Kareem Crayton is a widely cited and internationally respected scholar, expert, and consultant whose work centers on the intersection of law, politics, and race. He is the only academic in the United States with formal training in law and political science whose primary work explores the relationship between race and politics in representative institutions. The insights and analyses from his research have distinguished him as a leading voice in academia and a key player in public policy debates. His commentary, insight, and analysis regularly appear both in highly-ranked academic publications along with major media outlets including The New York Times, PBS, and Fox News.
A native of Montgomery, Alabama, Kareem is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College (Government) and holds a Ph.D. in Political Science as well as a law degree from Stanford University. He is a recipient of a National Foundation Graduate Fellowship in support of his graduate studies.
Kareem’s academic work addresses the varied effects of state-sanctioned racial exclusion and discrimination on campaigns, elections, and governance in the political system. His publications employ interdisciplinary methods to examine ongoing controversies ranging from voter polarization, ballot measures, electoral campaigning, legislative caucus behavior, to partisan competition. The work also engages these questions on a global scale, including the formation of constitutional systems that respect racial and ethnic diversity.
Allison Riggs leads the voting rights program at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, an organization she joined in 2009. Her voting rights work has been focused on fighting for fair redistricting plans, fighting against voter suppression, and advocating for electoral reforms that would expand access to voting.
She has litigated redistricting cases on behalf of State NAACP Conferences in Texas, Florida, Virginia and North Carolina. In 2018, she argued the Texas redistricting case in the United States Supreme Court. Allison works closely with grassroots organizations and communities of color as they seek to advance their political and civil rights. She received her undergraduate, Master’s Degree and J.D. from the University of Florida.
Myesha Braden leads the Justice System Reform program at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, which houses the organization’s criminal justice and youth justice teams, and challenges practices that drive mass incarceration, produce economic inequality, and deny the full benefits of democracy to people of color and the poor through over-criminalization and punishment designed to generate revenue rather than protect public safety.
Before joining SCSJ, Myesha established a successful career as a civil rights attorney and criminal justice reform expert. She served in the United States Department of Justice for 16 years as a trial attorney, federal prosecutor, and legislative & policy counsel. In the Civil Rights Division, she prosecuted police misconduct, hate crimes, and interference with federally protected activities. As a legislative & policy counsel, she led the Division’s efforts during development of Attorney General Holder’s Smart on Crime Initiative and served as Chair of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council’s Collateral Consequences Working Group. She is a recipient of the National Crime Victims’ Rights Award and the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award.
Myesha served in the Obama Administration as a senior policy advisor and supported White House efforts to advance criminal justice reform, juvenile justice, disability rights, voting rights, and environmental justice. She coordinated the “White House Review of Federal Support for Local Law Enforcement Equipment Acquisition,” which culminated in President Obama’s signing of Executive Order 13688, restricting the transfer of military equipment to civilian law enforcement agencies. She also orchestrated the 2014 White House Summit on Children of Incarcerated Parents.
Prior to joining SCSJ, Myesha was the inaugural Director for the Criminal Justice Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Her writing has been published in USA Today, Newsweek, the ABA Journal, and the Baltimore Sun. She has appeared as a subject matter expert on C-SPAN, Sirius XM, and other media platforms.
A Louisiana native, Myesha is a proud graduate of Southern University and A&M College, one of the nation’s largest Historically Black Colleges & Universities. She received her J.D. from Tulane University School of Law, where she was selected to The Order of Barristers.
Jaclyn Maffetore is a staff attorney in SCSJ’s voting rights section, where she engages in litigation and policy advocacy promoting fair districts and voter enfranchisement for marginalized communities. Growing up in Southeastern North Carolina and witnessing discrimination first hand, Jaclyn developed a strong sense of justice and fairness that guided her toward the legal profession at a young age. Jaclyn received her B.A. in Political Science from Wake Forest University in 2013, and received her J.D. with honors from Elon University School of Law in 2016.
During her time at Wake Forest, she focused her studies on the politics of identity and intersectionality, which highlighted the disparate treatment minority groups have faced in our political systems. While at Elon, Jaclyn served as Vice President of Elon’s OutLaw chapter, was a member of the Moot Court Board, and participated as a student member of the Inns of Court. Jaclyn first came to the Southern Coalition as a full-time Voting Rights extern in her final year of law school, solidifying her commitment to use her law degree as a tool for change.
Jeff Loperfido is a Staff Attorney with SCSJ’s Voting Rights group. His practice focuses on litigation and policy advocacy that ensures the fair and full participation of all voters.
Jeff graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Business Administration and a B.A. in Economics, and earned his J.D. cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Following law school, he served as a law clerk to the Hon. Norma L. Shapiro, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and then worked in private practice for five years at the New York City law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP. In 2015, he shifted his practice to government work, serving as senior counsel in the Special Federal Litigation Division of the New York City Law Department. Jeff returned to North Carolina in 2017 committed to dedicating his future professional efforts to social justice causes and is excited to have found that opportunity at SCSJ.
Gregory K. Moss Jr. is a staff attorney and project manager on the voting rights team. He works to educate voters on various issues related to voting. Gregory also assists the team with preparing for voting rights litigation. Gregory attended North Carolina Central University for college. At school he became involved in community organizing and fell in love with the work. This ultimately led to his decision to attend law school.
Gregory attended New England Law Boston. He was a member of the New England Law Review. Gregory also interned at the North Carolina Supreme Court, the Greater Boston Legal Services Foreclosure Unit, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, and at Shaw University Divinity School. After law school, Gregory clerked for the Honorable Joe L. Webster at the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. Subsequently, Gregory clerked for Justice Michael R. Morgan of the North Carolina Supreme Court. Gregory became an attorney to make a positive difference in the lives of everyday Americans and to help to raise the bar in the legal profession.
Mitchell Brown is a native of Fredericksburg, VA, but has familial roots in Greensboro, NC. Mitchell graduated from the New York University School of Law in May 2017 where he served as the Chair of the Black Allied Law Students Association (BALSA). Mitchell also graduated from North Carolina A&T State University in May 2012, earning a B.S. in Business Economics and a minor in Philosophy.
After graduating from law school, Mitchell clerked for the Honorable J. Michelle Childs on the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina and for the Honorable Chief Judge Carl E. Stewart on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Mitchell’s inspiration for entering the legal field originates from a biblical and community standpoint. He believes that he has been called to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, to defend the defenseless, and to empower those who feel powerless.
Mitchell’s favorite quote is: “If purpose is present, then nothing can stop the determined individual from his/her rendezvous with destiny” (Anonymous).
Peggy D. Nicholson is Director of the Youth Justice Project, which works to ensure equity, fairness, and justice for North Carolina youth in high-quality education, juvenile, and criminal systems. She graduated from the University of North Carolina with a B.A. in Political Science and African Studies, and earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2011. During law school, Peggy participated in the Child Advocacy and Criminal Justice Clinics and was President of the Public Interest Law Association. After law school but prior to joining SCSJ, Peggy was Supervising Attorney of Advocates for Children’s Services of Legal Aid of North Carolina, where she provided legal assistance to students and parents experiencing school push-out, conducted community education and outreach on school-to-prison pipeline issues, and collaborated with other education justice advocates across the state.
Chantel Cherry-Lassiter is a Staff Attorney at SCSJ whose work focuses on criminal justice. She grew up in rural Northeastern North Carolina. She earned her M.P.A from Strayer University and her B.S. in Criminal Justice from Elizabeth City State University. Prior to attending law school, she worked for Elizabeth City State University in the Accounting Department. However, most of her ten-year career with the State of North Carolina was spent as a Child Support Enforcement Agent. She earned her J.D. from North Carolina Central University School of Law, where she also earned a Certification in Civil Rights and Constitutional Law. While attending NCCU Law she was President of the Civil Rights and Constitutional Law Society, President of Teens N Transition, and served as a Guardian ad Litem for Durham County.
During law school, she participated in over 700 hours of pro bono legal work. In 2018, she was awarded the Durham County Bar Association’s Adam Lischer Scholarship for her commitment to serving Durham’s underserved population. Chantel was also awarded North Carolina Central University’s Student Service Impact Award. She received a Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of dedicated public service from the North Carolina State Bar Association. She was also honored to receive the H.M. Michaux Award for Public Service.
Christopher Ketchie serves as the Southern Coalition’s in-house demographer and data analyst, where he specializes in research, analysis, and spatial visualization of demographic and electoral data to provide an evidence base for advocacy, community organizing, and litigation. After completing his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2002, he pursued his sense of adventure by moving out west to become a wildland firefighter for the United States Forest Service.
In 2007, he returned home to study at North Carolina State University, where he received his master’s degree in Forestry and Environmental Resources with a concentration in Geographic Information Systems. Christopher previously worked for SCSJ from 2011 to 2015 and, after spending a few years working for a land trust in Eastern North Carolina, he rejoined the ranks in October 2018.
Sala Abdallah is a formerly incarcerated man dedicated to righting his wrong through outreach to the youth, and bringing consciousness to the community by making them aware their voices are heard and opinions matter. Mr. Abdallah believes if the youth channel their efforts to the right causes, we can make a difference. He campaigns for Second Chance and Ban the Box, and he is a dedicated member/organizer for All of Us or None. His intention as a Community Organizer with SCSJ is to carry out the legacy of the late great Umar Salute Muhammad.
Stacy Hamilton earned her undergraduate degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Management and Accounting from Shaw University, and she received her MBA from the University of Phoenix. She has served as SCSJ’s Office Manager since November 2015. In that capacity, she manages SCSJ’s finances, oversees office administration, and provides human resource services. Before joining SCSJ she provided accounting services for a number of small businesses. She is a lover of animals and spontaneous adventures.
Alan Lee’s CPA practice specializes in providing CFO services. He has guided the finance affairs of many non-profit clients for more than 25 years and has been SCSJ’s CFO since 2010. He is dedicated to supporting SCSJ’s management and board with financial forecasting, advice, and reporting. Before starting his own business, Alan was a commercial real estate financial executive, managing a staff of 100 and overseeing the operations of 15,000,000 square feet of Washington, D.C. office buildings. Alan lives in Sarasota, Florida.