Authors & Partners

Gina Clayton, Endria Richardson, Lily Mandlin, and Brittany Farr, PhD

Catalina Bautista-Palacios (Co-Chair), Verleah Jones (Co-Chair), Esi Maria Mathis (Co-Chair), Arvene Knox (Survey Lead), Mercedes Williams-Brown (Survey Lead), Anita Wills (Survey Lead), Desire Asey, Haewon Asfaw, Anna Calderon, Lisa Castellanos, Cheryl Diston, Jessica Escobar, Atra Flemons, Lydia Goff, Darcie Green, Aliza Heslop, Theresa Jeter, Marie Levin, Karen McDaniel, Liz Robinson, Khadijah Shabazz, Natasha Terry, Le’Char Toki, Dianna Vineyard, Mercedes Williams-Brown, and Shamika Wilson

Desire Asey, Catalina Bautista-Palacios, Starr Britt, Jasmine Brown, Lilia Chaidez, Cheryl Diston, Jessica Escobar, Atra Flemons, Esther Goolsby, Theresa Jeter, Elizabeth Joyner, Marie Levin, Sakari Lyons, Mariella Saba, Shawanda Scott, Khadijah Shabazz, Natasha Terry, Dianna Vineyard, Mercedes Williams-Brown, Anita Wills, and Diana Zuñiga

Nana Duffuor, Adlemy Garcia, and Puck Lo

Vanessa Reid and Christina Scholten-Clayton

Prison Policy Initiative and Research Action Design

Detroit Justice Center, Family Unity Network, Florida Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, Mothers in Charge, People’s Advocacy Institute, Project Blackbird, Southerners on New Ground, Special Project, Texas Advocates for Justice, Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex Justice Project, Voices of the Experienced, Workers Center for Racial Justice




Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Charlene Carruthers, author of Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements (publication 2018)

Megan Comfort, author of Doing Time Together: Love and Family in the Shadow of Prison

Hedwig Lee, author of “Racial inequalities in connectedness to imprisoned individuals in the United States”

Andrea James, founder of The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls


Andrea Ritchie, author of Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color

Karen Shain, Board Chair of Essie Justice Group

Marbre Stahly-Butts, founder & director, Law for Black Lives

Ula Taylor, author of The Promise of Patriarchy: Women and the Nation of Islam

Donna Willmott, co-author of “Dignity Denied: The Price of Imprisoning Older Women in California”



Gina Clayton
Founder & Executive Director

Nana Duffuor
Development Associate

Adlemy Garcia
Community Organizer

Arvene Knox
Organizing Fellow, Los Angeles

Lily Mandlin
Director of Strategy

Endria Richardson
Research Coordinator

Myah Rodriguez
Executive & Administrative Assistant

Le’Char Toki
Organizing Fellow, Bay Area

Zoe Willmott
Manager of Advocacy & Programs



Karen Shain, Chair
Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights

Jared Leiderman, Treasurer
Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation

Chantá Parker, Secretary
Innocence Project

Makis Antzoulatos
Committee for Public Counsel Services

Gina Clayton
Essie Justice Group

Kirsten Levingston
Wellspring Advisory LLC

Malika Saada Saar

Tejinder Singh
Goldstein and Russell, P.C.

Teresa Younger
Ms. Foundation for Women

Essie Justice Group

Essie Justice Group is an organization with a mission to harness the collective power of women with incarcerated loved ones to end mass incarceration’s harm to women, and communities. Our nine-week Healing to Advocacy model brings women with incarcerated loved ones together to heal, build collective power, and drive social change.

Founded by Gina Clayton in 2014 in Oakland, CA, Essie Justice Group is named after Gina’s great-grandmother, Essie Bailey, who grew up on a Louisiana sharecropping farm and whose feats on behalf of family in the face of Jim Crow, sexism, and poverty mirror the uncelebrated efforts women with incarcerated loved ones make daily.

To nominate a woman to Essie Justice Group visit