As you may know, I’ll be stepping down from my role as DJC’s Executive Director on July 1. After an 18 month transition process, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Nancy A. Parker and Felicia Thomas, DJC’s new Co-Executive Directors! Nancy and Felicia have been with DJC for years, and I couldn’t be more excited about their leadership and the direction DJC is heading in.
Nancy has served as the Managing Attorney of our movement lawyering practice and is one of the most fiercely committed advocates you’ll ever meet. She’s led our work on the Stop Shotspotter campaign, defending Black Lives Matter protesters, and working with our partners to develop a People’s Budget, among other campaigns. Before coming to DJC, Nancy fought for workers’ rights as a labor lawyer, advocating for employees and their families in arbitrations, federal courts, and before the National Labor Relations Board. She successfully argued before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to secure benefits for mine workers; obtained numerous reinstatements for wrongfully discharged workers through her motion practice; and conducted trainings on various topics, including civil rights and sexual harassment.
Felicia has served as our Associate Executive Director since 2020 and has been at the forefront of cultural shifts within DJC. Felicia oversaw the creation of our Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging (JEDI-B) policy, our Organizational Strengthening Committee, the transition to the four day work week, and was part of implementing unlimited COVID sick time, among other supports for our staff. Prior to DJC, Felicia served as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Bodman PLC and the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Director of Diversity Initiatives at Wayne State University Law School. Felicia earned her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, and her legal background has allowed her to work thoughtfully on behalf of our attorneys. I’m eager to see how DJC’s internal culture will thrive under her leadership.
While I could go on and on about their accomplishments and contributions, I’d rather let them introduce themselves here and say what they’re looking forward to as DJC grows.
-Amanda Alexander (she/her), Executive Director, DJC
Since moving back to Michigan at the top of 2020 (after a stint in Pittsburgh), I have had the absolute pleasure of working as a movement lawyer for the great people of Detroit. In this capacity, I’ve actively participated in the Coalition for Police Transparency and Accountability’s fight to hold the Detroit Police Department accountable for the death of Hakim Littleton and for its institutionalized racist practices. I was proudly part of the dedicated legal team that successfully sued the City of Detroit and its police for the unconstitutional civil rights violations that were exacted upon nonviolent protesters fighting for Black lives and police accountability. Recently, I’ve organized around ending the use of ShotSpotter, an expensive and inefficient surveillance technology that purports to acoustically detect gunshots in Black and Brown communities. As a staff attorney at DJC, I’ve expanded my understanding of police and prison abolition and now incorporate an abolitionist framework in all that I do.
As the mother of two young, Black girls, I have a strong sense of purpose in carrying out DJC’s mission of building more just cities where everyone can grow and thrive. My dream for my children is one that I hold for all marginalized peoples–that they can truly know and live what it means to be FREE. I believe in the work that DJC does and its ability to change the world around us and have seen the potential for our work to shape public opinion, as we saw with the public commentary period around the Stop Shotspotter campaign.
I am beyond overjoyed to be stepping into the position of interim Co-ED at DJC to bring you more excellent movement lawyering and bold abolitionist coalition building. Through radical imagination, I truly believe, and look forward to, creating a new world in which we embody a new tender way of being in relationship with one another.
-Nancy A. Parker (she/her)
As a native Detroiter, I take the privilege of serving the community that I was born and raised in to heart. It is my pleasure to support the behind the scenes work at DJC to ensure that we’re bringing our clients the quality service they deserve and that our staff are fully supported. As Associate Executive Director, I oversaw the establishment of our Organizational Strengthening Committee and our Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (JEDI + B) policy, which helps us focus on what it means to be an inclusive, welcoming, and affirming workplace. I’ve been part of conceptualizing and integrating wellness programs and internal policies, including a four-day workweek and bi-annual rest weeks to recharge and re-center, and was elated to roll out our inaugural sabbatical policy. I’ve also worked alongside our Leadership Team to realign our PTO and parental leave policies to better serve the needs of our staff.
I look forward to continuing to bring innovative and progressive policies and practices into the workplace to make sure that DJC’s internal workings are as forward thinking as our visionary organizing. As we strive to create more just cities, I work to create a more just workplace that’s inclusive and equitable. As a team, Nancy and I look forward to working alongside our dedicated colleagues as we embark on what we believe will be the best days ahead for DJC.
-Felicia Thomas (she/her)