About the ACLU's Racial Justice Program

The ACLU's Racial Justice Program (RJP) is dedicated to upholding racial equality and combating racism in all forms through litigation, community organizing and training, legislative initiatives, and public education to address the broad spectrum of issues that disproportionately and negatively impact people of color. The program currently challenges discrimination in education, housing, fair lending, policing, and the criminal justice system, and combats racial profiling, abusive debt collection practices, and discrimination in emergency custody proceedings involving the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Nusrat Choudhury is the Deputy Director of the ACLU's Racial Justice Program (RJP), where she pursues litigation and policy advocacy against racial discrimination by law enforcement and in the criminal justice system. Her current work challenges biased policing in Boston, abusive stop-and-frisk practices, misconduct by for-profit probation companies, and "debtors' prisons"- the illegal arrest and jailing of people too poor to pay fines and fees imposed in criminal cases. Previously, Nusrat was a staff attorney in the ACLU's National Security Project, where she focused on post-9/11 discrimination against racial and religious minorities, including challenges to government watchlists, NYPD religious profiling, FBI misconduct and abuse, and secrecy over intelligence programs resulting in racial, ethnic and religious profiling nationwide. Before that, Nusrat litigated racial profiling and school-to-prison pipeline cases as an RJP Karpatkin Fellow. She clerked for Judge Barrington D. Parker in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Denise Cote in the Southern District of New York. Nusrat completed her J.D. at Yale Law School, her M.P.A. at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and her B.A. at Columbia University.

Stephen Pevar is a Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU's Racial Justice Program, and has been on the National Legal Staff for 40 years. Stephen specializes in Indian and tribal rights, prisoners' rights, free speech of public employees, and the separation of church and state. He has litigated some 200 federal cases involving constitutional rights, including cases in more than ten different Federal District Courts, three different U.S. Courts of Appeals, and one case in the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to joining the ACLU, Stephen served as a staff attorney with South Dakota Legal Services on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation. In addition to his work with the ACLU, Stephen authored The Rights of Indians and Tribes (Oxford University Press 2012). He has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Denver School of Law and the University of Connecticut School of Law, and joined New York University School of Law as an adjunct professor in the spring of 2015. He is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Virginia School of Law.

Alejandro Agustin Ortiz is a Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program. Previously, he was a Senior Field Attorney with the National Labor Relations Board in its Manhattan office, where he investigated and prosecuted companies and unions accused of violating workers’ free association rights under the National Labor Relations Act. Among other cases, Alejandro helped prosecute McDonald’s USA, LLC, and 29 of its franchises in a consolidated trial that was the longest in NLRB history.  Despite the serious allegations, Ronald McDonald and the Hamburglar were spared from prosecution.  Alejandro clerked for Judges Christine M. Arguello and William J. Martínez of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado and Magistrate Judge Justo Arenas of the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.  He obtained his J.D. from the University of Colorado Law School, where he captained a successful co-ed flag football team called The Estoppels, and his B.A. from Virginia Tech University.

Orion Danjuma is a Staff Attorney with the ACLU's Racial Justice Program. Previously, he was an associate at the law firm Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady and a Skadden Fellow with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. He received his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 2010, where he was a Public Interest Fellow, co-president of the Black Law Students Association, and a Symposium Editor of the Stanford Law Review. During law school, Orion participated in the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic and received the Thelton E. Henderson prize for clinical work and the Steven M. Block Civil Liberties award for written work in the area of civil rights and personal freedom.  Before joining the ACLU, Orion clerked for the Honorable Ann Claire Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and the Honorable Myron H. Thompson of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Prior to law school, Orion worked for the Rockefeller Foundation’s global public health initiative. He has a B.A. from Yale University where he was a Mellon Mays fellow.

Rachel Goodman is a Staff Attorney with the Racial Justice Program, where she focuses on economic justice issues, particularly on discrimination in housing and lending, and on algorithmic discrimination. She represents the plaintiffs in Sandvig v. Lynch, a constitutional challenge to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act brought on behalf of computer researchers and journalists wishing to test websites for discrimination but chilled by the prospect of criminal liability. She has also litigated cases addressing discrimination in the subprime mortgage securitization system, racial profiling in air travel, and the school-to-prison pipeline. Ms. Goodman drafts amicus briefs for proceedings at all levels and engages in direct advocacy to private companies on data and discrimination issues, in partnership with privacy advocates and technologists inside and outside of the ACLU. She clerked for the Honorable Joseph A. Greenaway, III on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She graduated magna cum laude from New York University School of Law, where she was an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties and Civil Rights Fellow, and from Yale College.

Sarah Hinger is a Staff Attorney with the ACLU Racial Justice Program, where her work focuses on education and youth justice. Her recent work includes representing plaintiffs in Kenny v. Wilson, challenging a vague South Carolina law making it a crime to disturb a school. This law is applied far more frequently to Black students, and was invoked in the arrest of a student and plaintiff in the case, when she spoke out in protest while witnessing a classmate violently ripped from her desk by a school police officer. Prior to joining the ACLU, Sarah was a Trial Attorney with the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section, where she received the Assistant Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award. At the Civil Rights Division, she litigated issues of desegregation, discriminatory school discipline, classroom equity, discrimination against English language learners and immigrant and refugee students, and Title IX. Sarah previously served as a Karpatkin Fellow with the ACLU Racial Justice Program and a fellow and staff attorney with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. She completed her J.D. at Columbia Law School, her M.Phil. at the University of Cambridge, and her B.A. at the University of Virginia.

Amreeta Mathai is a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, where she specializes in Debtors’ Prison and Indigent Defense work. Prior to joining the ACLU, Amreeta was a Team Leader and staff attorney at the Bronx Defenders where she co-managed an interdisciplinary, holistic team of 41 advocates in criminal, civil, family and immigration defense. As a civil attorney on an interdisciplinary defense team, she directly represented clients in a variety of civil proceedings stemming from interactions with the criminal justice system including eviction proceedings in civil court and administrative fora, employment hearings, and public benefits hearings. Amreeta also served as a Lecturer-in-Law in the clinical program at Columbia Law School where she lectured on holistic public defense. After graduating from law school, Amreeta clerked for the Honorable Ivan L.R. Lemelle in the Eastern District of Louisiana. While in law school, Amreeta participated in the Predatory Lending Prevention/Consumer Protection Clinic in Jamaica Plains, Boston, the Harvard Human Rights Clinic and interned with plaintiff side employment firm Vladeck, Raskin & Clark, P.C as well as the ACLU’s National Security Program. Amreeta received her J.D. from Harvard Law School, her M.Phil. in Development Studies from the University of Oxford and her B.A. in History from the University of Chicago.

Mark Carter is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Oklahoma and a Staff Attorney at the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program where he focuses on indigenous justice. Previously, he served as Assistant General Counsel at the Gila River Indian Community where he advised and represented Community officials, departments, and committees. Before that, Mark was an Attorney-Advisor at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Tribal Justice where he advised various DOJ components on Indian law matters and helped serve as the primary point of contact within the department for tribes.  He was also a Wilma Mankiller Legal Fellow at the National Congress of American Indians. Mark obtained his B.A. in Philosophy at Texas Tech University and is a proud alum of the Pre-Law Summer Institute for American Indians and Alaska Natives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which he attended before attending and graduating from Cornell Law School.

Joshua David Riegel is the Marvin M. Karpatkin Fellow with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program. Before joining the ACLU, Joshua clerked for the Honorable Victor A. Bolden of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. He was an Excelsior Service Fellow with the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals and a pro bono attorney with the Clemency Project 2014. During law school, Joshua was a law clerk at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and a Ford Foundation Public Interest Fellow at the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice. He received a B.A. and M.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar and Senior Articles Editor of the New York University Law Review. Prior to law school, he worked as a paralegal for the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program and Women’s Rights Project.

Bobby Hunter is an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, where he focuses on challenging debtors’ prisons through litigation and supporting the work of direct services providers. During law school, he was a Latinx Rights Scholar and student advocate in the N.Y.U. Immigrant Rights Clinic, where he helped defend noncitizens in removal, post-conviction and habeas corpus cases, as well as co-authored Dismantle, Don’t Expand, a report about the 1996 immigration laws. Bobby has also interned with the Center for Appellate Litigation and the Federal Defenders of New York, and served as a student fellow for N.Y.U.’s Center on Race, Inequality and the Law. Prior to law school, he was a paralegal at Make the Road New York and the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, and provided research support to the Vera Institute of Justice’s Coming of Age with Stop and Frisk report. He graduated cum laude from New York University School of Law and magna cum laude from Brown University.

Sierra Mohamed is a Paralegal with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program. She is a graduate of Earlham College where she majored in Peace and Global Studies with a focus in Praxis and minored in African and African American Studies. While at Earlham, Sierra served as the At-Large Student Representative on the student senate and was named a Black Woman of Excellence by her student peers for her work addressing racism, gender violence, and trans/national xenophobia on campus. She was awarded the Designation of Distinction in Global Engagement for her work surrounding coalition building and international human rights, with a special focus on Palestine. In Spring 2016, Sierra interned at The Rainbow Project, the largest LGBT organization in Northern Ireland, where she created a database that works to provide origin-country information for LGBT asylum seekers coming to the United Kingdom.

Shyenne Medina is a Paralegal with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program. She is also a law student at City University of New York School of Law, where she serves as a Law Review staff member. Before joining the ACLU, Shyenne worked as a Senior Paralegal at The Children’s Law Center, a nonprofit organization aimed at giving children a strong voice in family law court proceedings.  She also previously taught grammar classes at Legal Outreach, a nonprofit organization that prepares traditionally underserved youth for college using both legal and educational programs. Shyenne is a graduate of Trinity College with a B.A. in Public Policy and Law. As an undergraduate, she served as a member of the college’s Honor Council and worked as a teaching assistant in the Public Policy and Law Department.

Sadé Evans is a Legal Assistant with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program. She is a recent graduate from Lafayette College where she majored in International Affairs with concentrations in four global regions themed around conflict and cooperation. While at Lafayette, Sade received a leadership award for co-founding the Concerned Student Coalition which furthered efforts at achieving diversity and inclusion on her campus. She also was member of her college’s Student Government and studied abroad in both Costa Rica and Morocco. Prior to the ACLU, Sadé has worked in a number of public interest positions including internships at the Environmental Defense Fund and the New York Supreme Court, Bronx County.

Afraz Khan is a Legal Assistant with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program. Previously, Afraz served as a Community Liaison at the Manhattan Borough President’s Office where he worked alongside elected officials and Community Boards in developing reforms on local issues including affordable housing and access to mental health resources. He recently graduated summa cum laude from New York University with a BA in International Relations where he obtained policy experience through his internships with the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Washington D.C. and the Fulbright Commission in Argentina. Through his passion for community engagement, Afraz coordinated several university-wide programs uniting thousands of students and community members to tackle issues of police brutality, Islamophobia and the deportation of undocumented students. In 2016, he was chosen as one of NYU’s 10 Most Influential Students.

 

 

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