The Equal Justice Society board and staff at a 2019 retreat.

The Equal Justice Society is transforming the nation’s consciousness on race through law, social science, and the arts. Our legal strategy aims to broaden conceptions of present-day discrimination to include unconscious and structural bias by using social science, structural analysis, and real-life experience. Currently, EJS targets its advocacy efforts on school discipline, special education, and the school-to-prison pipeline, race-conscious remedies, and inequities in the criminal justice system. The Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit also engages the arts and artists in creating work and performances that allow wider audiences to understand social justice issues and struggles.

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Eva Paterson co-founded EJS and served as its President until August 31, 2022.




  • Eva Paterson, Co-Founder and President (2000-2022)
  • Charles Ogletree (1952-2023) – Professor of Law, Harvard Law School (founding board member and former board chair)
  • Anthony Solana, Jr. – President and Chairperson, For People of Color, Inc. (former board chair)
  • Kate Kendell – Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights (former board chair)
  • Priscilla Ocen – Professor of Law at Loyola Law School (former board chair)
  • Maria Blanco, Vice President, Civic Engagement, California Community Foundation (founding board member)
  • James J. Brosnahan – Senior Partner, Morrison Foerster LLP (founding board member)
  • Barbara A. Caulfield (1947 – 2010), former Judge, United States District Court for the Northern District of California (former board member)
  • Dorothy M. Ehrlich, Deputy Executive Director, national American Civil Liberties Union
  • Alfred Fraijo, Jr. – Partner, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
  • Kelly McCreary – Actor, Producer
  • Margaret M. Russell – Professor of Law, Santa Clara University School of Law (founding board member)
  • Jayashri Srikantiah – Professor of Law and Director of Stanford Law School’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic
  • Tobias Wolff – Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Eric Yamamoto – Professor of Law, University of Hawai`i School of Law (founding board member)

Founding donors: Elizabeth Cabraser, Jack Londen, Quinn Delaney and Wayne Jordan, Ford Foundation-Alan Jenkins, Sara Ríos, Open Society Institute-Gara LaMarche, Catherine Samuels, John Kowal and Raquiba LaBrie;

Founding board members: Charles Ogletree, John Bonifaz, James J. Brosnahan, Kate Kendell, Tobias B. Wolff, Eric K. Yamamoto, Maria Blanco and Margaret Russell;

Founders: Eva Paterson, Abim Thomas, Susan Serrano, Carrie Avery, Sheila Thomas, Michelle Alexander, Joan Graff, Margaret Russell, Margalynne Armstrong, Shauna Marshall, Angela Harris, Stephanie Wildman, Cheryl Stevens, April Williams, Norm Spaulding, and H. Jesse Arnelle;

First staff members: Eva Paterson, Susan Serrano, Allegra Churchill, Swati Kapadia, Rico Oyola, Joe Lucero, Archana Sahgal, David Salniker, Keith Kamisugi and Elaine Elinson.

Read more about our mission and our work.