WASHINGTON, D.C., July 28, 2021 – The Board of Directors of Alliance for Justice is honored to announce that it has selected ACLU Senior Campaign Strategist and Obama administration alum Rakim H.D. Brooks to be AFJ’s next president. Rakim will succeed current AFJ President and Founder Nan Aron, who has led AFJ for 42 years.
“Rakim Brooks has distinguished himself as a tireless fighter for justice, and I am overjoyed that he will build on AFJ’s important work at a time when the health of our democracy and the constitutional rights of so many millions of people are at stake,” said Paulette Meyer, Board Chair of Alliance for Justice. “For more than four decades, Nan Aron has been leading the fight for a judiciary that is fair, demographically and professionally diverse, and committed to upholding the rights of everyone, and she is deeply admired across the progressive advocacy community. Rakim is the right person to carry on Nan’s inimitable work.”
Brooks has garnered an outstanding reputation as an innovative strategist, policy thinker and legal advocate in his current role as Campaign Manager for the ACLU’s Systemic Equality Campaign. Prior to his work at the ACLU, Brooks was an associate attorney at Susman Godfrey. There, he sued opioid manufacturers, worked to free citizens incarcerated in Dallas prisons at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and filed a Supreme Court amicus brief defending the right of consumers to have an independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Brooks recently served as a member of the Biden-Harris transition team, after previously serving as a policy advisor for the Treasury Department during the Obama administration. He began his career as a C. Edwin Baker Fellow at the progressive think tank Demos, and currently serves on the advisory board for the Brown Center for Slavery and Justice and as a board member of Getting Out, Staying Out in his native East Harlem.
Brooks clerked for Justice Edwin Cameron on the Constitutional Court of South Africa and at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the D.C. Circuit. He has a A.B. from Brown University; a M.Phil in Politics from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar; and a J.D. and M.B.A. from Yale Law School and the Yale School of Management.
“I could not be more excited to lead AFJ,” said Rakim Brooks. “As someone who grew up in public housing in a vibrant community of working people, I have a deep appreciation for the interconnected struggles of America’s poorest families and a personal connection to their struggle for racial, economic, environmental and reproductive justice. In our time, the courts are the frontline of democracy reform, and non-profits will continue to be on the frontlines of every major social issue for their communities. AFJ will continue the fight for a fairer, more just society, every day, for as long as it takes — just like Nan has for over forty years.”
“I am delighted that the board has selected Rakim Brooks as AFJ’s next president, and I could not be more excited for the continued growth and development of our organization under his leadership,” said AFJ President and Founder Nan Aron. “Leading AFJ has been my life’s work. I will be forever grateful to all the brilliant people, dedicated coalition partners, and tireless advocates that I have been so fortunate to work with along the way. AFJ’s fight for a just, free, and equitable society for all has never been more important, and Rakim is the right leader for this important moment.”
“Alliance for Justice has been a steadfast partner in defending the federal judiciary against special interests’ relentless campaign to capture it,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “Following four years of right-wing court capture, we face the enormous task of restoring independence and transparency to our judicial system. But together we can meet the challenge. I am grateful for the leadership of Nan Aron in building AFJ into such a principled, effective organization, and look forward to working with Rakim Brooks to carry forward AFJ’s vital mission. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mr. Brooks, and know he brings a wealth of experience and skill to this new role.”
“Rakim, who contributed his deep passion for remedying wrongs as a law clerk in my Chambers in the Constitutional Court of South Africa, has dedicated his career to serving those with the least access to justice,” said Justice Edwin Cameron. “Alliance for Justice is fortunate to have an energetic, innovative legal thinker and strategist leading it now, when much of the world finally awakens to the myriad ways in which systemic racism and economic oppression continue to impede elementary justice for so many. Rakim will be a significant asset to the fight for a free and open judiciary in the United States.”
“By tapping Rakim Brooks as its new leader, Alliance for Justice has found the perfect President at this unique moment in history,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “Rakim is tomorrow’s leader — yet he’s perfectly suited to tackle today’s challenges. Rakim brings vision, a lifelong dedication to social justice, as well as the skills of a proven tactician from the front lines. At a time when AFJ’s work on judicial nominations has never been more important, Rakim will be an effective evangelist among new and diverse generations of activists who never focused on the courts. With Rakim in charge of one of the sector’s important and storied organizations, all of that changes.”
“Rakim Brooks is a long-time partner in the fight for social justice, and a powerful, persuasive advocate for an equitable world. I’m thrilled that Rakim has been selected to lead Alliance for Justice, which has long been a leader in the fight for a fair judicial system,” said Congressman Mondaire Jones. “Now more than ever, with the independence of our courts under attack and our democracy hanging in the balance, we need a federal judiciary that centers the humanity of all people and protects our civil rights. As President of Alliance for Justice, I know Rakim will fight tirelessly for a judicial system that truly represents the people.”
“Rakim is an extraordinary person who always impressed me with his intelligence and passion for justice,” said Heather Gerken, Dean of Yale Law School. “Watching him take on this new role has given me enormous joy as a mentor and a teacher. He will lead the Alliance for Justice with wisdom and grace.”
“I cannot think of anyone better equipped than Rakim Brooks to lead AFJ forward in its next chapter,” said Kelsi Brown Corkran, Supreme Court Director, Institute for Constitutional Advocacy & Protection, Georgetown University Law Center. “Rakim is both a visionary leader and a rigorous legal thinker who is deeply committed to making our Constitution’s promises real for all people and all communities.”
“As someone who worked closely with Nan Aron and AFJ more than 35 years ago, I am delighted that her torch is being passed to my former law firm colleague Rakim Brooks,” said Neal Manne, Managing Partner of Susman Godfrey LLP. “Rakim is a brilliant lawyer and political strategist. In making him its new President, AFJ is moving from strength to strength.”