Rashanda (she/her) was born and raised in New Haven, CT. A first generation college graduate, Rashanda has devoted her life’s work to educational advocacy on behalf of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and other people of color) students and those in other historically marginalized communities. To that end, Rashanda has worked for over a decade developing innovative programs that promote equity in educational opportunity and advance fundamental human rights protections.
Inspired by a deeper commitment to advocacy and aspiration to challenge laws and policies that have historically disenfranchised too many communities of color, Rashanda attended the University of Miami School of Law. While there she was selected as a Public Service Fellows through the Miami Scholars Program and a Fellowship through Center for Ethics & Public Service. She was also the Managing Editor of the Race and Social Justice Law Review.
While interning at the University’s Human Rights Law Clinic, Rashanda represented a client in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Washington, DC and participated in a National “Working Group” with the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Civil Rights, Office of Violence Against Women, and other federal agencies to ensure that the U.S. enacted stonger laws and policies to protect the rights of victims and survivors of domestic violence. She also co-authored the first county-wide (Miami-Dade County) Resolution in the country, declaring freedom from domestic violence as a basic human right.
Returning to Connecticut, Rashanda has continued her educational advocacy efforts on both state and national levels where she worked to ensure that all students have access to a high quality education, regardless of their race, ethnicity, household income or zip code. She currently serves on the Hamden Racial and Ethnic Disparity Workgroup, the JJPOC Education Subgroup, the CT PTA and is Co-Chair of the NAACP Legal Redress Committee.
Director of Communications and Operations
Kierra (she/her) was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. She identifies as Afro-Caribbean and Black american. She moved to CT as a young person and graduated from New Haven Public Schools. While attaining her B.B.A. in Marketing and Management Information Systems from Temple University, she became dedicated to the movement surrounding teaching an accurate, all-encompassing version of Black Studies in classrooms. She was a co-organizer with the Black and Brown Coalition at Temple and an active member of The Saturday Free School in North Philadelphia – where she began studying the Black radical tradition.
Kierra began substitute teaching at NHPS in order to continue her life-long role of working with young people within her community. She became involved with SEJ as a young person herself in 2019, fueled by her passion for social justice and educational equity, especially pertaining to Black youth.
Outside of her SEJ work, she mentors teenagers and sits on the Board of Directors for a family-oriented non-profit in Chicago. She is also a published poet and enjoys writing personal essays.
Marleny Nieves Viñas (She/Her) is from New Haven, Connecticut; her parents hail from Puerto Rico and Republica Dominicana. She attended Achievement First Amistad High School and Wilbur Cross High School as a student in New Haven. She first got involved with SEJ during her early high school career and decided that she wanted to become a dedicated member shortly after attending a series of member meetings, where she learned historical information that wasn’t taught to her in schools. She also met new people who also attended different New Haven Public Schools and established lifelong friends and community with SEJ.
Something she hopes to do throughout her life is continue to strive for higher education. She wants to be financially knowledgeable and enjoy life to the fullest by taking some risks. In her spare time, she likes to play video games, hang out with friends, and try new foods.
Georgia Lieber – Interim Chair
Philip Kalikman – Treasurer
David G Carter – Secretary
Marina Warsaw-Fan Bishop