candace Moore, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law, IL
Ada Shen-Jaffe, Consultant, WA
Gillian Sonnad, Consultant, CA
Mona Tawatao, Western Center on Law and Poverty, CA
Kate Walz, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, IL


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

Download this
↑ Go up to the top.