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Kimberly Merchant

Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Director of the Racial Justice Institute (RJI) and Network (RJN)
Chicago, IL
Kimberly Jones Merchant is the first ever Director of the Racial Justice Institute (RJI) and Network (RJN) at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, where she leads and provides strategic oversight for the annual institute as well as its expanding alumni advocacy network. RJI is a groundbreaking national leadership program, grounded in a commitment to race-equity as an integral and essential part of anti-poverty advocacy. RJI has developed a network of more than 200 equal justice advocates committed to advancing a coordinated racial justice advocacy agenda. Kimberly has twenty-one years of experience practicing law, most recently serving as the Managing Attorney and Educational Opportunities Director at the Mississippi Center for Justice's Delta office for 6 years, where among other initiatives, she spearheaded efforts to disrupt the school to prison pipeline with the development and implantation of the Sunflower County Systems Change Project. Kimberly attended the University of Southern Mississippi where she received a Bachelor of Science in English, and the University of Mississippi School Law where she received her JD. She is a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Fellow, Racial Justice Institute Fellow, and a Rockwood Leadership Fellow.