Rebecca Epstein and Naomi Wadler
Category: Access & Affordability, Gift Announcement, Giving News

Title:Gender Justice and Opportunity Initiative receives landmark support from #StartSmall

“It’s really a model of engaged scholarship that we encourage at Georgetown Law and is really at the heart of what we do,” Treanor continues. “I applaud everybody involved in the Initiative [for] what they’ve done over the past decade and I can’t wait to see what they do in the years ahead.”

Leading with gender justice

Mannone Butler (B’94, L’99), who serves as an attorney advisor to the Initiative and as a founding leader of the Black Alumni Council, says she thinks the Initiative’s gender justice framework is important to improving how the justice system treats Black girls and young women. When designing a system that rehabilitates, she believes restorative justice and understanding of how young people enter the justice system is key.

“The more we understand what contributes to young girls entering the juvenile justice system and the associated dire consequences, the more equipped and motivated we should be to employ prevention and intervention measures that limit their contact with the system,” Butler says.

Butler lauds how the Initiative conducts research in concert with young women and produces research that includes testimonies to amplify the voices of girls. During the 12 years that Butler worked for Washigton, D.C.’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, there was an increase in the number of girls involved in the justice system, prompting questions about the institutional policies and practices that may be contributing to this trend.

“This type of research allows us to zero in on the why,” Butler says. “It allows decision makers, policymakers, and practitioners to understand what’s really happening in the system.”

Although Georgetown Law alumni champion social justice in many forms, Butler believes the work of the Initiative is unique.

“I am not aware of any other effort that focuses on gender justice with such precision, such research cachet, and at the same time, such real-world, community-informed compassion and thoughtfulness,” she says. “This effort is a great example of the Law Center’s commitment to true justice, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”