Justin Hansford is the founding Executive Director of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center.
Before joining the Center, Hansford served as a democracy project fellow at Harvard University's Charles Warren Center, as well as a visiting professor at Georgetown University Law Center. He has also served as a member of the advisory committee for the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law’s Racial Justice Training Institute and is currently co-chair of the Human Rights Committee for the Society of American Law Teachers.
Hansford, who lived ten minutes away from Ferguson in 2014, was at the forefront of legal organizing and advocacy in the aftermath of the killing of Mike Brown. Hansford has served as an advocate for proposed post-Ferguson reforms at the local, state, federal, and international level, testifying before the Ferguson Commission, the Missouri Advisory Committee to the United States Civil Rights Commission, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights. He also accompanied Ferguson protesters and Mike Brown’s family to Geneva to testify at the United Nations. Hansford is the co-author of Ferguson to Geneva: Using the Human Rights Framework to Push Forward a Vision for Racial Justice in the United States after Ferguson.
Hansford has been featured in USA Today, The Washington Post, Time Magazine, Ebony, and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, PBS, and NPR. He holds a B.A. from Howard University, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a founder of The Georgetown Journal of Law and Modern Critical Race Perspectives. He served as a law clerk for Judge Damon Keith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Law Teaching Fellow
Through the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center Teaching fellowship, fellows have the opportunity to help leadership fulfill the mission of the Center. They support the Center by teaching, conducting research, and center-based service.
Prior to her fellowship, Tasnim Motala was in private practice for two years, working on complex civil litigation and white collar defense. Her interests primarily lie in the overlap of human rights, civil liberties, and national security. Motala has represented men held in Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghanistan, and men charged with terror-related offenses. Motala’s legal experience also includes criminal justice reform, prison reform, and international human rights. While in law school, Motala was a student director of the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic. Her clinical work has included representing a man held in solitary confinement on Connecticut's death row, investigating prison conditions for terrorism suspects, and authoring a report investigating whether abuses against Burma's Rohingya minority meet the legal definition of genocide. Motala received her law degree from Yale Law School, her Masters degree from the University of Cape Town, and her Bachelors degree from Yale College.