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.
Danielle Carman joined the Southern Coalition for Social Justice as its Deputy Director in September 2016. She supports and promotes all of SCSJ’s program areas through development, grants management and reporting, and office and financial administration, and staffs SCSJ’s Board of Directors. Prior to joining SCSJ, she served for more than 15 years as the founding Assistant Director and General Counsel of the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS), a statewide agency charged with overseeing the provision of legal services to indigent persons. In that capacity, she directly supported the work of the IDS Commission, worked with other staff and stakeholders to effectively manage a budget of more than $120 million, and was instrumental in reforming and improving North Carolina’s indigent defense system. Before assisting in the establishment of IDS, she served for almost four years as an Assistant Appellate Defender in the North Carolina Office of the Appellate Defender. In that capacity, she represented indigent criminal defendants on direct appeal to the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of North Carolina.
Danielle attended the University of North Carolina School of Law as a Chancellors Scholar and graduated with high honors in 1997. After graduating, she taught four semesters of legal research and writing to first-year law students as an adjunct professor at UNC Law. Through her work at IDS, she has given numerous presentations to actors in the North Carolina justice system, including legislators, judges, clerks, and defense attorneys. She serves as the IDS Commission’s appointee to the Board of Directors of North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services.
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.
Ivy Johnson is an attorney at SCSJ and works primarily in the Criminal Justice section but does some work for Voting Rights as well. She grew up in Brooklyn and earned her B.A. in Government and French from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, but has been moving further and further south since. Before law school she worked at an energy and environmental lobbying firm in D.C. She then went on to earn her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law. While at UNC she was a member of the Honor Board, the Pro-Bono Coordinator for the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, and student attorney with the Youth Justice Clinic. She was also on staff for Volume 94 of the North Carolina Law Review and wrote about the rights (or lack thereof) of transgender inmates in prison.
During law school, she participated in over 100 hours of pro bono legal work and went on several pro bono trips to the western part of the state, where she helped clients obtain expunctions and divorces, and helped with other pro se legal work. She always knew she wanted to do work in the area of criminal justice reform, but it was her pro bono work and time with the Youth Justice Clinic that led her to SCSJ. Ivy graduated law school in 2017 and has been at SCSJ ever since.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kristen Powers is a Southerner on a mission to advance racial equity across the region. She is fortunate to work as SCSJ’s Advocacy Coordinator, helping the voting rights and criminal and youth justice teams create impactful educational campaigns and policy efforts. Her most recent projects include the North Carolina Raise the Age Campaign, Fair Chance Business Certification, and implementing restorative justice practices in schools.
Kristen grew up on a farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and is now lucky to call Saxapahaw, the little village by the Haw River, home.
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.