Amanda Alexander

Executive Director, Detroit Justice Center
RBS 2000

Dr. Amanda Alexander is founding Executive Director of the Detroit Justice Center, a non-profit law firm that works alongside communities to create economic opportunities, transform the justice system, and promote just cities. Originally from Michigan, Amanda has worked at the intersection of racial justice and community development in Detroit, New York, and South Africa for more than a decade. She is a 2017 Echoing Green Fellow and 2018 Law for Black Lives Legal Innovator Fellow. As a 2013-2015 Soros Justice Fellow, Amanda launched the Prison & Family Justice Project at University of Michigan Law School to provide legal representation to incarcerated parents and advocate for families divided by the prison and foster care systems.

Amanda is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Afro-American Studies and a Postdoctoral Scholar in Law at the University of Michigan, and a member of the Michigan Society of Fellows. She regularly provides assistance and training to community organizations, advocates, and government agencies working to promote successful re-entry, alternatives to incarceration, and economic equity. Amanda facilitated the Inside-Out Theory Group at Macomb Prison near Detroit for many years, and drove a successful effort to establish an Inside-Out Prison Exchange program at UM-Ann Arbor and local prisons. She is an adviser to the National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated, has served on the national steering committee of Law for Black Lives, and is a board member of the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership.

Amanda received her JD from Yale Law School, her PhD in international history from Columbia University, and her BA from Harvard College. Previously she has worked with the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy, the Bronx Defenders, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the Centre for Civil Society in Durban, South Africa. As an Ella Baker Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, she assisted with litigation challenging stop-and-frisk policing. As a Fulbright-Hays Scholar, Amanda conducted research on land, housing, and inclusive cities in South Africa. Her research has won the support of a Social Science Research Council Fellowship, Ford Foundation Doctoral Fellowship, and other fellowships and grants. Her writing has been published in The Global Mail, Michigan Journal of Race & Law, Harvard Journal of African-American Public Policy, Michigan Child Welfare Law Journal, Journal of Asian and African Studies, Review of African Political Economy, and other publications.