Our Team

  • Alec Karakatsanis

    Alec is the founder and executive director of Civil Rights Corps. Before founding Civil Rights Corps, Alec was a civil rights lawyer and public defender .

  • Claudia A. Withers

    Claudia is the Chief Operating Officer for Civil Rights Corps. Prior to her arrival at CRC, she was the Chief Operating Officer for the NAACP.

  • Ryan Downer

    Ryan joined Civil Rights Corps after a decade of litigating civil rights cases at both Relman, Dane & Colfax, PLLC in Washington, D.C. and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc. (LDF) in New York.

  • Thea Sebastian

    Thea is the Director of Policy for Civil Rights Corps. In this role, she oversees a range of initiatives that include policy changes.

  • Bina Ahmad

    Bina Ahmad is a social justice attorney, making the choice to become a lawyer to help dismantle and push back against the crushing might of the government.

  • Savannah Baker

    Savannah is an Investigative Fellow at the Civil Rights Corps. The core of Savannah’s work focuses on challenging money bail and accountability.

  • Cornelia Carter-Sykes

    Cornelia joins Civil Rights Corps with twenty years of non-profit administrative and management experience.

  • Tehra Coles

    Tehra joined Civil Rights Corps as policy counsel after 10 years as a family defense attorney, litigation and government affairs supervisor, and advocate.

  • Kiah Duggins

    Kiah’s work focuses on using movement lawyering and the redistribution of power and resources to challenge policing and the criminalization of poverty.

  • Quinita Ennis

    Quinita is the Office Administrator for Civil Rights Corps. As a formerly incarcerated person, she has first-hand experience dealing with America's criminal legal system.

  • Ashanée Gardner

    Asha is the Digital Communications Associate at Civil Rights Corps. Her work includes running our social media pages, keeping the website updated, creating visuals to uplift the organization’s policy and litigation work, and leading the CRC blog.

  • Katherine Hubbard

    Katherine’s work focuses on litigation challenging the criminalization of poverty, particularly debtor’s prisons and wealth-based pretrial detention. Katherine coordinates CRC’s bail reform efforts in several states across the country including California

  • Ellora Israni

    Ellora holds a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School. During law school, she served as the Managing Editor of the Harvard Law Review, where she supervised the production of a special issue on prison abolition.

  • Cole Lautermilch

    Cole is an Investigator working with several litigation teams at Civil Rights Corps. Prior to joining Civil Rights Corps, Cole worked as a Paralegal at the Federal Public Defender for the District of Columbia.

  • Marco Lopez

    Marco works to stop state and local governments (and the occasional private company) from jailing people for lack of money. He spends a lot of time trying to convince federal courts that they can do something about this.

  • Tara Mikkilineni

    Tara comes to Civil Rights Corps with a decade of litigation experience. She began her civil rights career as a Special Litigation attorney at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where she litigated cases in the D.C.

  • Ben Perelmuter

    Ben is an Investigative Fellow at Civil Rights Corps, where he works on projects related to cash bail, private probation, and policing.

  • Nathan Poland

    Nathan graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with a degree in African American Studies as well as minors in Latin American studies and Statistics and Machine Learning.

  • Coleman Powell

    Coleman works as an investigator supporting litigation challenging the criminalization of poverty and creating space for decarceration. He supports pre-trial detention litigation, COVID-19 litigation, Private Probation litigation, Prosecutor Project litigation, and the Houston Policing project.

  • Elizabeth Rossi

    Elizabeth Rossi investigates and litigates cases challenging money bail, debtors' prisons, and private probation. She is a central part of the team that won a preliminary injunction striking down the money bail system in Harris County, Texas, in the first lawsuit to subject a wealth-based pretrial system to the scrutiny of actual evidence in open court.

  • Sumayya Saleh

    Sumayya joined Civil Rights Corps after working at the Southern Poverty Law Center in her home state of Florida.

  • Priyanka Shetty

    Priyanka works as an investigative fellow in Civil Rights Corps, assisting attorneys on several cases, including bail litigation in Texas and pretrial diversion in Arizona.

  • Jeffrey Stein

    Jeff joined Civil Rights Corps after eight years as a Trial Attorney and Supervising Attorney at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. While there, Jeff represented juveniles and adults charged with serious crimes, including complex homicides.

  • Erica Thurman

    Erica is the Development Manager for Civil Rights Corps. Erica manages the expanded regrant program for CRC where we provide additional financial support and capacity building to our partners in cities where we have open litigation.

  • Sam Washington

    Sam supports the policy team in designing and advocating for policies that decarcerate the U.S. criminal-legal system, deconstruct systemic racism, and support movement organizers.

  • Aaron Zeiler

    Aaron joined Civil Rights Corps in January 2021 as its Communications Manager. His background is in strategic communication for social change. Aaron came to CRC from Spitfire Strategies where he focused on a wide variety of social justice issues, including criminal legal reform, digital civil rights and public health.