2022 BPDA Community Engagement Fellows

About the BPDA Community Engagement Fellowship

The BPDA Community Engagement Fellowship is a 12-week summer program that pairs Black undergraduate and graduate HBCU students, who aspire to do racial equity and community defense work, with public defender offices.

The Community Engagement Fellows are given hands-on lessons about addressing systemic issues of racism that plague the legal system. They also have the opportunity to support their hosting public defender office to implement a project or program that expands its outreach to the communities it serves to promote racial equity.

Learn more about the BPDA Community Engagement Fellowship.

Meet the 2022 Fellows

El-Joshua Allen is a graduate of Laney College and Winston Salem State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. He is passionate about equity and social justice and has a goal of attending law school to become a defense attorney.

This summer, he will be working on a Clean Slate program with the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office.

Hailing from the southside of Atlanta, GA, Madison Thompson is a rising junior Political Science major and Writing minor at Spelman College. She has always had a passion for community service and exercised that passion through participation in several extracurricular activities on and off campus. Her activities include: the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, the Spelman College Chapter of the NAACP, the Ethel Waddell Githii Honors Program, the Morehouse-Spelman Pre-Law Society, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and the National Society of Leadership and Success.

This summer, she will be working to re-imagine the “Defend Nashville” initiative at the Metro Nashville Public Defender’s Office to connect with the community and improve engagement with their clients.

Kassidy Teague is a Spring 2022 graduate of Grambling State University, where she majored in the exciting fields of Psychology and Sociology. She is a native of New Orleans, LA, but relocated to Shreveport with her family after Hurricane Katrina where she graduated from C.E. Byrd High School in 2018. Kassidy aspires to become a leader in the field of juvenile law where she can be an advocate for the youth in her community. Her goal is to provide valuable opportunities and cultural exposure to children who are labeled as “troublemakers” or “lost souls” in the eyes of society.

This summer, she will assist the Orleans Public Defenders with their policy advocacy at the local and state level through researching and writing legislation, gathering community input on areas ripe for reform, and assisting with presentations on the need for reforms.

Aminata Kaba is a junior at Morgan State University where she studies Political Science. She is a recipient of the UNCF Social Justice Award, along with making Dean’s List. She was selected as a scholar by the Chair of the Political Science Department to engage in a conversation with the U.S. Trade Representative and Ambassador Katherine Tai on how the executive office can help enhance the HBCU student experience and how current U.S. trade policies affect students.

She currently serves as the Vice President of the Political Science Association, where she engages students in policy and their civil rights. She was also a Henry Street Settlement Scholar and student ambassador for over 5 years, where she engaged students in social justice workshops and encouraged the civic engagement of students around voting rights and policing issues in their communities.

This summer, she will join the community justice unit at the Legal Aid Society of New York to design, deliver, and support the creation of eClinics, a communications platform that will support community engagement.

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