Lisa Holder, President

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Lisa Holder, Equal Justice Society President (as of September 1, 2022)

Lisa Holder is President of the Equal Justice Society, the Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit transforming the nation’s consciousness on race through law, social science, and the arts. Lisa succeeded Eva Paterson who retired on August 31, 2022.

Lisa has been part of EJS’s legal team in 2016 as Of Counsel. She served as Interim Legal Director from November 2018 through April 2019. In these various roles, she has been an invaluable part of our litigation and advocacy to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and to bring race equity in the workplace and workforce.

In May 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Lisa to serve on the first-of-its-kind Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans, formed by the Governor’s signing of AB 3121, authored by then-Assemblymember Shirley Weber. The bill established the nine-member task force to educate the public about slavery and its history and pernicious aftereffects in California and make recommendations on how the state could provide reparations. This Summer, the Task Force released a stunning 500-page interim report that surveys the history of anti-black discrimination in America and serves as the scholarly underpinning for the reparations legislation.

Lisa has been a nationally recognized, award-winning trial attorney since 2000, and has developed expertise in cases involving employment discrimination, police misconduct, and international human rights violations. She was named by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star from 2005-2008.

Lisa is also a recognized racial justice scholar and equity consultant. She is a UCLA Law Lecturer and previously taught their Civil Rights Clinic. As an adjunct professor at Occidental College, she created the curriculum for a class on the prison industrial complex. Lisa also serves as a legislative consultant on institutional bias elimination.

In 2019, Lisa was a primary advocate and consultant in the drafting of AB 241 and 242 (Kamlager), the laws that now require all judges, attorneys, court staff and health professionals to undertake continuing education on reducing implicit bias. In 2020, she served as a steering committee member for the Proposition 16 campaign to repeal California’s ban on affirmative action.

Lisa is a recognized Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) scholar and has designed and implemented diversity solutions and implicit bias trainings for non-profits, government entities, private equity, Hollywood film and television companies, and public defender offices across the country. This year she spearheaded the EJS team in producing an MCLE counter-bias training video for California attorneys.

Previously, Lisa worked as a Los Angeles Deputy Alternate Public Defender and as a law clerk for the Equal Justice Initiative. She served on the ACLU of Southern California Board of Directors for four years and is currently Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Child Care Law Center.

After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree at Wesleyan University, Holder graduated from New York University School of Law as a distinguished Root-Tilden Scholar.