2022 Marshall-Motley Scholars
Adom Abatkun is a Georgia native who graduated from Georgia Southern University, where she studied criminal justice and criminology. Adom’s interest in civil rights law comes from her background as an Ethiopian American in the South and understanding of the impact race had on her way of life. Adom served as a legal intern with the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office in Statesboro, Georgia where she assisted counsel with trial preparations for felony and misdemeanor cases and also traveled to local jails and juvenile detention centers to interview clients. As an investigative intern at Georgetown University Law Center, Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic, Adom aided attorneys with pre-trial preparations and helped clients reintegrate into society after being released from custody. Adom currently works as a Prisoner Rights Paralegal at Florida Legal Services in Gainesville, Florida where she co-leads the anti-racism initiative within the prisoner litigation partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Florida Justice Institute. Adom plans to use her law degree to continue working to combat the cycle of oppression that occurs in the South while shattering deep-rooted racism and advocating for the humanization of incarcerated people.
Danyelle Honoré, a Virginia native, graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts in African American & African Studies and furthered her education at Harvard University with a Master of Education in Education Policy & Management. Her dedication to civil rights law stems from her lived experience with racial justice and her passion for serving her community. Over the course of three summers, Danyelle worked as a summer paralegal at Access Law Group where she drafted legal memos and prepared materials for trial and settlement. Additionally, she worked as a post-secondary enrollment associate at American Student Assistance where she provided necessary information and assistance to students applying for post-secondary programs. Currently, Danyelle is the founder and chief executive officer of Honoré Foundation where she oversees service projects such as Thanksgiving meals for the homeless, Christmas coat drives and scholarships for at-risk youth. Danyelle is also the juvenile justice fellow for the U.S. House of Representatives where she leads the juvenile justice portfolio and develops priorities for the Committee on Education and Labor. Through civil rights law, Danyelle is dedicated to confronting racism in the South and developing class-action lawsuits against the state for discriminatory school funding formulas.
Sophia Howard, born in Lexington, Kentucky, and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, earned her Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and comparative women’s studies, with a concentration in women and resistance movements this past May from Spelman College. Her dedication to fighting for civil rights comes from her desire to want to give back and fight for those who always encouraged her to have something to say as a Southern Black woman. During her time at Spelman, Sophia worked with several Southern racial justice efforts, political and judicial campaigns, and initiatives, including the Stacey Abrams gubernatorial campaign, Equal Justice Initiative, ACLU of Georgia, The Law Firm of Lawanda Hodges, RestoreHER and many more. Sophia is also the founder of the Unlocked Minds Book Club, a student-led prison education program at Whitworth Women’s Prison in Hartwell, Georgia. This past August, she helped found Village Kulture, a non-profit organization that provides mentoring services to young Black boys. Sophia knows her journey to become a civil rights lawyer will be long and arduous but views her commitment to over a decade of education as a small sacrifice in what she knows will be a long career of fighting and protecting people of color in the South.
Arielle Hudson, of Tunica, Mississippi, graduated from The University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Arts in secondary education and is on track to graduate from the University of Oxford in June 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in jurisprudence. Arielle’s understanding of racial injustice came at an early age from her experience with racial segregation in Mississippi public schools and her stepfather’s incarceration. Because of her experiences in the Mississippi school system, Arielle developed her personal literacy education platform, Literacy Lets Individuals Gain Height to Success (L.I.G.H.T.S) to combat childhood illiteracy rates in Mississippi through service projects and educational workshops. At the University of Mississippi, Arielle served as the President of the Black Student Union and became the first Black woman from the institution to become a Rhodes Scholar. She co-led a campus-wide movement that resulted in the relocation of a Confederate statue and sparked state-wide advocacy for the removal of Confederate iconography. She currently serves as the president of the Black Association of Rhodes Scholars. Arielle believes in the power of movement lawyering and hopes to work alongside organizations and organizers fighting for radical social change with her legal expertise. This includes using the law to advance the task of liberation for Black people through education equity and voting and criminal legal reform. She is committed to practicing civil rights law and pursuing racial justice liberation for Black people in the South.
Nastassia Janvier, a Miami, Florida native, graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary social science in sociology and public administration and is on track to receive her Master of Science in Public Administration in May of 2022. Nastassia’s commitment to civil rights law stems from her childhood experiences where she witnessed the impact that law, education, and government can have in achieving racial equity in the South. Nastassia served as the president of the NAACP Tallahassee Chapter where she presided and chaired all meetings of the college chapter and oversaw the 15 executive committees. She currently serves as the student body president of Florida State University, as well as chairwoman of the Florida Student Association. She works as a graduate assistant in the College of Social Science and Public Policy where she coordinates and formulates sponsorship opportunities with Florida State alumni. Additionally, Nastassia is a member of the Florida State University Board of Trustees and is a governor on the Board of Governors for the State University System of Florida which oversees the operation and management of the Florida Public University System’s 12 institutions.
With her law degree, Nastassia will center her advocacy in the South because the consequences of modern-day slavery impact those she is connected to. She aims to provide legal counsel, representation, and training to those whose civil rights have been violated.
Carson Malbrough is a Los Angeles, California native who studied at Occidental College where he received a Bachelor of Arts in politics. His passion for civil rights work stems from his awareness of police brutality, criminalization and mass incarceration and discrimination from his familial roots. Carson worked as a campaign manager for Melissa Fox for State Assembly where he provided administrative work around the campaign, as well as planning and execution. As a legislative campaign organizer for the Grassroots Law Project (GLP), Carson managed several advocacy campaigns in support of the GLP’s policy priorities, focusing on discriminatory policing in schools and ending mass incarceration. Currently, Carson is a campaign associate at Voting Rights Lab where he works to develop campaign strategies. Carson has dedicated his future work to advocating for racial justice. He hopes to work against the ongoing voter suppression and efforts to silence Black voices across the South.
Malik Moore of Gallion, Alabama, attended Troy University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in legal studies. Malik’s dream of combating racial justice comes from personal and external experiences growing up as a Black man in the rural South. While at Troy University, Malik was a student advisor of the University Activities Council, a member of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, and a member of 101 Elite Men where he promoted a positive image for African American males. Additionally, Malik worked as a legal assistant at Gibbs & Sellers Law Firm, and currently works as a Legal Assistant for Ashley Mallory Attorney at Law where he assists a legal professional and organizes case files. Frederick’s journey into civil rights law is fueled by his dedication to fight for the rights of all people regardless of race, religion, or gender, and to fight for those who have been wrongfully accused.
Nathan Poland of Rockville, Maryland, graduated from Princeton University in 2020, earning a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies with a minor in statistics, machine learning and Latin American studies. Nathan’s drive to become a racial justice lawyer comes through his desire to defend and protect Southern communities from the harsh realities of racial oppression. Nathan gained valuable experience working at multiple racial justice organizations, such as Bronx Defenders, Vera Institute of Justice, Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab and the Rockefeller Foundation. Since April 2021, he has helped the Civil Rights Corps manage the operations and strategy of police abuse litigation projects in Houston, Texas and Washington, the District of Columbia., and has interviewed survivors of police violence, transcribed admissible statements and managed relations with clients and their loved ones for three §1983 cases. By working in partnership with, rather than on behalf of, Black people in the South, Nathan is committed to racial justice and movement lawyering because he believes the key to addressing the marginalization, disenfranchisement and oppression Black communities face is radically understanding the systems that perpetuate racial violence well enough to make them do something they were not meant to do—empower Black communities.
Carlos Pollard, Jr. is from LaPlace, Louisiana, and graduated from Dillard University with a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice. Carlos’s commitment to advocating for his community comes from his experience as a man of color from Louisiana.
During his time at Dillard University, Carlos worked with the Mayor of New Orleans, Non-Profit Action New Orleans, and other campaigns in the city to work on combating social injustices in the South. Currently, Carlos works with multiple non-profit organizations such as Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, Together Louisiana’s Vaccine Equity Project, and Center for Racial Justice and Public Allies where he is part of the 2021-2022 cohort completing a fellowship at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services in the mortgage assistance program.
Carlos’s enthusiasm for civil rights is rooted in his focus on bettering his community. He strives to use his law degree to amplify his efforts to fight for real justice and make a substantial change in a system that consistently fails people of color.
Justyce Yuille, from Little Rock, Arkansas, graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts in political science, criminal justice, and African and African American studies as well as a minor in legal studies. Her devotion to racial justice is rooted in her belief that African Americans are significant community members of the South where they have been subjected to discrimination and racism.
Justyce served as the first vice president of the University of Arkansas Chapter of the NAACP, as well as the first African American chief justice in history at the University of Arkansas Associated Student Government. She was also an intern for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and a research intern at the Woman’s National Democratic Club Educational Foundation. Justyce held the role of a teaching fellow for AmeriCorps for Great Oaks Charter School where she tutored 125 students in English and social studies. Currently, she holds the role of research and communication intern for Issue One, where she briefs Supreme Court oral arguments and discussions around FEC v. Cruz for Senate, as well as an intern for the campaign of Nate Fleming for District of Columbia Council At-Large.
Due to her own experiences of discrimination and racial profiling, Justyce is committed to advocating for racial justice and combating systematic racism to strengthen and improve the lives of Black people in the South.
2021 Marshall-Motley Scholars!
Dominique Erney is from Gainesville, Florida. As a student at Harvard University, she sought to educate herself thoroughly on the systemic and historic anti-Black racism in America and gain the skills to dismantle it to make room for a new world. She is driven by the pursuit of racial justice for Black people. Dominique has held internship positions with the ACLU National Prison Project and Justice Policy Institute. Additionally, she was co-chair of Black at Brennan – an internal employee affinity group – where she helped to lead organization-wide and management-level conversations about how the Brennan Center should address systemic racism both externally and internally. Dominique intends on returning to the South to work on behalf of Black Americans to reimagine the criminal legal system. She will utilize law school to peel back the layers of how racial inequity plays out in society and gain more tools as a changemaker to dismantle unjust systems.
Ashely Fox was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Ashley Fox proudly traces her roots to the Mississippi Delta. She attended Washington University where she earned numerous awards and scholarships and held leadership positions within the Association of Black Students. She has a profound passion for racial justice. She has identified numerous disparities facing the Black community, including the grief of premature deaths, income disparities, voter suppression, and more. The human cost of such conditions for Black people – particularly in the South – results in Ashley’s commitment to pursuing the practice of civil rights law. Ashley is currently the co-director of New Leaders Council, D.C., where she helps to equip and train progressive leaders with skills to advocate, run campaigns, and mobilize networks for diverse causes. She aims to empower Black people to live authentically and work to positively transform their community. Ultimately, she wants to be a leader that loudly advocates for the cause most important to her – racial justice for Black people in the United States.
Briana Hayes derives much of her inspiration from childhood growing up in Baxley, Georgia, where she witnessed racism in her classroom as a child and how it negatively impacted so many students. This gave her the zeal that would catapult her passion for social change forever. At the University of Georgia, Briana joined a research team focused on rural Black students on their pathways to higher education, resulting in her work on an intervention that will land more rural Black students in four-year institutions across the South. She also founded Appling Vanguard – an organization that helped Appling County work toward social justice and equality. Briana’s political activism was motivated by the death of Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed in the very judicial circuit in which she lives. After working as a community organizer for the Jon Ossoff U.S. Senate campaign, Briana went on to found 12Tomorrow – a grassroots organization that works to improve Black voter turnout in Georgia’s 12th Congressional district. Briana firmly believes that her life’s purpose is to fight for freedom. As a civil rights attorney, Briana aims to practice law with dignity and protect everyone’s rights in South Georgia.
Princess Jefferson is from Houston, Texas. As a full-time student at Bryn Mawr College, Princess worked 30-hour weeks between 3-5 jobs to provide for her family in Houston. During this time, she continued to excel in her political science academic endeavors and maintain involvement in various organizations on campus. Princess is a first-generation college graduate. She worked as a social justice outreach consultant for the Career and Civic Engagement Center at Bryn Mawr College. In this role, she worked to increase student activism within the community and develop a social justice framework for the college. She also assisted in re-founding the NAACP chapter at Bryn Mawr and served as its co-president. Princess served as the director of field operations for the judicial campaign for Te’iva Bell in Houston by coordinating voter awareness activities within the community and helping to register people to vote. She is currently a Chapters Fellow at the American Constitution Society – one of only three Black members within the organization – where she assists in coordinating the logistics, funding, and virtual planning on current issues in law for student and lawyer chapters nationwide. Princess is eager to continue her work in advocacy of social and racial justice. Her passion lies at the heart of bridging structural barriers between underserved groups and resources. She remains committed to uplifting civil rights in addition to promoting equity, equality, and inclusion in the Black community.
Kendell Long is a Dallas, Texas native. Growing up in a state with one of the highest incarceration rates in the country inspired his interest in criminal justice. He attended Georgetown University where he held many leadership positions in their local chapter of the NAACP, including co-president and vice president. At Georgetown, Kendell worked with the Georgetown 272 Advocacy Team to mobilize his student body to vote and pressure their administrators to approve the creation of a fund to provide financial compensation to communities descending from those sold and enslaved by Georgetown. He currently works as a paralegal at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, where he supports and impacts litigation that challenges the conditions of incarcerated D.C residents – who are disproportionately Black. Kendell’s commitment to racial justice stems from the belief that his existence is tied to his community. He believes that technology will further current criminal justice reforms like promoting fair sentencing and ending cash bail. Kendell will use the law to achieve racial justice for Black communities in the South through criminal justice reform.
Victor Olofin is a South Florida native who graduated from Florida State University, where he studied political science. His interest in civil rights law is rooted in his experiences and understanding that power and representation has always been scarce for Black people in America, particularly in the South. Victor served the Urban League of Tallahassee as an emergency manager. He also dedicated many of his weekends to volunteering for the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, where he assisted attorneys in helping low-income Atlantans with landlord-tenant disputes. Victor currently works as the Gaining Opportunity From Arrest to Reentry (GOFAR) paralegal for the Orleans Public Defenders, where he helps his team to mitigate collateral consequences of a conviction for formerly incarcerated people in Louisiana. Victor views the South as his home and is dedicated to breaking down institutional barriers in the South with knowledge, compassion, and purpose. He plans to use a law degree to bring much needed change to the criminal justice system that disproportionately targets Black people in America.
Markus Reneau was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is a Hurricane Katrina survivor, and a graduate of Yale. February 26, 2012, marks a trifecta of hallmarks for Markus. It was the day that Trayvon Martin was murdered. It was Markus’s fifteenth birthday. And it was the start of his interest in civil rights litigation. Attending Yale was a pathway that Markus never knew he had access to, and he demonstrated his passion for this opportunity through his service. At Yale, he joined the Urban Improvement Corps to provide tutoring to local children aspiring to attend college. He also worked with a New Haven, Connecticut, tutoring program called Leadership, Education, and Athletics in Partnership (LEAP), which is founded on the belief that children learn in many ways aside from classroom instruction. He then studied abroad as a Yale Fellow with the Oakham School in England as the only Black faculty member and one of the only Black people in the town of Oakham. As an investigator for the Orleans Public Defenders, Markus exercises his unique ability to navigate the cultural divide that often derails the progress of justice. In his role as a 2020 presidential election commissioner, he explained many details to Black people that would have otherwise prevented them from voting, including how to search the Louisiana voter database and help voters to find their precinct, and assist voters who needed to cast provisional ballots. His efforts to recognize the full humanity of Black people spurs his mission in fighting for justice.
Traelon Rodgers is a Dallas, Texas, native with a remarkable history of civil justice advocacy. He graduated as valedictorian of his class at Dillard University where he was also the President of Student Government and a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. Traelon’s first call to action came in the form of marching, lobbying, and protesting as he sought justice in response to the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Most recently, Traelon’s activism took the form of leadership as he stood in front of Dallas City Hall with youth from across the city in a student walkout. The act was a manifestation of his passion for educating the children of the United States – whom he recognizes as the leaders of today. Traelon currently serves as a member and an Assistant Secretary for the NAACP National Board; the youngest person to be elected as a national officer of the NAACP. He has been honored with the NAACP NYWC Chairman’s Award, Texas NAACP State Conference Torch Bearers Award, and Overall Best Attorney Award at Rice University’s mock trial tournament. Traelon has long been committed to fighting for equality and justice in the South and remains driven by the ambition to fight daily for a place in the United States. He plans to leverage litigation as a tool to challenge the policies that negatively impact Black students in America.
Shandrea Sellers is a Montgomery, Alabama, native and graduate of the University of Alabama. After completing her two-year commitment with Teach For America’s Houston Corps at a Title I Public School in the South, Shandrea decided to continue her work in Texas far beyond her required stint. Determined to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline found in predominantly Black schools, Shandrea has served in many educational roles in Houston. She is currently Assistant Principal at KIPP Sunnyside High School. Shandrea is dedicated to educational equity and has led the effort at her school to eliminate zero-tolerance policies that disproportionately affect Black male students. Shandrea’s constancy to the marginalized communities she serves blossoms from her dedication to people having choice-filled lives. She focuses on empowering students with opportunities for advocacy and agency. Shandrea remains committed to the pursuit of progress and seeks to affect change as a civil rights attorney to combat inequities in education, political reform, and more. Unwilling to compromise excellence, Shandrea remains steadfast in her commitment to the South. She devotedly continues her mission to create transformational change for future generations.
Maydrian Strozier-Lowe is a St. Louis, Missouri, native. While attending Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU), Maydrian studied the inner workings of government to better prepare himself for a career in law. His enthusiasm for political involvement and voting rights activism grew after watching his parents encounter a legal system rife with inequities and lawyers who worked against their interests. Maydrian’s passion comes from knowing that a lawyer dedicated to another’s life can enact tremendous change. Maydrian simply believes that he is obligated to serve others. While attending PVAMU, he served as the chief of staff for the Student Government Association, as well as President of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Rho Theta Chapter. He currently serves as a legislative assistant in the Texas House of Representatives for state representative Ron Reynolds. He works specifically on issues that disenfranchise Black people, including the right to vote, among other inequalities impacting the Black community. In association with the Political Science Posse at PVAMU, he organized three student marches that protested attempts by Waller County to discount and disenfranchise the student vote; LDF has filed a lawsuit against Waller County on behalf PVAMU students. Maydrian aims to achieve substantial change for Black people in the South. He boldly promotes the idea of investing today for generations to come, as many once did for him.