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The CJA Awards 2022

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The CJA Awards celebrate the outstanding individuals and organisations helping to make the criminal justice system fairer and more effective. Alongside the Sector Awards, we also host the Media Awards, which celebrate the journalists, documentary makers and digital media champions shining a light on criminal justice, challenging misperceptions and improving public understanding.

We are grateful to the Barrow Cadbury Trust for generously supporting the CJA Awards, and to Timpson for kindly providing the glass trophies for winners and runners-up.

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The annual CJA Awards continued in style this year, welcoming shortlisted nominees and guests to an in-person ceremony for the first time in two years. Our beautiful venue, The Old Library, is in Birmingham’s creative quarter, the perfect setting to celebrate attendees’ innovative and pioneering work.

The cold winter evening warmed up as guests arrived and the buzz of the evening began. The ceremony opened with welcome drinks, dinner, and networking with connections new and old, with tables filling quickly in anticipation.

Read the CJA Awards 2022 Programme

The CJA Awards 2022 ceremony was enthusiastically hosted by Director of the CJA, Nina Champion, and Project Manager of the ELEVATE CJS lived experience leadership programme, Nola Sterling.

The Outstanding Individual Award

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Winner: Katrina Ffrench

Katrina Ffrench is the Founding Director of UNJUST. She has been a powerful advocate for the abolition of the Gangs Matrix and was instrumental in applying the pressure that resulted in the removal of hundreds of names from the harmful database.

‘We’ll continue fighting racism and injustice in policing. … Its me here, but actually it’s we. … I really look forward to working with people in the future and just keep doing what I can do until I pass the baton on, and that’s what UNJUST is about. It’s about creating a Black led entity that’s not me, it’s we, so that when I can sit down it continues. So thank you everyone and thank you for the Award.’

Read about Katrina's work
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Runner-up: Diane Curry OBE

Diane Curry OBE is the CEO of Partners of Prisoners and Families Support Group (POPS). Diane was an integral contributor to the Race Review in 2008 and contributed to a review by Lord Farmer on improving family ties. She oversaw the development of the POPS ‘Get It Off Your Chest’ campaign which brought families together in a virtual setting to connect and share their experiences during COVID restrictions.

‘[Being the Runner-Up for the CJA Outstanding Individual Award feels] absolutely fantastic. I think ‘Outstanding Individual’ is a massive title to live up to, but if myself and the team at POPS, everyone in this room and everyone that works in the sector keep doing what we’re doing, we’re all outstanding individuals, so thank you.’

Read about POPS

Shortlisted Nominees

Andy Gullick

Deborah Coles

Diane Curry OBE

Dr Gemma Morgan

Katrina Ffrench

Outstanding Local or Regional Organisation Award

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Winner: Disabilities Trust

The Disabilities Trust is at the forefront of international research and pioneering interventions for people with a brain injury. Drawing on learnings, they are providing a Brain Injury Lineworker (BIL) Service at a local male prison in South Wales. Awareness training is also offered to staff. The evaluation found this ground-breaking work lowered risk of suicide or self harm, as well as reductions in adjudications.

‘We were thrilled to take home the CJA Outstanding Local or Regional Organisation Award in recognition of the fantastic work the brain injury linkworker service does. … Our brain injury linkworkers provide education on brain injury and support the person to develop strategies to manage their difficulties. All interventions promote self-management and focus on increasing the mens’ engagement with education and healthcare within the prison.’ Davina Jones, Head of Policy Influencing and Social Change

Read about The Disabilities Trust
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Runner-up: Belong: Making Justice Happen

Belong: Making Justice Happen provides hope, rehabilitation, and recovery to both victims and perpetrators of crime, inspiring change by providing long term, individualised responses to conflict. This year it has been working in a range of custody and community settings to deliver restorative and trauma-informed programmes.

‘We run restorative justice projects and mentoring in prisons. It’s about using restorative approaches to help those involved in conflict in prison, to give them the skills to take out with them. We’ve seen a real reduction in violence in the prisons we work in, generally from when we’ve done the evaluations.’ Sam Warman, Head of Programmes

Read about Belong

Shortlisted Nominees

Belong: Making Justice Happen

Disabilities Trust

Inside Job Programme by Beating Time

Make Amends Project by Shekinah

Red Rose Recovery

Outstanding National Organisation Award

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Winner: Inside Justice

Inside Justice investigates miscarriages of justice in England and Wales. They are often an innocent person’s last hope for justice after they have been sentenced and are in prison for a crime they did not commit. They are supported by an advisory panel of world-renowned experts who work pro bono. As well as casework, Inside Justice work to identify and improve systemic failures in the system including the importance of evidence retention and storage by the police.

‘We’ve had a fantastic couple years. We’ve overturned a wrongful conviction of murder that had a co-accused and we campaign for the retention of evidence post conviction, so that we have the means to go ahead and do this work. We have an incredible board that give their pro bono time – scientists, lawyers, barristers all doing incredible work … Having additional resources to help with casework and to pay for testing, those sort of things is always great, but to recognise the exceptional work that everyone’s put in to have these cases overturned … it just recognises the work that everyone does.’ Jessica Ritchie, Trustee at Inside Justice

Read about Inside Justice
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Runner-up: Prisoners’ Education Trust

Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET) offers distance learning courses to people in prison, supporting around 1,500 people each year to study, develop skills and gain qualifications. Founded in HMP Wandsworth in 1989, PET now works with every prison in England and Wales. To date, it has made over 45,000 educational awards to learners. A current learner said ‘Study gives me an opportunity to use my time, rather than simply serving it’. PET’s work has been particularly important during the pandemic. With people in prison in their cells for up to 23 hours a day, their distance learning provision helped to provide meaningful activity during a very challenging time. A learner said ‘PET has been invaluable during lockdown, keeping people occupied and making peoples’ futures so much brighter.’

‘A big part of what we do is providing those courses to our learners, but we recognise the whole system is flawed, the whole system doesn’t work as intended … but we also do what we can … to make those big changes that will make prison a little bit better for those  people that are in there, and ultimately fewer people in prison.’ Jon Collins, CEO of Prisoners’ Education Trust

Read about PET

Shortlisted Nominees


Inside Justice

Prisoners’ Education Trust


Why me?

The Saskia Jones Legacy Award for Victim Services

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Winner: Tara Ward

Tara is Catch22’s Beacon Family Hub Team Leader. She raises awareness of the impact knife crime has on the young person involved, as well as the families and associates of the victims. This year she featured on the ‘What Do Parents Know’ podcast, discussing youth violence and knife crime as well as writing blogs on the subject. Tara has campaigned tirelessly for support for victims’ bereaved families beyond this narrow criteria and earlier this year she met with policy makers and outlined her case for change, as well as leading a visit to the Beacon Family Hub by the Secretary of State for Justice.

‘I’ve got jelly legs! I’m extremely honoured. I lost my partner in 2018 to an unprovoked knife and gun attack. For me, there were so many flaws in the system that meant I couldn’t access the support I needed to move forward in my journey to cope and recover after such a traumatic event. I felt I should honour his memory to change the system for so many other people. I think I can say that I have done that and will continue to do that as long as I can.’

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Runner-up: Dr Nicola Sharp Jeffs OBE

Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs OBE is the Founder of Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA). She raises awareness and influences change to professional practice, systems, policy, legislation, and regulation so they recognise economic abuse and better support victim-survivors. SEA has trained thousands of professionals in sectors including money and debt advice, financial services, housing, the police and domestic abuse support services, as well as influencing the Domestic Abuse Act to name and define economic abuse in legislation.

‘Economic abuse often gets left out. Our success as an organisation is a reflection of need and it’s been incredible to see the difference we’ve made nationally in terms of legislation, but also individual women who contact me and tell me the difference its made to their lives. It also feels really special to receive the award in Saskia’s name and I’d like to thank her family who are here.’

Read about SEA

Shortlisted Nominees

Fay Maxted

Joanne Early

Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs OBE

Sophie Olson

Tara Ward

Thank you for inviting Phil and I to join you all last Friday. What a humbling experience it was to meet so many incredible people fighting for justice across so many spheres. 

Saskia would have been a great force for change in the World and I know that had she heard some of their stories, as Phil and I did, and the subsequent work they continue to do, she would have been overwhelmed by it all. We were honoured to be included in celebrating their work and it was particularly heart warming to hear how some had been inspired by Saskia and her story.
We also enjoyed having the opportunity to connect with these amazing individuals and hope to continue that contact to support in any way we can as a family.

Thank you for making us feel so welcome, a truly inspiring evening and certainly one that would have made Saskia extremely proud.

Michelle Jones, Saskia’s mum

The Jack Merritt Legacy Award for Racial Equality

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Winner: Richard Taylor OBE

Richard Taylor OBE is the Founder of Damilola Taylor Trust, which he established in May 2001 in memory of his son, Damilola Taylor, with the aim of providing a legacy of hope and opportunity for disadvantaged and underprivileged young people, particularly in inner-city south London. Following the 20th anniversary of Damilola’s death, Richard and partners from across the sector came together to form the ‘Hope Collective’, a youth-led movement driven by a shared purpose to establish real change that enables UK’s most vulnerable communities to be free from poverty, violence and discrimination. The annual Day of Hope on 7 December is now supported and officially sanctioned by the Government as a national day of social action.

‘The Damilola Trust was conceived as a result of tragic loss but what we have achieved over the years has been tremendous. We set up the medical programme for students at Kings College London for people from Peckham who didn’t have the qualifications to go to mainstream medical school. Today the programme has cut across the whole of the UK, including here in Birmingham! Our work in schools, the number of children we have changed their lives, helping them move away from drugs and gangs. The King asked me how do you do it after you have lost your son and your wife – I said it is for his legacy. … The Day of Hope on 7 December was launched with the Hope Collective.  This year we are having a light installation in Peckham of Damilola in his memory.’

Read about the Damilola Taylor Trust
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Runner-up: Jen Harris

Jen Harris is a Criminology PhD Researcher with a focus on Policing, Race Relations and Critical Race Theory. She is also the Founder of the Black Criminology Network, which supports current and prospective criminologists of Black heritage to network, learn and achieve. Jen has almost a decade of experience of working and volunteering across the criminal justice system, and ultimately wants to consult and advocate on policy making to improve the existing tensions between the police and Black communities.

‘When I was accepted into my PhD, I thought, I can’t do this alone, is there something out there for people who look like me? And I couldn’t find anything. So I launched BCN – so everyone has equitable experiences in academia. We are there for academics who have black students in their department to improve cultural competency too. The prize money will mean we can host more events and go full throttle next year to support students and institutions!’

Read about the Black Criminology Network

Shortlisted Nominees

Jen Harris

Maya Mate-Kole

Richard Taylor OBE

Roxy Legane

Sayce Holmes-Lewis

During the interlude we were joined by the brilliantly talented Kezia Soul, as seen on The Voice UK, for a captivating performance as guests topped up their drinks and enjoyed another networking opportunity.

‘Good evening. I’m honoured to sing you a few songs, some originals and a few covers. This cause means a lot to me personally so I’m really glad to be here and big up to my mum Paula!’

Watch Kezia on The Voice UK
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Outstanding Journalism Award

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Joint Winner: Eric Allison

Simon Hattenstone, a friend and colleague of Eric, accepted the Award on Eric’s behalf.

Eric Allison was The Guardian’s prisons correspondent for the past 19 years and sadly passed away in early November 2022. Eric joined the Guardian in 2003 despite having no professional experience or formal education in journalism. After spending around 16 years in prison himself, Eric was a dedicated activist journalist and penal reformer. He sat on the boards of several charities that campaigned for prisoners’ rights and regularly spoke at events about the importance of reducing how many people are sent to prison, as well as how we can create a more humane criminal justice system. In the last year, Eric had written about the increasing numbers of UK prisoners dying on remand. Through Freedom of Information data he uncovered that two thirds of those who took their own lives were on care plans and wrote about the devastating human impact by reporting on the inquest of a man on remand who had tragically taken his own life while on suicide watch. Eric also powerfully drew on his own experiences of the criminal justice system and life after release in his journalism, including an article last December entitled ‘How I returned from rock bottom’ in which he concludes ‘while, sadly, reporting doesn’t pay nearly as well as crime (and is considerably more
stressful) it has one major perk: I know I will not be going back to that place of lowest point ever again.’

‘I’ll try not to cry. But I won’t do very well. Eric would be so chuffed at this and all of you here. He really wanted to finish his book. He was the one person that people in prison, people with families in prison went to with their stories. We worked as a team and even in last few weeks I realised how important he was to so many people’s lives. All night he would be on phone to people who needed his support and his love. He was doing a unique job. He was a career criminal who took crime very seriously! Because of his time in prison it gave him an incredible sense of injustice, what could go wrong in prison and the lack of voices of people in prison. He had so much left he wanted to do.’ Simon Hattenstone, a friend and colleague of Eric.

‘Eric worked with the team at inquest for nearly two decades. There was something about Eric that was so wonderful… he got it. His insight into some of the worst aspects of prison, the neglect and abuses.  He was able to speak to families in ways no other journalist could. I implore you to read his articles about lives and deaths of children in prison. He wrote with such empathy. He was a campaigner and committed to expose the cruelty of IPP sentences working with UNGRIPP and recently focused on deaths of people on remand. Now more than ever we need to be focusing spotlight on increasing numbers of people in prison and the prison building programme. I hope the Guardian employ another ex-prisoner to honour his legacy. I’m really grateful the CJA have honoured him and his work tonight.’ Deborah Coles, CEO of Inquest

Read about Eric's work

Joint Winner: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that holds power to account. Until the Bureau started exploring police attitudes to domestic violence allegations against their own officers, no one had properly examined this subject. The four-year long investigation revealed the scale of the problem by a combination of Freedom of Information requests and interviews with victims of officers from a dozen different forces. It showed that cases were often handled by friends of the accused, there had been a failure to prosecute these offences, and collusion by other officers to cover up abuse and even intimidate victims into dropping charges. The Bureau worked with the Centre for Women’s Justice to put in a joint Supercomplaint on the issue, resulting in the Independent Office for Police Conduct, College of Policing and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary producing a report and a roadmap for change which was presented in June this year. The Home Office and Chief Constables have accepted the report and the Bureau will be scrutinising whether they implement the recommendations in the months to come.

Read the article
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Runner-up: Greg McKenzie

Greg McKenzie is one of the UK’s most trusted news correspondents and documentary filmmakers, as well as being the founder of Inside Out Clothing, the UK’s first clothing line designed, and hand produced by young ex-offenders. Inside Out project participants get the opportunity to hone their business, fashion, employment, and personal development skills. The project aims to help thousands of young people over the next five years who have struggled since being released from prison, by creating job opportunities in business through fashion and design, to help with reintegration into society.

‘I left the BBC last month after 17 years to start the Inside Out project helping young ex-offenders to get a second chance. I’m still doing freelance work, including a Panorama documentary out soon, but now I’m focused on young people getting a second chance.’

Read about Greg's work

Shortlisted Nominees

Emmanuel Onapa

Eric Allison

Greg McKenzie

Liberty Investigates

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Outstanding Digital Media Champion Award

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Winner: Second Chance podcast by Raphael Rowe

Raphael Rowe is a British broadcaster and journalist that spent 12 years in prison for crimes he did not commit. Having experienced injustice and what prison can do to human beings first hand, became a journalist and broadcast reporter for BBC 4, before moving to make documentaries for BBC 2. Raphael currently hosts the ‘World’s Toughest Prisons’ for Netflix. In his podcast series, ‘A Second chance’ he explores the questions: Who deserves a second chance?, Who decides who gets a second chance?, and what a second chance actually means, while shining a light on people with lived experience who are leaders for change. Recently, he set up the ‘Raphael Rowe foundation’ to end the dehumanisation of prisoners and build safer societies on a global scale.

‘Second chance the podcast started during Covid. The work you guys do, you are giving people a second chance. My platform is about changing the narrative. I was given a second chance and I took it and it’s a made a difference in other people’s lives. I talk to all people from all walks of life about their second chance because it really does matter and the work you all do matters.’

Listen to Second Chance

Runner-up: The Law in Action podcast for BBC4 by Joshua Rozenberg

Law in Action is presented by Joshua Rozenberg, the UK’s most experienced legal commentator, having spent 15 years as the BBC Legal Affairs Correspondent and further 8 years editing the Daily Telegraph’s legal coverage. The programme regularly talks to leading legal figures at home and abroad but also hears from the people in contact with the law about how it affects their lives. It challenges some very important topics that relate to everyone, such as challenging the UK Bill of Rights, analysing education in prisons, and why so few rape cases go to court.

‘It’s very kind of you to honour my radio programme. I presented first edition forty years ago, before most of you were born I imagine. It’s a great programme trying to explain complicated issues of law in a way people understand.’

Listen to Law in Action

Shortlisted Nominees

Criminal Justice Natters podcast by Dr Ed Johnston

Banged Up podcast by Mike Boateng, Rob Morrison and Claire Salama

Law in Action podcast by Joshua Rozenberg

Second Chance podcast by Raphael Rowe

Transform Justice Podcast by Transform Justice

Outstanding Documentary Award

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Winner: ‘Two Daughters’ by True Vision and Little Dooley

A year after the murders of her daughters Bibaa and Nicole in a North London park, retired Archdeacon Mina Smallman invited Stacey Dooley to help her tell her story through both the trial of her daughters’ killer and the trials of two Met police officers who took photographs of their bodies and shared them on WhatsApp. The ‘Two Daughters’ documentary, made over the course of a year, is a frank portrayal of the family’s grief and the failings of the police. Mina’s faith is central to her very being, but the documentary explores what happens when faith is confronted by unimaginable tragedy. The documentary shows how Mina’s faith has played a pivotal role throughout an unimaginably difficult time, helping her to cope with her grief and anger, and her relationship with God has strengthened her resolve to fight to end violence against women so her daughters did not die in vain.

‘We’re really proud of the film, but it was also the type of film you hope you never have to make. I personally took away seeing that strength from Mina. And her advocacy to make sure her daughters’ names were not only remembered, but that they meant something. That’s why she continues to fight for young women and for policing reforms that need to happen. Mina and her husband are incredible people and through the documentary their voices were heard. We’d like to dedicate this award to Bibaa and Nicole.’

Watch 'Two Daughters'
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Runner-up: ‘Can the Police Keep Us Safe?’ series by Baroness Helena Kennedy KC and Assistant Commissioner Rob Beckley

Helena Kennedy QC with Police Assistant Commissioner Rob Beckley explore our expectations of policing today and changing ideas of safety – in public, in private and online. Talking to all ranks of the police across the UK, to criminologists and critics, Helena and Rob consider what we expect from the police now. They ask if this is the moment for a new kind of social contract between public and police, where other institutions, both public and private – as well as citizens themselves – take more responsibility for safety and care in our communities, independent of policing. Helena and Rob turn to the question of safety and harms in the domestic sphere, especially violence against women and girls, and whether the publication of the Police’s new Race Action Plan help secure consent and trust in the UK’s Black communities.

‘Police, like so many people in this room, are dealing with the symptoms of other failures in society. Because of that, people are rightly challenging and critical of policing and expect high standards. But some of the time the police are trying to do an impossible job. Dealing with mental health shouldn’t be left to the police. We should not try to resolve the ills of society by enforcement. So many ways we could do things better. We should all work together better.’

Listen to 'Can the Police Keep Us Safe?'

Shortlisted Nominees

‘Behind the Crime’ series by Dr Kerensa Hocken, Sally Tilt and Andrew Wilkie

‘Can the Police Keep Us Safe?’ series by Helena Kennedy KC and Rob Beckley

‘Scratching the Surface’ by Neville Thompson and Odd Arts

‘Seventeen years: The Andrew Malkinson story’ podcast series by Emily Dugan and Will Roe for The Sunday Times

‘Two Daughters’ by True Vision and Little Dooley

The CJA Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Pragna Patel

‘We cannot lose hope, we should not lose hope.’


Navita Atreya, Barrister at Garden Court Chambers and Former Trustee of Southall Black Sisters, wrote about Pragna and her groundbreaking work:

At the age of 22 soon after graduating from university, Pragna founded Southall Black Sisters (SBS).

As the former director of SBS she remained in post for 40 years during which time the organization gained significant profile nationally and internationally recognized for its work as giving a voice to the most vulnerable and powerless women in society.

Pragna was involved in pioneering and precedent setting case work, policy campaign and strategic litigation concerning all forms of gender based violence including domestic abuse, forced marriage, honour based violence, sexual violence as well as issues of poverty, racism, mental health, policing, the legal aid, criminal and civil justice system.

The impact of Pragna’s work has been far reaching. She has the unique ability to think about how to improve the life of an individual but also about the bigger picture and how to tackle systemic failures and oppression. I have highlighted three significant areas of Pragna Patel’s direct impact 1) Kiranjit Ahluwalia 2) transnational spouse abandonment 3) domestic abuse and immigration policy.


Kiranjit Ahluwalia, a battered Asian woman who was imprisoned for life for killing her violent and abusive husband. Pragna visited Kiranjit Ahluwalia for two years, gathered detailed witness statements and worked closely with lawyers. Finally the murder conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal and there was a re-trial where the Crown accepted a plea of manslaughter and Kiranjit Ahluwalia was a free woman.. This was a landmark case which highlighted the discriminatory nature of the criminal justice system and eventually led to the abolition of provocation in the context of homicide on the basis it was not fit for purpose


Transnational spouse abandonment

Pragna turned her attention to women who were abandoned by their British Citizen spouses in their country of origins. She campaigned for it to treated as a form of domestic abuse it itself.

Pragna recently gave expert evidence in AM v SSHD [2022] EWHC 2591 (Admin) in which the Court Lieven J, a High Court Judge recently ruled that the Home Office unlawfully discriminated against victims of domestic abuse abandoned outside the UK which interfered with their human rights. This is a victory for victims of transnational marriage abandonment who have successfully argued that they should be treated like their counterparts in the UK including the right to be able to apply for permanent residence on the basis of the abuse they suffered.


Domestic Violence and the immigration issues

Over the decades, SBS has consistently campaigned and lobbied for official recognition and accommodation of the particular circumstances of women with insecure immigration status who face domestic or other gender based violence.

Following tireless campaigns, in 2002, the Domestic Violence Rule (DV Rule) was introduced in immigration law to make it easier for migrant women to leave violent relationships and to apply to remain in the UK as victims of domestic violence. Subsequently, in April 2012, the Destitution Domestic Violence Concession (DDVC) was introduced to enable such women to apply for limited social security benefits and emergency housing pending their applications for settlement, thereby serving to mitigate the harsh effects of the NRPF policy.


Pragna Patel is a passionate, determined and longstanding campaigner and advocate of womens’ rights and freedom, particularly those women from black and minority communities for a more just and equal society. She has dedicated her entire working life to fighting oppression and injustice. She lives by the principle that any injustice is a threat to justice everywhere. She has advocated for and achieved significant change for the better for womens’ lives. She is an activist, deep thinker, prolific writer, strategic litigator, expert witness and inspirational speaker who has inspired generations of lawyers and activists.