President/Executive Director

Philip Tegeler

Phil was appointed as PRRAC’s Executive Director beginning in January of 2004. Mr. Tegeler has worked as a civil rights lawyer for over 30 years, specializing in fair housing and educational equity policy and litigation. At PRRAC, Mr. Tegeler supports our research and advocacy on federal housing policy, and our technical assistance work with the “Mobility Works” technical assistance group.  He also helps lead the work of the National Coalition on School Diversity, which PRRAC co-founded in 2009.

Mr. Tegeler has written extensively on the intersection of civil rights law and federal housing and school policy.  His most recent publications include “Coordinated Action on School and Housing Integration: The Role of State Government,” University of Richmond Law Review (2019) (co-author);  “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing and the Inclusive Communities Project Case: Bringing the Fair Housing Act into the 21st Century,” in Metzger et al, Facing Segregation: Housing Policy Solutions for a Stronger Society (Oxford University Press, 2018); “Disrupting the reciprocal relationship between housing and school segregation,” in A Shared Future: Fostering Communities of Inclusion in an Era of Inequality (Joint Center for Housing Studies, 2018) (co-author); “Predicting School Diversity Impacts of State and Local Education Policy: The Role of Title VI,” in Frankenberg et al, School Integration Matters: Research-Based Strategies to Advance Equity (Teachers College Press, 2016); and “The ‘Compelling Government Interest’ in School Diversity: Rebuilding the Case for an Affirmative Government Role,” in the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform (2014).

Before coming to PRRAC, Phil was an attorney with the Connecticut ACLU, where he also served as Legal Director from 1997-2003. At the ACLU, he litigated cases in federal and state courts involving fair housing, school desegregation, land use law, voting rights, first amendment law, gay rights, prison conditions, criminal justice, and other institutional reform litigation. He has also worked as Legal Projects Director at the Metropolitan Action Institute in New York City (a public interest urban planning organization), and taught for three years in the University of Connecticut School of Law clinical program.

Phil was co-founder and the first board president of the Connecticut Fair Housing Center, served as a member of the Connecticut Housing Coalition Board for nine years, and is currently on the board of the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership and the Open Communities Alliance (CT). He is also an active member of the Housing Justice Network.

Philip has taught as an adjunct professor at the UConn Law School and at Columbia Law School, and his courses have included “Federal Courts,” “Advanced Civil Procedure: Class Actions,” and “Housing and Civil Rights.” Philip is a graduate of Harvard College and the Columbia Law School and member of both the Connecticut and District of Columbia Bar.

Deputy Director

Megan Haberle

Megan Haberle is Deputy Director of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, where she has worked since 2012.  She specializes in policy designs, public education, and technical assistance relating to government programs and civil rights, with a focus on advancing fair housing and environmental justice. She also serves as editor of PRRAC’s quarterly journal, Poverty & Race. Before coming to PRRAC, Megan worked at The Opportunity Agenda, a social justice policy and communications lab, and in private litigation practice in New York. She is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where she was an Executive Editor of the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, and Swarthmore College, where she studied anthropology. Prior to law school, she worked at the ACLU National Legal Department to support its racial justice litigation, and as an English teacher in South Korea. She is a member of the New York Bar.

Her publications include “Fair Housing and Environmental Justice: New Strategies and Challenges,” Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law;  “Stacking the Deck: The Regulatory Accountability Act’s Threat to Civil Rights,” The American Prospect; “How Attacks on the Administrative State Can Be Attacks on the Most Vulnerable,” Spotlight on Poverty; the PRRAC report “Accessing Opportunity: Recommendations for Marketing and Tenant Selection in LIHTC and Other Housing Programs” (with Ebony Gayles and Philip Tegeler); “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing in HUD Housing Programs: A First Term Report Card,” Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law (with Philip Tegeler and Ebony Gayles); “Introducing HUD’s Implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s Discriminatory Effects Standard,” Clearinghouse Review; the Kirwan Institute, PRRAC, and Opportunity Agenda report, “Opportunity and Location in Federally Subsidized Housing Programs: A New Look at HUD’s Site & Neighborhood Standards As Applied to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit” (with Philip Tegeler, Henry Korman, and Jason Reece); the American Constitution Society Issue Brief, “Promoting Opportunity through Impact Statements: A Tool for Policymakers to Assess Equity” (with Alan Jenkins, Juhu Thukral, Nerissa Kunakemakorn, and Kevin Hsu); and “Human Rights in the State Courts,” Clearinghouse Review (a joint publication of The Opportunity Agenda’s Law & Policy team).

Director, NCSD

Gina Chirichigno

Gina Chirichigno specializes in education policy and organizing. She serves as Outreach Coordinator for the National Coalition on School Diversity, and is also Co-Director of One Nation Indivisible, a documentation and organizing project co-sponsored by the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute at Harvard Law School. Ms. Chirichigno previously worked at the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute at Harvard Law School. She is a graduate of Howard University Law School (Member of the Massachusetts Bar, inactive status)

Communications & Partnerships Manager

Michael Mouton

Michael Mouton is PRRAC’s Communications & Partnerships Manager. He previously worked as a strategic communications consultant and served as Communications Director for Congressman Al Green (D-TX). He is a graduate of Cornell University, where he was Features Editor of the Cornell Progressive.

 

Senior Research Associate

Brian Knudsen

Brian Knudsen is Senior Research Associate, supporting PRRAC with quantitative data analysis, GIS mapping, and tracking of academic literature relevant to PRRAC’s ongoing advocacy work. Brian previously served as a research analyst at the National Association of Counties. He received his B.S. and Ph. D. from Carnegie Mellon University.

Law & Policy Associate

Peter Kye

Peter Kye is a Law and Policy Associate at PRRAC focusing on housing and environmental justice issues. Prior to joining PRRAC, he worked as a legal fellow and Associate Counsel at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Mr. Kye earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2016. During law school, he received the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Award and interned at the Legal Aid Justice Center, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, and the New York Legal Assistance Group.  Mr. Kye received his B.A. from the College of William & Mary in 2013, where he studied Government and Sociology. He is a member of the New York State Bar.

Administrative & Program Assistant

Sofia Hinojosa

Sofia Hinojosa is a 2019 graduate from American University, where she majored in Public Health with a focus on health policy and programming. Prior to joining PRRAC, she served as an Emerson National Hunger Fellow at the Western Center on Law and Poverty and The Root Cause Coalition. She also interned at the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Chair

Olati Johnson

Olati Johnson is the Jerome B. Sherman Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, where she teaches legislation and civil procedure and writes about modern civil rights legislation, congressional power, and innovations to address discrimination and inequality in the United States. Johnson clerked for David Tatel on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and for Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. From 2001 to 2003, Johnson served as constitutional and civil rights counsel to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Prior to that, Professor Johnson worked at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), where she conducted trial and appellate level litigation to promote racial and ethnic equity in employment, health, and higher education. Professor Johnson graduated in 1995 from Stanford Law School where she was Order of the Coif, and received her B.A. in Literature Cum Laude from Yale University in 1989.

Vice-Chair

José Padilla

José Padilla is Executive Director of California Rural Legal Assistance and where he has been for more than 25 years. He received his law degree from UC-Berkeley and his undergraduate degree from Stanford. Among his special interests bilingual and migrant education and farm worker legal services. The Mexican government presented him with the prestigious Ohtli Award for his service to Mexican citizens in the United States. www.crla.org

Secretary

john a. powell

john a. powell is Professor of Law and Director of the Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley. He formerly was Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Adjunct Professor at Columbia Law School, Executive Director of Greater Miami Legal Services and on the staff of Evergreen Legal Services. His undergraduate degree is from Stanford, and his law degree is from UC-Berkeley.

Treasurer

Brian Smedley

Brian D. Smedley is Chief of Psychology in the Public Interest, where he leads APA’s efforts to apply the science and practice of psychology to the fundamental problems of human welfare and social justice.  Previously, he was co-founder and Executive Director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity (www.nationalcollaborative.org), a project that connects research, policy analysis, and communications with on-the-ground activism to advance health equity.  He was also co-Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leadership National Program Center.  From 2008 to 2014, Dr. Smedley was Vice President and Director of the Health Policy Institute of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, DC, a research and policy organization focused on addressing the needs of communities of color.  Prior to his work at the Joint Center, Dr. Smedley was the Research Director and co-founder of a communications, research, and policy organization, The Opportunity Agenda (www.opportunityagenda.org), which seeks to build the national will to expand opportunity for all.  Prior to helping launch The Opportunity Agenda, Dr. Smedley was a Senior Program Officer at the Institute of Medicine (IOM), where he served as Study Director for several IOM reports on minority health, diversity in the health professions, and minority health research policy.  Among his awards and distinctions, in 2013 Smedley received the American Public Health Association’s Cornely Award for social activism; in 2009 Smedley received the Congressional Black Caucus Congressional Leadership in Advocacy Award; in 2005 he received a Presidential Citation from the APA; in 2004 he was honored by the Rainbow/PUSH coalition as a “Health Trailblazer” award winner; and in 2002 he was awarded the Congressional Black Caucus “Healthcare Hero” award.  Dr. Smedley received a Ph.D. degree in Clinical Psychology from UCLA in 1992, and an A.B. degree in Psychology & Social Relations from Harvard University in 1986.

Board Member

Justin Steil

Justin Steil is an Assistant Professor of Law and Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research focuses on the intersection of civil rights, land use, and local government law. He is a co-editor of Searching for the Just City: Debates in Urban Theory and Practice (Routledge, 2009) and The Dream Revisited: Segregation and Opportunity in the Twenty-first Century (Columbia, forthcoming).

Board Member

Theodore M. Shaw

Theodore M. Shaw is the Julius Chambers Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina and Director of the UNC Center for Civil Rights. He was formerly Associate Director-Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund in NYC and previously was Western Regional Counsel in the Fund’s Los Angeles office. He formerly was on the faculty of the Univ. of Michigan Law School, where he taught civil rights, constitutional law and civil procedure, and served in the Civil Rights Division of the US Dept. of Justice. His undergraduate degree is from Wesleyan, and his law degree is from Columbia.

Board Member

Gabriela Sandoval

Gabriela Sandoval is Director of Research for The Utility Reform Network. Prior to joining TURN, she was Research Director with The Insight Center for Community and Economic Development and was a member of the faculty in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she taught courses in race and ethnicity and urban sociology.

Board Member

Dennis Parker

Dennis Parker serves as the Executive Director of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ), an organization that was founded in 1965 to fight for economic justice for our nation’s most vulnerable—low-income families, communities of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, and children. NCLEJ uses a combination of litigation, ground-breaking advocacy and policy analysis in collaboration with a wide range of partners across the country to advance racial, immigrant, and gender justice concerns.  Prior to joining NCLEJ in January of 2019, Dennis served as the director of the Racial Justice Program of the ACLU, leading its efforts in combatting discrimination and addressing a range of issues which have a disproportionate negative impact upon communities of color, including the “School-to-Prison” Pipeline, racial bias in the criminal justice system, housing discrimination and related economic justice issues and digital discrimination. Prior to joining the ACLU, he served as the Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau in the office of the New York Attorney General and, for fourteen years, worked on and directed the educational work of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Dennis began his legal career as a staff attorney in the Criminal Defense Division of the New York Legal Aid Society. He has co-authored or contributed chapters to books and articles dealing with civil rights and has lectured extensively on the subject across the country. He serves as an adjunct professor at New York Law School and Columbia Law School/Teachers College where he teaches courses on law and social change and education law. Dennis is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Middlebury College.

Board Member

S.M. (Mike) Miller

S.M. (Mike) Miller, an economic sociologist/activist theoretician, is director of the Project on Inequality and Poverty at the Commonwealth Institute, Cambridge, MA. and former chair of the sociology department at Boston University. He has a B.A. in economics from Brooklyn College, a M.A. in economics from Columbia, a M.A. in economics from Princeton and a Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton. He has taught at NYU, Syracuse, Brooklyn College, Rutgers, and in labor programs at Cornell, Michigan, Rutgers, University of Massachusetts. He was an advisor on poverty at the Ford Foundation where he initiated its Latino and Native American programs and served on the executive committee of the Field Foundation. He was co-founder and first president of the Research Committee on Poverty and Social Welfare of the International Sociological Association. He is a co-founder of United for a Fair Economy. His most recent book is Respect and Rights. His current project is on long-term economic and political directions and strategies.

Board Member

Demetria McCain

Demetria McCain is President of the Inclusive Communities Project in Dallas. Ms. McCain previously held positions at Neighborhood Legal Services in Washington, D.C. and at the National Housing Law Project.

Board Member

Elizabeth (Betsy) Julian

Elizabeth (Betsy) Julian is a lawyer who has worked at the intersection of poverty and race for 45 years.  She served as President of the Dallas based Inclusive Communities Project from 2004-2016, and currently serves on the ICP Board.  From 1993 to 1999 she served in the Clinton Administration as Deputy General Counsel for Civil Rights, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing, and Secretary’s Representative for the Southwest. Her pre-HUD experience includes 20 years of practice of poverty and civil rights law in Texas, where she represented primarily low-income clients in cases involving housing discrimination, voting rights, municipal services discrimination and indigent health care.  From 1988-90, she was executive director of Legal Services of North Texas and helped found the Texas Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. She has been a member of the PRRAC Board since it’s founding, with the exception of the period she was at HUD. She currently works as an independent consultant (www.ekjulian.com)

Board Member

Camille Holmes

Camille Holmes is an independent civil rights consultant, who worked most recently as Senior Staff at the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. She previously worked with the Center for Law & Social Policy as Co-Director of its Project for the Future of Equal Justice. In 2002, she helped form the Mississippi Center for Social Justice, a collaborative racial and economic justice law firm that practices community problem-solving approaches. Ms. Wood has also served as Executive Director of the Southern Africa Legal Service & Legal Education Project. A graduate of Harvard/Radcliffe Colleges and the Harvard Law School, she clerked for Sixth Circuit Judge Damon Keith.

Board Member

David Hinojosa

David Hinojosa is the Director of Educational Opportunities Project for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law where he spearheads the organization’s historic work in education. Among David’s previous work, he served as the Southwest Regional Counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). At MALDEF, Mr. Hinojosa served as lead counsel in state school finance cases in three states where he represented low income and English Learner students and property-poor school districts, arguing two of those cases before the Colorado and Texas Supreme Courts. David also served as lead counsel in Santamaria v. Dallas ISD, where he helped Latina parents end school segregation in 2006. His work further includes cultivating programs for English learners, ensuring access to higher education for students of color and DREAMer students, preserving access to driver’s licenses for immigrant drivers and providing technical assistance to school districts across the American South on civil rights issues, including school desegregation. David is also well-published, including the book chapter “Rodriguez v. San Antonio Independent School District, Forty Years and Counting” in The Enduring Legal of Rodriguez (Harvard Education Press 2015). A US Air Force veteran and graduate of Edgewood HS in San Antonio, David earned his Bachelor’s degree from New Mexico State University and his J.D from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law.

Board Member

Damon Hewitt

Damon Hewitt is Executive Vice President of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law.  Prior to joining the Lawyers’ Committee, Hewitt served as inaugural executive director of the Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Color—a network of over three dozen foundation presidents committed to changing policies, systems, and false narratives that undermine opportunity for our nation’s sons, brothers, and fathers of color. Through Hewitt’s leadership, the Alliance launched groundbreaking collaborative investments in advocacy, capacity, and infrastructure. He previously served as Senior Advisor at the Open Society Foundations where he coordinated funding efforts responding to the uprising in Ferguson, Missouri. Before entering philanthropy, Hewitt worked for over a decade as an attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund where he was lead counsel on litigation and policy matters and supervised teams of lawyers and non-lawyers. He led pioneering efforts addressing the School to Prison Pipeline and coordinated litigation and advocacy efforts following Hurricane Katrina. Hewitt also served as Executive Director of the New York State Task Force on Police-on-Police Shootings, an entity analyzing police practices following the deaths of off-duty African American and Latino police officers who were shot by fellow officers after being mistaken for “criminal” suspects.

Board Member

Rachel Godsil

Rachel Godsil is the Eleanor Bontecou Professor of Law at Seton Hall University School of Law and a co-founder and Director of Research for the Perception Institute, a national consortium of social scientists, advocates, and educators dedicated to using the insights from the mind sciences to address the role of implicit bias and racial anxiety on culture, public policy, and institutional structures. She focuses her teaching and scholarship on issues of Race, Property, Constitutional Law, and Environmental Justice, and has authored numerous articles and book chapters as well as co-editing Awakening from the Dream: Civil Rights Under Siege and the New Struggle for Equal Justice (2005). She is a former Associate Counsel with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and continues to write amicus briefs to the Supreme Court including representing LDF in Wood v. Moss, Research Psychologists in Fisher v. University of Texas, and the National Parent Teacher Association in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District.

Board Member

Craig Flournoy

Craig Flournoy is an Assistant Professor of Journalism at University of Cincinnati. For over a decade, he was a reporter for the Dallas Morning News where he won a Pulitzer Prize (among many other awards) for his investigative reporting, including “Separate and Unequal,” a series on racial discrimination and segregation in HUD’s low-income housing programs throughout the country. His undergraduate degree is from the University of New Orleans, and he holds a Masters from SMU, a doctorate from Louisiana State University.

Board Member

Sheryll Cashin

Sheryll Cashin is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law, Civil Rights and Social Justice at the Georgetown University Law Center. She is working on a new book about the role of geography in producing racial inequality and American caste (forthcoming Beacon Press). Her book, Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy (Beacon, 2017), explores the history and future of interracial intimacy, how white supremacy was constructed and how “culturally dexterous” allies undermine it. Her book, The Failures of Integration (PublicAffairs, 2004) explored the persistence and consequences of race and class segregation. It was an Editors’ Choice in the New York Times Book Review. Cashin has published widely in academic journals and written commentaries for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Salon, The Root, and other media.

Board Member

John Brittain

John Brittain is a professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia. He previously served as General Counsel and Senior Deputy Director at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. As Chief Counsel, he was responsible for determining civil rights litigation strategies and public policy issues. He assisted in filing numerous amicus briefs in the Supreme Court and many other federal and state courts. Prior to his work at the Lawyer’s Committee, Brittain was a law professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law in Hartford, and Dean of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston. Professor Brittain is a school desegregation specialist and was one of the lawyers who filed the landmark Sheff v. O’Neill school desegregation case in 1989. This lawsuit challenged the racial, economic, and educational segregation between Hartford and the surrounding school districts as a denial of a student’s fundamental right to an equal education under the Connecticut Constitution. In 1993, the NAACP awarded Professor Brittain the coveted William Robert Ming Advocacy Award for legal service to the NAACP without a fee. Brittain earned his B.A. and J.D degrees from Howard University and specializes in civil rights litigation theories in education, voting rights, affirmative action, affordable housing, and police misconduct.

Board Member

John Charles Boger

John Charles Boger is professor and former Dean at the Univ. of North Carolina Law School and cofounder of the UNC Center for Civil Rights. He holds both a Masters of Divinity from Yale and a law degree from UNC. From 1978-90 he was with the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, both as Director of their Poverty & Justice Project and as Director of their Capital Punishment Project.  www.law.unc.edu

Board Member

Anurima Bhargava

Anurima Bhargava is currently a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics. She served as the Chief of the Educational Opportunities Section of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice during the Obama Administration, and was previously Director of the Education Practice at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, where she was actively engaged in litigation and advocacy to expand educational access and opportunities for students of color. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; a Truman National Security Fellow; and has produced and regularly consults on films. Bhargava is a graduate of the Columbia Law School was born and raised on the south side of Chicago.

Chinh Q. Le

Chinh Q. Le is the Legal Director of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. Legal Aid is the District’s oldest and largest general civil legal services organization. Since 1932, Legal Aid lawyers have been making justice real in individual and systemic ways for D.C. residents living in poverty. Prior to joining Legal Aid in July 2011, Chinh was the Director of the Division on Civil Rights in the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General. He has been a Skadden Fellow and then Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., in New York. He has also worked as a litigation associate at Jenner & Block LLP. Chinh spent the 2008-2009 academic year as a practitioner-in-residence at Seton Hall Law School and an adjunct associate research scholar at Columbia Law School, where he was affiliated with the Center for Institutional and Social Change.