Sumayya’s work focuses on class action lawsuits that challenge the rampant criminalization of poverty, including wealth-based pretrial detention and predatory pretrial diversion programs.
Before she came to CRC, Sumayya worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center in her home state of Florida, where she investigated and litigated a statewide class action lawsuit challenging the use of solitary confinement in the Florida prison system. She collaborated closely with people incarcerated across the state and worked strategically to center their voices and experiences in her advocacy challenging state-sanctioned violence. Sumayya also served as an assistant public defender, where she primarily represented people accused of homicide as the government fought to strip them of their liberty. She was a co-founder and board member of Journey to Esquire, a Tampa Bay-based a scholarship and leadership pipeline program for law students historically underrepresented in the profession. There, she challenged assumptions about elitism and law school ranking, which she believes contribute to the violence of inequality and classism in the profession.
Outside of work, Sumayya enjoys spending her time immersed in nature. Since moving to D.C., she has enjoyed exploring different areas to run, bike, and hike. Sumayya is a graduate of WMU Cooley Law School in Tampa Bay.
“The criminal legal system is designed to dehumanize and subjugate the people it ensnares in virtually every respect. I do this work to amplify the voices and experiences of those most harmed by the system in our quest for collective liberation.”