2023-2024 Fellows

Camille Fulcher

Camille was born in New Haven and spent her early childhood in the Brookside Housing projects. Her parents moved Camille and her sisters when she was 8 years old. At 9, she wrote an informal contract to her maternal grandmother; it outlined Camille’s plan to become a lawyer, and she committed herself to the life-long dream.

After graduation from the New Haven Public School District, Camille attended Hampton University, an HBCU, where she majored in History and Political Science. She transferred to Albertus Magnus College to complete her bachelor’s in business and enrolled in an accelerated graduate program to receive an MBA. She is a first-generation college graduate.

Over the past six years, Camille has taught in the Bridgeport and New Haven school systems. She has witnessed numerous educational disparities, and it has helped her understand and believe there should be an innovative approach to education-based equity. Camille is currently a third-grade teacher at Booker T. Washington Academy, New Haven. As a teacher, she is passionate about creating a platform for educational reform. As Camille completes the Yale Access to Law School fellowship, she looks forward to pursuing her law degree to harvest a base for education reform as strong as the great works of the current prison reform advocates.


Chaniah Pantry

Niah Pantry has lived in New Haven since high school. She graduated from Elms College in Chicopee, MA with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. She then moved on to obtain her master’s degree at the University of New Haven, in West Haven, CT. There, Niah obtained her Master of Science in Criminal Justice, focusing on Juvenile Justice. She currently works in the

New Haven Public Schools District as a teacher in a self-contained classroom, working with children that are on the spectrum. Niah is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, serving on the Executive Board as Secretary. Her biggest goal is to become a juvenile defender to help juveniles transition out of the system back into society.





Christine Bartlett-Josie

Christine Bartlett-Josie is a political consultant with over two decades of experience in electoral politics, campaign strategy, consulting, and fundraising--she understands the power of people of color to influence the outcome of elections and to advance progressive policies. She has spent years in Connecticut recruiting people of color to run for office and understands the work that needs to be done to build support. Christine has worked collaboratively with key political stakeholders, candidates, party leaders, campaign staff and constituents. For five years, she served as board chair for EmergeCT, an affiliate of EmergeAmerica, the national organization that identifies and trains democratic woman to run for office. Her goals in Connecticut have been to identify and mentor as many women as possible, in particular women of color, to run for office.

Her political work and legacy thus far is based on her experience as founding partner for DNA Campaigns, where she has been most effective in leading the daily operations for candidates and campaigns. Specifically, she has served as Campaign Manager/Consultant for multiple winning candidates in Connecticut, running campaigns from Stamford to New London, from the Shore to the Valley. Those include the mayors of New Haven, Bridgeport, Norwalk, Stamford, West Haven, East Haven, 7 state Senators and 22 State Reps. In 2018, she managed the successful campaign of the Connecticut State Treasurer.

Christine’s diverse work background also includes Foreign Service Officer for the Government of St. Lucia at the St. Lucia Permanent Mission to the United Nations and Consulate General of St. Lucia New York, 1997-2006. In the 2014 and 2020 election cycles, she was on special assignment at the Connecticut Office of the Secretary of the State, ensuring that the Registrars of Voters throughout Connecticut were prepared for elections.


Clyde Meikle

Founding mentor of the TRUE unit, which began in 2016, Clyde Meikle worked with young adults as a mentor. Mr. Meikle ran various programs, including a fictitious currency system and credit agency, and participated in conflict circles and creative restorative practices. Serving a fifty-year sentence, Mr. Meikle was released 22 years and 7 months early. Released a day before

his 50th birthday, he was able to graduate from Wesleyan University alongside his classmates on campus. Shortly thereafter Mr. Meikle earned a fellowship as a TRUE leadership associate for the Restoring Promise team at the Vera Institute of Justice. Mr. Meikle was awarded a two-year fellowship, which emerged from his work as a mentor in a Restoring Promise unit at Cheshire CI in Connecticut. He provided support and gave insights for Restoring Promise units, which supported a national initiative to open and sustain units across the country. Currently, Mr. Meikle is turning his focus toward going to law school with the 2024 cohort at the Access to Law School program at Yale University.


Denisha Spearman

Denisha, a native of New Haven, is a proud first-generation college graduate. In 2016, she earned her bachelor’s in business administration with a concentration in Management and a minor in Psychology with a focus on Mental Health from Southern Connecticut State University. Presently, Denisha serves as a High School English Teacher for the City of New Haven Public Schools.

Her extensive experience with nonprofits has fueled her passion for providing resources to her community and students. This drive led her to pursue a career in law, focusing on criminal and racial justice. Denisha aspires to leverage a legal career to serve her community, empowering them with essential skills and knowledge about the law.

Outside of her professional commitments, Denisha enjoys traveling with her son, indulging in reading, and creating delightful meals for her family and friends.


Ebony Bowden-Moore

Ebony Bowden-Moore is Assistant Property Manager for a local housing community. With over 15 years of experience, she has fostered long-standing and meaningful relationships with those she serves. Her objective has been to make a permanent impact within her city — both professionally and personally. In Ebony's youth, she assisted her grandmother who was an established pillar in New Haven County. Founder of Feed My Sheep Ministries, Catherine Bowden recruited Ebony early to serve in the collection and distribution of baked goods to the homeless and elderly. This act of selfless service ignited the flame that catapulted Ebony into the realm of the other-centered.

Ebony obtained her Associate Degree in Human Services from Gateway Community College. She continued her academic journey at Albertus Magnus College where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, with focus on Social Services.

A social chameleon, Ebony is one of many passions. She is an active member of the New Haven Chapter of the NAACP. She is also a local singer/songwriter, recording artist and poet. Outside of her professional life, you may find her crooning soulful tunes before crowds throughout the Tri-city area. With her music streaming across all platforms and on rotation at 94.3 WYBC, Ebony is proud to see the fruits of many years of musical labor.

With passion to continue her path of service, Ebony has taken life experiences and her background in Real Estate/Property Management and is forging a path toward the study of Law with concentration in Contract and Landlord/Tenant sectors.


Eva Bermúdez Zimmerman

Eva Bermúdez Zimmerman is a Community and Labor Organizer. As the daughter of educators, Eva had an earlier introduction to advocacy than most. As a child, Eva became a plaintiff in a landmark school desegregation case, Sheff v. O'Neill, which argued that "the state [of Connecticut] had an affirmative obligation to provide equal educational opportunities to every student.” Eva remembers underfunded classrooms and her bilingual program being cut all while losing friends to gang and drug violence that plagued Hartford during the years of her youth. The court case framed what would become her career in organizing and activism.

The polyglot Boricua used her time away from Hartford to help in humanitarian efforts in Brazil, participate in the student strikes in Puerto Rico, and conduct legislative research for Congressman Rangel’s office on Capitol Hill. Eva did not shy away from helping those who needed it the most. The former Councilwoman signed up over 15,000 people in a three-year period through Access Health CT insurance exchange as an Assister Navigator for the state while working for SEIU Local 2001. For this work she was awarded Latina of the year by the Connecticut Legislature LPRAC.

Eva currently serves on the ACLU Connecticut, Paid Family Medical Leave Authority and Political CT. She now enters her sixteenth year as a professional organizer. Currently, she runs Childcare for Connecticut’s Future. This coalition of parents and educators advocate for more funding for early care and education programs across the state because all family deserve affordable childcare in rich educational environments and the best way to give people a fighting chance is to support them when they are most vulnerable.


Gabrielle Bynum

Gabrielle Bynum is an aspiring entrepreneur and legal professional. As a first-generation black woman and proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, she is passionate about making a change in her communities—both locally and internationally.

After participating in a dual enrollment program throughout high school and graduating in 2020 with her bachelor's degree in legal studies, Gabrielle went on to earn her master’s degree from Quinnipiac University in 2022. Now, she looks forward to diving into the legal world and using her drive, knowledge, and experiences to make strides in the New Haven community, and then some. She currently dedicates her time to working as a program manager at a community nonprofit in New Haven, where she works primarily with youth services.

Additionally, she is also on the board of another New Haven non-profit, Ignite the Voice, which works with youth to encourage their creative expression and connect them with various resources. She also has experience within education, legal, business, finance, retail, and consulting industries and is excited to continue expanding her horizons. In her free time, Gabrielle enjoys watching TV and movies, listening to music and attending concerts, traveling, reading fiction, researching random topics, cooking, and trying new foods.

Gabrielle is excited to embark on this legal journey and use her newfound knowledge along the way to support marginalized families impacted by trauma, discrimination, and injustices!


Hugh McCalla

Hugh graduated from Morehouse College where he received his B.A. in Political Science. While in college, Hugh was quite active as a student athlete playing wide receiver for Morehouse College, and he joined many student organizations. He also interned for the Honorable Congressman John Lewis. After graduation, he joined the AmeriCorps network as a VISTA, where he helped to educate over 300+ youth and young adults in the state of Connecticut (his home state) about healthy financial management skills. Hugh’s current role is working as a Preparedness Officer for FEMA GPD-Homeland Security Preparedness Division. Hugh is a huge sports fan, political junky,                                                and music connoisseur.




Jazmarie Melendez

Jazmarie Melendez was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Her early life's journey has profoundly shaped her commitment to social justice and advocacy. Jazmarie graduated from Albertus

Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut, earning a BS in Health Sciences. She is currently employed as an educator for the public schools. During her time in college, she experienced the tragic loss of her brother, Jayson Negron, who was murdered by a Bridgeport Police Officer. In direct response, she founded Justice for Jayson, a collective whose aims are to transform current narratives around policing and describe its harms through bridging personal stories, community experiences, and structural critique. This includes researching the legal infrastructure of police violence in Connecticut. Jazmarie is passionate about educating others, seeking justice, and supporting families who have endured the same pain she has faced. She has collaborated with various organizations and was a 2020 Soros Justice Youth Activist Fellow.

Jazmarie aspires to become a civil rights attorney. Her dream is to continue addressing the urgent disparities seen throughout the state of Connecticut including police violence, the Prison Industrial Complex, and the school-to-prison pipeline.


Jocelyn Pineda

Jocelyn is a first-generation Latina woman born and raised in Waterbury, CT. Her parents immigrated from Ecuador, and she had to learn how to navigate the world as a child of immigrants. Her passion for advocacy was sparked by constantly helping her parents deal with the immigration system at an early age. After helping her parents successfully obtain U.S. citizenship after 23 years, she knew she wanted to attend law school.

Jocelyn is currently a senior at the University of New Haven, completing her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Correctional Rehabilitation and Supervision. She is also the Program Assistant at EMERGE Connecticut Inc., a transitional reentry program in the Greater New Haven Area assisting returning citizens post-incarceration. At EMERGE, she assists with one-on-one case management and coaching with crew members. EMERGE has given Jocelyn the ability to showcase how much she cares about breaking the collateral consequences set in place that disproportionately affect returning citizens. She is a strong believer in building community in order to reduce recidivism within the criminal legal system.

Jocelyn is also active in the Waterbury community. She is a part of the advisory board for a grassroots organization called Radical Advocates for Cross-Cultural Education (RACCE), pushing for alternatives to punitive policies in Waterbury Public Schools.

In her downtime, you will find Jocelyn playing with her golden retriever dog, Rocky. She also enjoys reading books because it lets her imagination run freely. Jocelyn finds comfort in exploring new cities and trying amazing food. She is a social butterfly when it comes to her community and hopes to bring that enthusiasm to her law work one day.


Marcia Lene Smith

Marcia Lene Smith was born in Winterville, North Carolina to the late Bishop Charlie J. and Mother Esther R. Smith. In 1966, her parents migrated from North Carolina to New Haven, Connecticut in search of a better future for their children. As her master teachers, Smith's parents instilled in her a love for the arts, literature, family, fashion, and the Lord.

Marcia earned her Bachelor of Science in Journalism, Southern Connecticut State University; a Master of Arts in Women’s Studies, Southern Connecticut State University; a Master of Science in Organization & Management, Antioch New England Graduate School; and a PhD in Government and Religion, Berne University International Graduate School.

Smith is founder and CEO of the Markel’s LLC, the Essence of Beauty Women’s Conference, the Take Me to the King Mothers’ and Daughters’ Retreat (MADR) Foundation, the Spiritual Mother’s Institute of Theology and Healing (SMITH), and co-founder of Strive, Overcome, and Rebound (SOAR). She has trained more than two hundred women, men, and youth to deal with trauma, to realize their creativity, and to become disruptive agents in their communities. A disruptive visionary, Smith’s latest incubated dream is to host a Disruptive Thinking Symposium on Restorative Justice: “Testimonies of Regeneration Illuminated” to provide a forum of regeneration for those left outside the prison walls.

As a servant leader, Smith has worked for the State of Connecticut for 34 years managing diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice programs. Although Smith retired from full-time employment in 2018, she continues to serve as a volunteer on local boards, conferences, and organizations. Smith enjoys working in the academy and just entered her 27th year as an adjunct professor in the Humanities Department at the CT State Community College Housatonic Campus (HCC) where she founded the HCC NAACP Chapter. She has participated in and photographed a dozen rallies and marches throughout Connecticut, New York, Washington, DC, and Kentucky.


Nkenge Hook

Nkenge Hook is a lifelong resident of New Haven, CT. Currently, she is finishing her final year in the Master of Public Administration program at Albertus Magnus College. Nkenge is passionate about public policies and how they affect the underserved population. She is currently serving on the Professional Graduate Studies (PGS) Advisory Board and the DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) committees at Albertus. As a change agent, Hook desires to see equity and equality in all sectors of the school structure and student body. As a part of the mission to create policies that benefit the student body as a whole, she works to ensure that diversity efforts lead to each student having the tools to succeed in higher education. Her desire is to be a human rights attorney in order to be a trailblazer for justice and fairness for all whom she represents.




Peggy Inahuazo

Peggy Inahuazo is a New Haven native born to immigrant parents. She is a first-generation college graduate and a New Haven Promise Scholar. Peggy earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology from Southern Connecticut State University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Criminal Justice at the University of New Haven.

Peggy discovered her passion for advocating for social justice as an undergraduate student. In 2019, she worked as a paralegal for the Inmates Legal Aid Program. There, she gained first-hand experience in understanding the racial disparities and challenges faced by individuals with disabilities within the criminal justice system. This experience highlighted issues such as the lack of resources and access to medical care, treatment, rehabilitation, basic hygienic supplies, legal aid, education, and resources aiding prisoners’ pro-social integration and rehabilitation. Peggy’s aspirations are centered around reforming the criminal justice system, whether through the courts, policing, or corrections. Ultimately, she hopes to someday ensure that everyone involved with the legal system experiences a just, humane, and rehabilitative process.

In addition to her career goals, Peggy is a mother to two biracial children who serve as her motivation for advocating for social and economic equality, particularly in low-income communities that lack sufficient educational resources. Her long-term objective is to become a representative of the minority community, using her voice to shed light on the challenges immigrants and people of color face in pursuit of the “American Dream.”


Rashawn Lee

Rashawn Lee has over twenty-seven years of business administration, sales, and consulting experience. He is a proud husband and father of seven. He was born in the 70’s in Newark, New Jersey to his mom, Ms. Hattie Lee. Rashawn, determined not to become another statistic, attended Metropolitan College of New York and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Business.

A few years after college, Mr. Lee was hired by a fortune 500 company and transplanted from New York to Connecticut to manage the sales and national accounts for workplace solutions and digital transformation services. Mr. Lee had the burning desire to share his skills with the community and started his own company, Lion’s Share Marketing, LLC, by pairing those facing

the loss of their homes with investors. He eventually expanded his company to include telemarketing and sales for a variety of clients throughout the State of Connecticut.

Due to his personal battles with the criminal justice system, Mr. Lee became motivated to help his community in a different way. He started Never2MuchMail as a way to bridge the communication gap between inmates and their families. He also started a pre-settlement cash advance underwriting company, offering clients pre-settlement lawsuit funding. Mr. Lee is currently Executive Director of Clarissa Lee Law Group, LLC., a personal injury law practice that focuses on Multi-District Litigation (MDL), car accidents, dog bites, and slip-and-fall premises liability claims. He resides in Greater Hartford, Connecticut with his family.


Sandra McKinnie

Sandra McKinnie is a community organizer, motivational speaker, grant writer, researcher, and case study analyst who has fashioned her life to advocate for education, social and employment equity, and inclusion of those of lower socioeconomic status with an emphasis on individuals struggling through the criminal justice system.

Sandra began grassroots activism on the campus of Howard University, Washington, D.C. Her undergraduate work continued at Albertus Magnus College where she obtained her Bachelor of Science, Magna Cum Laude, immediately followed by a master’s degree (Honors) in Criminal Justice, with a Concentration in Correctional Administration. Sandra was recently selected by the University of Connecticut's School of Public Policy and The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven as one of the 2022-2023 Emerging Nonprofit Leaders of Color.

Sandra created S.M.I.L.E. (Single Mothers Intelligently Living Excellent) over a decade ago. The program provides yearlong programming in financial literacy, parenting, mental and physical health, urban trauma, business plan development, life coping, quality employability skills, and home ownership for single mothers. The program has championed life changing momentum towards economic leverage and further economic stability for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) who participated. S.M.I.L.E. was represented in Washington, D.C., and Sandra has become a part of a national movement lobbying congress for IDA (Individual Development Account) funding annually. Her program S.M.I.L.E, although renamed, continues to serve as a model nationwide.

Sandra’s most rewarding professional work includes the city of New Haven's Project Fresh Start under the former probate court judge, while also assisting management of the Warren Kimbro Re-Entry Project, which was a multimillion-dollar pilot initiative for effective reentry of former offenders. She remains involved in local roundtable reentry case management, along with volunteerism, public speaking engagements, and various church service activities. She is the recipient of the prestigious Ellen Bree Burns Award of Excellence in Criminal Justice.


Solace Porter

Solace Porter graduated from Oberlin College in May 2023 with a bachelor's degree in law and society and a minor in Politics. During her time at Oberlin, she actively contributed to both the academic and extracurricular aspects of campus life, serving as a member of the Women's Lacrosse team and assuming the roles of Peer Mentor and Coordinator. Solace’s dedication and academic prowess earned her recognitions, including the distinction of Cole Scholar (Oberlin Initiative in Electoral Politics) and Law and Justice Scholar. She was also honored as the recipient of a Jere Bruner Political Research Grant and the Gertrude E. Mouton Award for athletes excelling on and off the field.

Presently, Solace holds the position of Development Associate at a political incubator that uses technology and experimentation to stop fascism and build progressive power. Prior to this role, she gained valuable experience working on Lauren Underwood's congressional campaign, serving as a legal assistant for an Immigration Law Firm, interning in-house for a rare disease pharmaceutical company, and spearheading two initiatives: We Lax in Barbados and the Guilford Equality Project. Both of these initiatives are dedicated to acknowledging racial injustices, amplifying historically silenced communities, and fostering educational awareness.

Solace looks forward to growing as a scholar and building lasting connections throughout the program!


Twyla Green

Twyla is a recent first-generation college graduate from the University of Connecticut where she earned her degree in Women Gender Sexuality Studies and Human Rights. Upon graduation, Twyla committed to Teach For America Corps where she became a seventh-grade social studies teacher in Springfield, Massachusetts. Today, she is a third-year teacher in New Haven, CT. During her time as a teacher, she has seen the discrepancies within the education system. Law school has always been her end goal, and what she saw as a teacher drove her passions even further to pursue law. She believes that a child’s zip code should not determine the quality of their education, and she aims to challenge and reform laws within the education system to empower the young leaders of tomorrow.

Not only did Twyla experience public schools as a teacher, but she also encountered them firsthand as she is a product of the New Haven Public School system, from kindergarten all the way up to her senior year at James Hillhouse High School. Twyla graduated in the top 10 of her class of over 200 students and received a multitude of scholarships including the New Haven Promise. She was the captain of her cheerleading team while also attending the Educational Center for the Arts and C.B.C program tha

junior and senior years. Although Twyla had many opportunities in her high school and middle school years as an adolescent, she realizes that her counterparts in more affluent neighborhoods had even more. The students in these districts didn’t have to jump through hurdles to access basic SAT textbooks, the staff in their districts had lighter caseloads and were able to meet the needs of their students so that the college process was smoother, and they were equipped for the college application process. These inequities have shaped her vision of what she hopes to achieve when she begins her law career.