Race and Public Defense (SCJN 2021)

20th Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference
August 18-20, 2021 | Held Virtually

Learn about the different ways lawyers have organized within the legal community and beyond to better address racial inequity in their jurisdictions.



When people think of public defense, they often think of it as a service provided in the context of criminal representation.  However, historically lawyers who represent indigent defendants have sometimes served a hybrid function as both legal advocates and community organizers.

  • Kenitra Brown, Founding Board Member & Criminal Justice Committee Co-Lead, Power in Action; Staff Attorney and Director of Engagement, The Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center
  • Emily Coward, Project Attorney, North Carolina Racial Equity Network, UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government
  • Johanna Jennings, Founder & Executive Director, The Decarceration Project
  • Kimberly O'Neil, CEO, Giving Blueprint; Founding Director, Power in Action
  • Moderated by: Monica Milton, Public Defense Counsel, NACDL

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