FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
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The Southern Coalition for Social Justice is elated to announce that Myesha Braden has joined the staff as Chief Counsel for its new Justice System Reform program. Braden brings exemplary civil rights and criminal justice experience to the Southern Coalition following more than a decade at the United States Department of Justice, where she prosecuted federal civil rights violations, served as a Policy & Legislation Counsel, and was detailed to the Obama White House as a Senior Policy Advisor. Most recently, she served as inaugural Director for the Criminal Justice Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Dr. Kareem Crayton, Executive Director of the Southern Coalition, remarked: “In developing a plan for our Justice System Reform program, we knew that finding an exceptional and visionary team leader was crucial to achieving our ambitious aims for integrated work that makes lasting change. As more traditional criminal justice issues find their way into areas like education and voting rights, we want innovative people who can address these complex challenges. Myesha Braden fits ably into this role, as she combines a deep well of knowledge from the policy and practice arenas along with the thoughtful temperament of an effective problem-solver. I am so very excited that she is bringing her expertise to the Southern Coalition as the leader of our efforts in this area.” SCSJ’s new Justice System Reform program will house its Criminal Justice & Youth Justice teams.
SCSJ’s Criminal Justice team promotes social and economic justice through litigation and strategic programming, including operation of Open Data Policing, a first-of-its-kind platform that allows users to easily compare enforcement patterns among individual officers and agencies in North Carolina and Maryland; the SCSJ Fair Chance Business Certification, for employers implementing best practices for hiring people with criminal records; and the Clean Slate Project, which provides direct legal services and works to address the collateral consequences of having a criminal record, including barriers to employment, housing, and occupational licenses.
SCSJ’s Youth Justice team works to ensure equity, fairness, and justice for youth through yearly publication of Racial Equity Report Cards, which use public data to provide North Carolina’s 115 public school districts with a snapshot of the policies and practices that push students out of school and into the juvenile and adult criminal systems; and the Youth Steering Committee, which works to develop leadership and organizing skills for youth within juvenile justice and foster care systems, as well as the children of incarcerated parents.
A Louisiana native, Braden announced that she is “thrilled to join SCSJ and support Dr. Crayton’s vision for expanding SCSJ’s footprint across the South.” Citing SCSJ’s lawsuit on behalf of the family of Niecey Fennel that resulted in significant policy changes and protections for youth detained in the Durham County Detention Center, and its representation of the Alamance Five, who were charged with voting while being ineligible due to a criminal conviction, Braden declared that “SCSJ’s community-centered approach is unique among civil rights advocacy organizations and its litigation is among the most innovative in the field of criminal justice reform. I am humbled by the opportunity to join SCSJ’s talented staff and amazing community partners in working to advance social justice and eliminate structural inequality.”