Faculty Director

Professor Anthony Thompson will lead this effort as the Center’s founding faculty director. Professor Thompson has served on the NYU Law faculty for over 20 years and teaches courses in criminal justice, civil litigation and leadership. Thompson is part of the Duke Corporate Education Global Educator Network and has provided executive education to a number of global companies focusing on leadership and strategy execution. He has received numerous prizes for his teaching, including the NYU Distinguished Teaching Award; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Faculty Award, which recognizes teaching excellence, leadership, social justice activism, and community building; and the Law School’s Podell Distinguished Teaching Award. Thompson was recognized by El Diario in 2011 with “The EL” award, as one of the “outstanding Latinos in the Tri-State area,” for his community service. He earned his JD at Harvard Law School and his BS Ed from Northwestern University.

Executive Director

Vincent M. Southerland joined the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law as its inaugural Executive Director in February 2017. He has dedicated his career to advancing racial justice and civil rights. Vincent comes to NYU Law after serving as an Assistant Federal Public Defender with the Federal Defenders for the Southern District of New York since 2015.  Prior to his time at the Federal Defenders, Vincent spent seven years at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), where he was a Senior Counsel.  While at LDF, he engaged in litigation and advocacy at the intersection of race and criminal justice, including the successful representation of death-sentenced prisoners across the American South and juveniles sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. He also led LDF’s advocacy efforts around race and policing, and was lead counsel in school desegregation and employment discrimination matters. Vincent previously served as a staff attorney at The Bronx Defenders, and an E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center.  He began his career as a law clerk to the Honorable Theodore McKee, Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the Honorable Louis H. Pollak, of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Vincent holds an LLM from Georgetown University Law Center, received his JD from Temple University School of Law and his BA from the University of Connecticut.

Research Scholar

Sarah Hamilton joined the Center as a Research Scholar in April 2018. Her commitment to a transnational, multidisciplinary approach to racial injustice and inequality has formed the basis of her work in minority and gender rights, immigration and refugee law, and the intersection of human rights law and peacebuilding. Before coming to NYU Law, Sarah spent eight years working with marginalized communities, managing projects on human rights law and peacebuilding in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and countries in Africa and Asia. In addition, she furthered her legal expertise by providing legal advice at community law centers and completing a mini-pupilage at Number 8 Barrister’s Chambers. Since relocating to the United States in 2016, Sarah has led Amnesty International USA’s national campaign on police brutality in Jamaica.

Sarah’s research includes her contribution to Richard Wilson’s book ‘Incitement On Trial: Prosecuting International Speech Crimes,’ racialized hate speech in the United States, a co-published article on the International Human Right to Science with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and her recent thesis on immigration law and racial caste in the United States. Born and raised in the United Kingdom, she holds an LL.B. Law degree from the University of Sheffield, an International Comparative Law Certificate from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and an LL.M. in Human Rights and Social Justice from the University of Connecticut’s School of Law.

Past Student Fellows

Megan Brattain ('19) was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. After graduating from Brown University, she moved to the Bay Area and spent two years running a health education program program for nineteen high schools. Megan then worked at the Center for Youth Wellness, a public health organization that both provided families with free trauma-informed therapy and advocated for legislative policy reforms recognizing trauma's impacts on individuals and communities. Megan managed partnerships with several community partners, where she helped to make the principle learnings from the science of early life trauma available to a broader audience. At NYU Law, Megan participated in the New York Civil Liberties Union clinic. She hopes to craft a career at the intersection of psychology, legal empowerment, and social justice.

Nicolas Duque Franco ('18) is a third-year law student, and a Derrick Bell Scholar, at New York University School of Law. He is a student fellow at the Law School's Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law. During his time at NYU Law, Nicolas has pursued his passion for criminal justice in various roles: prosecuting corrupt police officers and hate crimes offenders at the Department of Justice, defending indigent clients at three different Federal Defender offices, and supporting criminal justice appeals through the American Civil Liberties Union. He is also an avid member of the NYU Law student community, serving as the Law School’s Student Senator to NYU's Graduate Student Government and the former Co-Chair of the Latino Law Students Association. Prior to Law School, Nicolas worked as a management consultant for Deloitte Consulting for over two years. He received his undergraduate degree in English and Philosophy from the University of Chicago.

Nia O. Holston ('19) is originally from Philadelphia, PA. She received her undergraduate degree from Yale University, double-majoring in Political Science and African-American Studies. Following her college graduation, she spent two years at the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, AL. In addition to her role as a student fellow at the Center, she is also the Director of the Suspension Representation Project at NYU, the Political Chair for the Black Allied Students Association, and a staff editor for the Review of Law & Social Change at NYU.

Bobby Hunter ('18) was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and raised in Ames, Iowa. He graduated from Brown University in 2012 with concentrations in Education and American Studies, and received the Yat K. Tow prize for his work in the Providence community. After college, Bobby provided research support to the Vera Institute of Justice's 2013 report Coming of Age With Stop and Frisk, and worked as a paralegal at the ACLU Racial Justice Program and at Make the Road New York. At NYU, Bobby is a Latinx Rights Scholar and is currently a student advocate in the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic, where he has helped represent noncitizens before the Board of Immigration Appeals, Southern District of New York, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, as well as co-authored Dismantle, Don’t Expand, a report about the 1996 immigration laws. He is interested in fighting the systemic racism that permeates the mass incarceration and deportation systems.

Madhuri Swarna ('19) is a second-year law student at New York University the School of law and is a student fellow at the Center on Race, Inequality, and the law. Madhu has been developing her passion for criminal justice reform, particularly as it relates to racial justice and the death penalty through various clinical and internship experiences. She has interned with the ACLU’s Capital Punishment Project (CPP) where she assisted with capital habeas investigations and a civil rights suit against the New Orleans District Attorney’s Office, assisted the Georgia Capital Defender’s office in proportionality review research, and worked with public and private defense offices that provide indigent defense services. At NYU, Madhu is a member of the Racial Justice Clinic, is a co-chair for NYU Law’s High School Law Institute, the co-chair for the Alternative Breaks Program, vice president of the Trial Advocacy Society, and is the associate executive editor of casebook production for the Moot Court Journal. Madhu received her B.A in Political Science and Philosophy from Rutgers University.

Victoria (Tori) Wenger ('19) graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 2014 with a joint degree in African American Studies and Government. Prior to law school, she worked as a communications associate for Advancement Project, a civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. While at Advancement Project, Tori worked primarily on voting rights issues, and also contributed to efforts regarding police brutality, immigrant detention, and the school-to-prison pipeline. At NYU, Tori has served as chair of the Prison Reform and Education Project and worked with NYU's Civil Rights Clinic and the Racial Equity Strategies Clinic at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. She spent her 1L summer working on death penalty defense with the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center and will be in San Francisco for her 2L summer, working on the metro equity team of Public Advocates, a non-profit civil rights firm.Victoria (Tori) Wenger ('19) graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 2014 with a joint degree in African American Studies and Government. Prior to law school, she worked as a communications associate for Advancement Project, a civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. While at Advancement Project, Tori worked primarily on voting rights issues, and also contributed to efforts regarding police brutality, immigrant detention, and the school-to-prison pipeline. At NYU, Tori has served as chair of the Prison Reform and Education Project and worked with NYU's Civil Rights Clinic and the Racial Equity Strategies Clinic at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. She spent her 1L summer working on death penalty defense with the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center and will be in San Francisco for her 2L summer, working on the metro equity team of Public Advocates, a non-profit civil rights firm.