In an alarming week for American democracy that rocked the Prep for Prep community, hope emerged. President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris nominated Prep alumna Kristen Clarke (P9 II) for Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. "If I am fortunate enough to be confirmed, we will turn the page on hate and close the door on discrimination by enforcing our civil rights laws," Kristen stated in her nomination acceptance speech on January 7
Kristen has dedicated her career to protecting and advocating for civil rights. In her acceptance speech, she described her nomination as a homecoming since she began her career at the Department of Justice in the Civil Rights Division, serving as a federal prosecutor in the Criminal Section of the Division, handling police misconduct, police brutality, hate crimes, and human trafficking cases. She then went on to protect voting rights and tackle redistricting with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She continued her path in public service as Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Attorney General's Office. Kristen is currently the president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, fighting injustice and discrimination in areas including housing, criminal justice, education access, and voting rights. She has written numerous articles and books including Barack Obama and African American Empowerment: The Rise of Black America’s New Leadership
and Seeking Higher Ground: The Hurricane Katrina Crisis, Race and Public Policy Reader
, both co-edited with Dr. Manning Marable. In 2015, she served as a lecturer at Columbia University School of Law where she graduated with her J.D. in 2000. She also holds an A.B. from Harvard University.
Kristen is an alum of the PREP 9 program and studied at Choate Rosemary Hall. In her nomination speech, she notes, “I was fortunate to benefit from amazing educational opportunities and plenty of lucky breaks that opened doors for me, but I knew then as I know today that not everyone is blessed with the opportunities that I enjoyed, and that awareness has animated my life's work.” Kristen was featured on the cover of Prep for Prep’s 2017 Annual Report highlighting changemakers in our community, which you can view here
. Her appointment to the U.S. Department of Justice exemplifies the power each member of the Prep for Prep community holds to make a positive change, big or small. Prep for Prep is proud of Kristen Clarke’s continued work in social justice and equality, and of the many Prep for Prep alumni committed to creating a more equitable world.