ASHLEIGH STARNES | MAY 29, 2019
The Shriver Center’s Racial Justice Institute trains each cohort on racial equity in anti-poverty advocacy.
The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law recently announced that 42 Fellows, including four of our team members, have been selected to take part in its Racial Justice Institute (RJI).
The Racial Justice Institute is a leadership program that equips and coordinates anti-poverty advocates to address the role that racism plays in causing and perpetuating poverty. The 2019 cohort includes Safe and Stable Homes Director Cole Thaler, Staff Attorney Ayanna Jones-Lightsy, and Community Advocates Nekesha Whitaker and Shamyya Wyatt.
The 2019 cohort is made up of 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, and more.
The Racial Justice Institute is a leadership program that equips and coordinates anti-poverty advocates to address the role that racism plays in causing and perpetuating poverty.
“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.”
Three of our four new RJI Fellows work directly in Atlanta schools, where they provide free legal and social assistance to systemically disadvantaged communities through the Standing with Our Neighbors program.
We are looking forward to the education and advocacy that will come from this Fellowship, and are exciting about the way it will impact our programs. Our team members will bring back what they learn to better serve our communities, ultimately helping to create a fairer and more equitable Atlanta.
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
Communications Manager (Interim)
As AVLF’s Interim Communications Manager, Ashleigh works in website content development, social media outreach, and various other forms of communication with our clients, volunteers, and supporters.
Ashleigh is ever-eager to share the remarkable stories of our work, and the impact of AVLF’s staff and volunteers on our community.
Before joining AVLF, Ashleigh was a Fulbright Scholar in Turkey. She holds a BA in English and Linguistics from the University of Georgia. She is also a performance artist, and can occasionally be seen performing movement pieces, poetry, and combinations of the two around Atlanta and beyond.