I am honored to join the ACLU of Virginia as The Secular Society Women’s Rights Advocacy Counsel. I come to the ACLU of Virginia on the heels of a district court clerkship, during which I couldn’t make any political statements. It was a difficult year to stay quiet.

Women face persistent wage gaps and must overcome barriers in accessing crucial reproductive care like abortion. Women confront unique challenges that expose them to the criminal justice system and make it difficult for them to re-enter society successfully, and these challenges are just starting to get the attention they deserve. We know women of color often disproportionately bear the burdens of these inequalities and injustices. And of course, we’ve heard countless stories of the harassment and victimization faced by women everywhere as the #MeToo movement has grown and spread. After a year of silence, I’m excited for the opportunity to tackle these issues in my new role.

I started my career working in legislative affairs for The Education Trust, advocating for low-income students and students of color. I went to law school to develop skills that I could use in service of underserved and oppressed communities everywhere. While in law school, I worked at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Educational Opportunities Section, where I worked on gender and religious discrimination issues, as well as school desegregation cases.

After law school, I practiced at Arnold & Porter, LLP in Washington, D.C. and then clerked for the Hon. Catherine C. Blake on the U.S. District Court for Maryland. In these positions I developed basic litigation skills and familiarized myself with the process of litigation.

In my new position, I’ll have the opportunity to use my skills, experience, and voice to advocate for the women and girls of Virginia. I’m already working on our lawsuits challenging burdensome abortion restrictions and fighting sex discrimination in the Commonwealth, as well as continuing our work on behalf of transgender students. I’m looking forward to expanding our work fighting employment discrimination and ensuring access to necessary menstrual products for all.

I was grateful for the opportunity to moderate a panel at our Annual Meeting of three inspiring women with firsthand knowledge of the criminal justice system. I plan on continuing to share whatever platform I have with those directly impacted by harmful and discriminatory policies. It is only by joining together to share our platforms, raise our voices, and combine our skills that we can develop a more equitable and just world for all, regardless of gender.