Meredith Horton is the Deputy Executive Director at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. In this role, she holds a portfolio of leadership responsibilities that include helping with organizational strategy, staff development and budget and operational systems. Meredith has over 15 years of organizing, legal advocacy, grantmaking and program development experience on a range of social justice issues.
Prior to joining SCSJ, Meredith served as Principal at the executive search firm, Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group, and as Associate Legal Director at the Southern Poverty Law Center. At SPLC, she helped design and implement organization-wide strategic initiatives to increase the effectiveness and impact of the organization’s work. This included helping craft the first organization-wide leadership development program and helping launch a new voting rights practice and 501(c)(4). She also served as member of the senior leadership team and as a thought-partner to senior leaders on management, personnel and programmatic matters.
Meredith spent three election cycles building and leading the voter protection program for the Democratic Party of Georgia. In addition, she worked with the Legal Services Corporation – the nation’s single largest funder of civil legal aid programs. At LSC, she designed and led grantmaking processes and served in a program officer capacity to legal aid organizations in the Deep South. As Counsel at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C., Meredith was involved in litigation, advocacy, and public education on consumer protection and voting rights issues. Meredith’s experience also includes four years as an organizer and advocate on consumer protection, environmental and public education issues in New York City and California. This work involved developing strategic advocacy campaigns and strengthening and expanding community partnerships.
Meredith was an attorney in the employee benefits and executive compensation practice at Venable LLP after graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Talia Ray serves as a paralegal at the Southern Coalition, where she assists the Voting Rights team on both litigation and non-litigation projects. After earning her Bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York in 2013, her passion for community organizing lead her to political campaign work at the local and state levels. Just before joining the SCSJ, Talia worked as a campaign manager for a state House candidate in rural North Carolina, where she developed a keen interest in voting rights issues. When she’s not working with the team at the Southern Coalition to push back against structural inequality, Talia enjoys getting lost in a good book or playing with her dogs, Harley and Tigger.
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.