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Welcoming New Staff at GJP!

GJP is growing! This summer, we are excited to welcome several new staff members who will help GJP expand our capacity to lower the number of Georgians under correctional control and reduce barriers to reentry. Learn more about them and our work below. 

Meghan Callier, Staff Attorney (she/her)

Meghan

Work/Education Background

I attended college at Emory University and law school at the University of Georgia. I began my legal career as an Assistant Public Defender back  in 2012 with the Fulton County Public Defender’s Office. I represent people charged with felony offenses. I represented people from arrest to trial. It was very rewarding work, and the small victories were very gratifying.  Being able to treat people as people and show I cared even though we had never met before was an amazing experience. I wanted everyone I represented to know I was walking this path with them, regardless of the outcome.

Why GJP?

I have known about GJP for many years. I knew of the great work they were doing for the people of Georgia.  As a native, I believe a lot of real change and impact happens on the local level and we need to take care of our people first.  The mission of being holistic and not focused in one area of impact really resonated with me.  I have been interested in policy and political impact since I was a child through local involvement by my parents. GJP has been championing policy changes for decades and now can see the true fruits of their labor play out and impact even more people here in Georgia.

What do you do in your free time?

Exploring different parts of the city and seeing what is new. There is so much change, good and bad, but change is constant.  I enjoy running, yoga, and traveling to music festivals throughout the country.

Rami El Gharib, Restorative Justice Program Manager (he/him)

Rami

Work/Education Background

I received a BA in Psychology from the American University of Beirut, and an MA in Industrial/Organization Psychology from the University of New Haven. I received my restorative justice training from the Tow Justice Institute in Connecticut. My work in Connecticut led to several collaborations, including working with the Connecticut school-based diversion program to create a virtual classroom that gave participants the opportunity to do restorative practice remotely and asynchronously and building a restorative justice model for student housing conflicts in the University of New Haven. I have also collaborated with several governmental and community-based organizations in Colorado and California to promote, enact, and build sustainable pathways to restorative responses to conflict.

The highlight of my career is establishing the first LGBTQ alliance in the field of restorative justice in the US, as a founder of the Restorative Rainbow Alliance. This group wrote an influential code of conduct for restorative justice facilitators that encourages the adoption of and LGBTQ+ lens when working with clients, which is currently under consideration to be adopted by Colorado’s Restorative Justice Council as part of their formal operational documents.

Why GJP?

I am really impressed by how much GJP goes the extra mile for clients. I love how, when they were envisioning a restorative justice structure, the GJP leadership team had done extensive research and considered many elements of practicing restorative justice. They were carefully prepared. The work of GJP fits together with my work because part of the aim of restorative justice is to reduce recidivism amongst clients, provide them with reintegration support, and establish healthier relationships for a healthier community. This fits perfectly with GJP’s work and vision.

What do you do in your free time? 

I absolutely love pizza and I love watching the Real Housewives of Atlanta. I will literally stay at home, watch reality TV, and eat pizza every night if possible!

Fun fact: I also once accidentally found myself on an internet-service ad running in Pennsylvania. My friend’s mom owned a marketing company and used a picture of us for an advertisement, so you might say I have a side career as a model!

Isabel Padalecki, Communications Assistant/Davidson Impact Fellow (she/they)

Isabel

Education/Work Background

I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts from Davidson College in May of 2022, where I studied History and Gender and Sexuality Studies. GJP is my first post-graduate destination, but during my years as an undergrad, I held several jobs, including working as an archival researcher for Davidson College’s History department, helping to design inclusive and remotely accessible sexual health education for Davidson students, and conducting independent, funded research on the impact of anti-fat discrimination on children, queer folks, and folks assigned female at birth in the United States.

Why GJP?

To me, there is nothing more urgent and imperative that the need to release people from the punishing and often physically caging hold of the carceral criminal legal system currently operating throughout the United States of America. This system is rooted in and oriented towards long histories of white supremacy and creates continued avenues for the state and its actors to enact violence against primarily Black, poor, and queer communities. No other social movement, whether we are thinking of movements for reproductive justice, movements for universal access to quality healthcare, or movements for trans and queer liberation, can move forward or be achieved while there are still people being held in cages by the state. GJP’s goals, then, of continually reducing the number of folks under correctional control and holding those directly impacted people with love, respect, patience, and dignity, are essential to all broader visions of liberation and justice.

What do you do in your free time? 

I am a music lover! I am especially nerdy about classical music, and I love to spend my free time singing in choirs and learning classical opera. I also love playing instruments, and I am currently working on returning to several instruments I learned and played as a child, including the piano, the flute, and the acoustic guitar. I am also a big Diet Coke enthusiast, so you are likely to find me in the McDonald’s drive thru line for an ice-cold drink!

Cooper Ulrich, Staff Attorney in Criminal Records (he/him)

Work/Education Background

I attended George Washington University for my undergraduate education and Washington University in St Louis Law School. I have been a public defender for the better part of the last ten years. I began in the criminal defense practice at The Legal Aid Society in NYC (Manhattan), and then moved to Georgia to represent death-sentenced prisoners in their post-conviction appeals. In 2019, I returned to trial-level public with the Fulton County Public Defender’s Office. Other fun jobs I’ve had since law school include serving as the intake attorney for a class action lawsuit against private adult homes in NYC for violation federal disability law, and working as a field lead and quality control manager at The New Georgia Project during 2021 Atlanta Municipal Election and runoff.

Why GJP?

Individuals who have been accused of, charged with, and/or convicted of crimes deserve joy, safety (physical and emotional), community, pleasure, autonomy, and dignity. Our current criminal punishment system is violent, unjust, and immoral. GJP’s mission speaks to me because it is uniquely focused on minimizing the ongoing stigma and barriers to living a full life experienced by individuals who have been harmed by the criminal punishment system.

What do you do in your free time?

I love creative and individual expression of any kind—music, fine art, fiction, poetry, or fellow queers just walking down the street looking fabulous. I sing in the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus and play on a gay flag football and dodgeball team. I also love spending time doing nothing at all with my daughter, Josie, who is five and a half and hands down the person I am most intimidated to argue with.

Rachel Gamblin, Social Worker (she/her)

Rachel

Work/Education Background

I went to the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!) for my undergraduate degree in social work, and I received my Master of Social Work (MSW) from Georgia State University. Before entering this role, I was working within the housing realm here in Atlanta – helping people who are experiencing homelessness move into stable housing. I have also had experience working within the Juvenile Courts as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).

Why GJP? 

Many friends in my life have been caught up in the cycles of poverty and crime. I am grateful to

join an organization which acknowledges how these cycles are so interconnected and addresses both the legal and social needs at hand. I am convinced interdisciplinary collaboration is the key to reforming our criminal justice system, and GJP plays a key role in leading our community into more impactful collaboration and service.

What do you do in your free time?

When I am not inside working, you can catch me outside! My husband and I love rock climbing, so most weekends we are somewhere around the Southeast climbing or hiking. My immediate family is scattered across the Atlanta area, so I really enjoy getting together with them and watching my cute nieces grow up. 

Hunter Callaway, Criminal Records Intake Specialist (he/him)

Hunter

Work/Education Background 

I attended Davidson College. I also worked for a Low-Income Tax Clinic in Lynn, Massachusetts with Northeast Legal Aid and served as a Field Organizer on the Doug Jones for US Senate campaign in my home state of Alabama. 

Why GJP?

GJP excels in several legal niches that no other organization occupies while constantly pushing the boundaries of policy to create new ways for our attorneys to directly serve the community. I chose GJP because I wanted not only to help people affected by the legal system, but also to help transform that system at its roots.

 

What do you do in your free time?

I love to write, read pulp sci-fi novels, and play the fiddle. I also love Atlanta's tree canopy, and hiding out from summer thunderstorms in one of Atlanta's many neighborhood parks. 

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