BA, Psychology, UMSL
JD, Saint Louis University School of Law
Rudy Angulo joined ArchCity Defenders in August 2019 as a Staff Attorney with the Direct Representation team, representing clients on a variety of civil and municipal matters. He interned with ACD during his third year of law school and connected with the values and mission of ACD. Rudy would describe ArchCity Defenders as dedicated, passionate, and zealous.
I like camping, hiking, and seeing live music.
Legal Studies, St. Louis Community College
BA, Webster University
Shannon was born and raised in St. Louis, and after interning at ACD in the summer of 2017 she knew she wanted to work there full time. Shannon started as a paralegal in March 2018. She admires ACD’s holistic approach to helping clients. Before ACD, Shannon was the Assistant Manager of Rise Coffee and worked in other service industry jobs.
Inez Bordeaux joined ArchCity Defenders in July of 2019 as the Manager of Community Collaborations. She believes in ACD’s holistic legal advocacy work and over the last 10 years, ACD’s efforts have inspired her to do more. Inez was first was introduced to ACD in 2013, when she was a going through a challenging time and was targeted by the racist criminal legal system. Her background is in healthcare, and she worked as an LPN for 14 years. In 2018, she volunteered as an Organizer for the Close the Workhouse campaign. In her current role, Inez works with partner organizations, advocacy groups, organizers, and activist to build relationships that allow ACD to reach common goals of community well being.
I’m kinda obsessed with the Zombie Apocalypse. I’m absolutely prepared and know exactly what to do if it happens. I’m a nurse and the nurse never dies in zombie movies, so stick with me!
BA, Marketing Management, University of Arkansas
JD, St. Louis University, School of Law
Lee joined ACD in 2017 as a Direct Services Attorney focusing on civil-consumer law, landlord-tenant law, and municipal law. In 2020, he rose to the position of Senior Staff Attorney. His legal practice consists of assisting low-income, elderly, and disabled clients in addressing various legal housing needs including increasing access to affordable and federally-subsidized housing, preventing evictions, fighting against housing discrimination, and advocating for those currently experiencing homelessness. Lee also engages in extensive policy and media advocacy focusing on tenants’ rights. As an expert in the area of sub-habitable housing, he has successfully argued on the issue before the Missouri Supreme Court, testified on legislation regarding habitability, and continues to give presentations on the issue throughout Missouri and the country.
In 2019, Lee received the Missouri Lawyers Media Legal Champion award.
“I’m as anti-onion as they come.”
JD, Saint Louis University School of Law
BS, Drury University
Prior to rejoining the Civil Litigation department at ArchCity Defenders in 2020, Nathaniel worked for a small litigation firm called Keane Law, where he gained jury trial experience and worked on class actions seeking environmental justice for residents living near the radioactive and toxic landfills in Bridgeton and the contaminated Coldwater Creek areas. Nathaniel’s work with ACD’s Civil Litigation department has focused on debtors’ prison class actions against regional towns for their unconstitutional practices.
I spend most of my free time with my partner and 2 kids, but enjoy writing and recording music for my band, “Nathaniel Carroll & the Party Line”
Alisha joined ArchCity Defenders in July 2017, and works as the Operations Associate. Prior to this role, she worked at ACD as an Executive Assistant and Receptionist/Intake Coordinator. Alisha is from St. Louis and has lived in North County for more than 20 years. While living in North County, she has witnessed how the police have targeted black people and the impact that has had on their ability to work, drive and provide for their families and this drew her to ACD.
I love karaoke and cooking.
BS, Pan-African Studies, University of Louisville
JD, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law
Jamitra joined ArchCity Defenders in September 2021 as an Equal Justice Works Fellow and she is sponsored by an anonymous donor. As an EJW Fellow, Jamitra’s project focuses on mitigating the collateral consequences of incarceration for justice-involved women in Missouri by providing legal representation, reentry services, and policy advocacy. Jamitra interned with ACD in the spring and fall of 2020 while in law school and felt aligned with ACD’s mission and values.
Fun fact: I taught myself how to knit.
BA, English and Communications, University of Missouri – St. Louis
Johnny joined ArchCity Defenders in December of 2022 because his values align with ACD’s mission and vision. As the Digital Media Strategist, he collaborates with the Communications team on client story production, issue-based content, breaking news, and multimedia content. Previously, he was involved in editing, communications, and administrative work at two equity-focused research centers at Washington University. Johnny was born in St. Louis and grew up in California before returning.
I used to play bass in punk bands, and now I host nightly dance parties for my two young children.
BA, Psychology and Political Science, University of Kentucky
JD, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law
Sarah joined ArchCity Defenders in July of 2020 as a Staff Attorney on the Direct Representation team. In this role, she provides holistic legal representation to clients in civil and municipal cases. Prior to joining ArchCity Defenders, Sarah focused on representing individuals in a variety of family law matters in the St. Louis area, including as an advocate for survivors of intimate partner violence.
BA, Religious Studies, Minor in Arab Studies, American University
MSW, Concentration in Domestic Social & Economic Development, Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
Amanda Rae Gardner joined ArchCity Defenders in July of 2022 as the Community Collaborations Associate. Prior to joining ArchCity Defenders, she served as a social work intern at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri in their Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative and as a social work intern with the Missouri State Public Defender in St. Louis City. She also served a VISTA service year with Criminal Justice Ministry, supporting their communications and development work. Before moving to St. Louis in 2020, Amanda’s organizing experience spanned from refugee issues in the Middle East, to housing rights in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro, to environmental campaigns in Philadelphia. She spent three years in a corporate environment prior to starting her Masters degree. In her current role, Amanda works on ACD and partner campaigns on issues such as housing, environmental racism, and the criminal legal system.
Fun fact: She was an international karate competitor in high school.
American Studies and Social Work, Saint Louis University
MSW, Saint Louis University
Z is from Cincinnati and started at ACD in August 2016 because they believe in ACD’s commitment to challenging state violence, racial injustice and criminalization of poor people. As the Communications Director, Z helps people get to know about ACD through social media, news media and alternative media (podcasts, films, etc). Before ACD, they were involved in community organizing, development and media advocacy work.
I used to read the dictionary and learn words for fun. Also used to study/speak Arabic, Spanish, and Haitian Creole.
Political Theory, College of Wooster
JD, Saint Louis University School of Law
Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Maureen came to Missouri for a job in 2008 and later worked at College Bound before going to SLU Law school. Prior to joining ACD as a Staff Attorney, she clerked for a judge on the Missouri Supreme Court. As a Staff Attorney with ACD’s Civil Litigation, Maureen is focused on several cases that span from jail conditions, police brutality and beyond.
I enjoy evangelizing about how everyone should adopt senior rescue dogs.
BS, Sociology, Specialization in Employment Relations, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
MA, Sociology, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Joe joined ACD as the Development Director in October of 2020. Prior to ACD Joe was the Regional Chief Development Officer at the Missouri-Arkansans Red Cross in 2019 to 2020. Under Joe’s direction in FY19 and FY20 they exceeded fundraising goals as well as blood collection goals, while simultaneously navigating and optimizing a Beta process for the National RC. Prior to his work at the Red Cross, Joe comes with an extensive Union background and was a National Coordinator for the Service Employees International Union where he had a successful organizing career of 10 years. His career included representational work as well as new organizing with local campaigns including organizing adjunct faculty at Washington University, Saint Louis University, St. Louis Community College, St. Charles Community College and other victories in other states around the country including Hartford University and Fordham University adjuncts to name a few. . Joe also supported organized labor efforts internationally in the Philippines and Morocco. In his time as an organizer he also had successes in political and community organizing. Joe also worked as an investigator with the Missouri Public Defender’s St. Louis County office for 2 years and has taught Sociology as an adjunct at Lewis and Clark Community College.
Fun fact: I enjoy camping and traveling in my free time.
BS, Business Administration, Stevens Institute of Business & Arts
Jessica joined ACD as the Development Specialist in May of 2021. Jessica specializes in database management, reporting, and analysis and is responsible for managing ArchCity’s donor database.
Prior to ACD Jessica was the Regional Development Specialist of the Missouri-Arkansas Red Cross Region from 2017 to 2021. She is a two-time nominee and the 2020 Division Winner of the Development Specialist of the year, and the Hustler awards. Jessica has more than ten years of experience in nonprofit development, database management, gift management, and donor relations.
I am probably the only St. Louisan that doesn’t like barbeque sauce.
BS, Political Science, The University of Utah
Dom joined ArchCity Defenders in July 2020 as a Civil Advocate and Paralegal. Born and raised in Utah, Dom graduated from the University of Utah, and studied Political Science, Ethnic Studies, and Gender Studies. Prior to joining the ArchCity team, they served as an AmeriCorps Vista at Pro Bono Net from 2019-2020 developing a manual and project to connect rural, underserved, and marginalized communities to pro bono legal assistance. Dom’s commitments to social and racial equity and legal advocacy brought them to ArchCity after having a formative intern experience there in 2018. Dom is passionate about ArchCity’s commitments to community-informed movement activism and abolishing laws, mechanisms, and institutions that perpetuate marginalization, oppression, and violence in our communities.
Dom is an avid baker and peanut butter and chocolate enthusiast, consuming various combinations of the two almost exclusively in their daily diet.
BA Political Science, BA Religious Studies, and BJ Journalism (News Editorial Sequence), University of Missouri-Columbia
JD, University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law
Jacki holds the role of Deputy Executive Director at ArchCity Defenders (ACD). In January 2017, she joined ACD as Director of Advocacy, supervising the organization’s legal staff and works to identify and pursuing advocacy strategies via direct representation, systemic litigation, media and policy advocacy, and through community collaborations.
Previously, Jacki served as a staff attorney in Legal Services of Eastern Missouri’s Housing Law Program since 2006 where she represented low-income tenants in state and federal court; worked with individuals experiencing homelessness to provide legal assistance to remove barriers to housing and employment; advocated for the rights of utility customers; and spoke extensively on landlord-tenant law, fair housing, and the housing rights of domestic violence survivors. There she also provided legal assistance in municipal, housing, consumer, and family matters through the organization’s youth and family advocacy program to families and youth under 21 in St. Louis County and she served as the organization’s Ferguson-North St. Louis County Stabilization Initiative Project Coordinator
She has received the 2013 Missouri Lawyers’ Media Women’s Justice Rising Star Award and the 2017 Missouri Lawyers’ Media Up & Coming Lawyer Award.
I’m a certified yoga teacher.
Certificate in Secretarial Studies
Theresa was born in St. Louis and was inspired by the passion of the founders of ACD, and joined in 2012. She received her certificate in secretarial studies in 1987 and began her career in the legal field in 1997. She is currently a paralegal for three attorneys.
I collect anything “Lucy”.
BS, Marketing and Communications, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Estelle was raised in sunny Southern California. Since graduating from college in 2016 Estelle has built a strong professional profile, her experience has ranged from human resources, program development in the non-profit sector, and event and strategic planning in higher education. Prior to coming to ACD, Estelle worked as a career development instructor at a higher education institution. Estelle has also started her own events and marketing company in which she plays an integral role in curating events for the STL metropolitan area ranging from the social to the political sector.
Estelle was drawn to the Executive Assistant position at ACD because by taking on this role she is able to do something that she is good at which is organizational structure, whilst being able to do something that she is passionate about which is contributing towards human service. Her values align with ACD’s vision to see a society liberated from systems of oppression.
Fun Fact: I eat food for fun. I like to take photos of food. I like to have discussions about food. I am a foodie. I frequent restaurants often. Some would call it greed or gluttony—I’d like to think of it as a necessity. Food is our common ground, a universal experience.
BS, Communication, Minor in Sociology, Saint Louis University
Sarah Roberts is a St. Louis native who has been involved in nonprofit fundraising and organizing for over 10 years. Sarah joined ACD in October of 2021 as the Grant Writing Lead. She has previously held fundraising roles at various local nonprofits, including The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, PreventEd and most recently at the International Photography Hall of Fame. Sarah’s commitment to social and racial justice attracted her to ACD, and she is passionate about their commitment to challenging state violence, racial injustice and the criminalization of poor people.
Fun Fact: While previously under the assumption I couldn’t keep any plants alive, I went from having one plant to over 30 during the lockdown.
MSW, Washington University
BA, Legal Studies, Webster University
Madeleine joined ArchCity Defenders in October 2020 and was thrilled to join a team that provides holistic services in line with her own values. Before coming to ACD, Madeleine worked as a case manager and mental health therapist for individuals, families, and groups involved in the criminal legal system in St. Louis and beyond. As the Social Work Pilot Coordinator, Madeleine works with ACD’s clients and local professionals to design and implement a comprehensive social work program that reimagines public safety through a racial justice lens while creating pathways for individual self-determination and community empowerment.
I’m happiest when I’m kneading bread dough and checking my plants for new growth.
BS, Political Science and Philosophy, Bradley University
JD, Saint Louis University School of Law
While in school, Brittany has had a variety of legal internships at the federal, state, and local level. After law school, Brittany started her own firm in partnership with other attorneys from the Westside Justice Center in Chicago. During the pandemic, Brittany served as a VISTA attorney with First Defense Legal Aid, coordinating client communications and engaging in pro bono litigation in the Civil Rights Legal Aid Program (CRLAP).
An avid gardener since 2018, I can only seem to grow sunflowers, tomatoes, and squash, although many other things have been planted. I love the planet Saturn.
Sociology, Psychology, & Art, Hampshire College in Western Massachusetts
MSW, Brown School at Washington University
ilia (pronounced eye-lee-uh) joined the ACD team in June 2020 and jumped at the opportunity to be part of an organization so closely aligned with their personal beliefs. Originally from the DC Metropolitan Area, ilia came to St. Louis to earn a Master’s degree in Social Work and knew immediately that they wanted to stay in the Midwest. Prior to moving, ilia worked in reentry case management and served women returning to the community after incarceration. As a Housing Case Manager, ilia is excited to manifest ACD’s core values and mission into everyday supportive services.
They once had to climb into a ceiling to rescue a kitten. It’s a wild story for another time.
International Economics and Spanish, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville
JD, Harvard Law School
Blake Strode is the Executive Director of ArchCity Defenders, a nonprofit civil rights law firm in St. Louis, Missouri providing holistic legal advocacy and combating the criminalization of poverty and state violence against poor people and people of color. Blake is a native of the St. Louis region and joined ArchCity as a Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney following his graduation from Harvard Law School in 2015. Blake attended the University of Arkansas and majored in International Economics and Spanish.
Blake helped to establish the Civil Rights Litigation unit at ArchCity, which has brought challenges to a variety of unlawful and predatory practices including debtors’ prisons, police misconduct, and inhumane jail conditions, among others. In the past few years, Blake and his colleagues have filed more than 50 civil rights cases in state and federal court, impacting upwards of 40,000 people in the St. Louis region. Blake also played a significant role in the class-action debtors’ prison case against the City of Jennings, Missouri that reached final settlement in December 2016. The landmark case provides a blueprint for permanent legal reform in the region’s courts and afforded monetary relief to hundreds of individuals who were jailed because of their inability to pay court debts.
As Executive Director, Blake manages ACD’s growing and talented staff; explores new opportunities for advocacy and systemic litigation; communicates the work and mission of ACD to students, supporters, fellow advocates, and media; and works with the Board and leadership to set the strategic direction for the organization. He is responsible for making sure that the dedicated team at ACD has everything it needs to provide the best holistic advocacy possible for our clients.
Blake regularly speaks at conferences and panels throughout the country and has authored columns and essays for publication on issues of race, policing, and criminal justice. He and Kayla Reed (Director of Action St. Louis) co-host a podcast called “Under the Arch,” which discusses the issues impacting community and the people working to change them. Blake’s leadership has garnered several accolades including the 2020 Missouri Lawyers Media Legal Champion, Harvard Law School’s Bellow-Charn Championship of Justice Emerging Leader Award in 2019 as well as the “Emerging Leaders Award by Focus St. Louis’s What’s Right with the Region.”
I’m a Cubs fan in Cardinals land. I know more about the Golden Girls than you do.
Desiray Taylor joined ACD in 2022 as the Receptionist and Intake Coordinator. Desiray is very passionate about being of service to her community. She previously served as a Program Assistant within St. Francis Community Services. Desiray is an advocate for people and families who are low-income. She believes people are more than the labels society assigns, and that every person has potential. She previously served as a Program Assistant within St. Francis Community Services. Desiray was born and raised in the Seattle Washington area, but St. Louis has always been a second home.
I am a Super Fan of the musician Usher and prior to the pandemic, I started learning Archery.
Master’s in Public Policy Administration and Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management & Leadership, University of Missouri-St. Louis
Ericka joined in April 2018 and in her role she manages finances and Human Resources, in addition to supporting IT needs. She was drawn to this role because of her belief in ACD’s mission and work. Before starting at ACD, she worked in the private sector building and managing databases and providing training and job support across the country. Ericka has spent over a decade providing development, program management, and strategic planning support to nonprofits throughout St. Louis.
I have three spoiled dogs, Little Bit, Dude, and Chip. They can do exactly as they please because they know who’s in charge.
B.A. in English Language and Literature, Kenyon College
Angelo was raised in St. Louis and joined ArchCity Defenders in June of 2022 as the Communications Fellow. In this role, he contributes to ACD’s media and policy advocacy by applying his research, writing, and editing skills to a variety of projects that aim to expose injustice, incite public discourse, and spur change.
Fun fact: I love anime, making mood playlists, and I’m proficient in Italian.
Philosophy, University of Wisconsin-Madison
MSW, Washington University in St. Louis
J.D., Washington University in St. Louis School of Law
William is from Milwaukee and joined ACD in Spring 2015. He joined because he wanted to practice holistic criminal defense in the context of movement lawyering and impact litigation. As the Managing Attorney for the Direct Representation team, William represents individual clients (primarily in criminal and municipal contexts), supervises the staff attorneys engaged in direct representation, and develops and implements guidelines and expectations regarding holistic legal services. Prior to ACD, William was an Assistant Public Defender in the St. Louis City Trial Office.
AB, Politics, Certificate in Latino Studies, Princeton University
JD, Certificate in Public Interest Law, Washington University School of Law
Brittney Watkins is a St. Louisan who joined ArchCity Defenders in September 2021 as a Staff Attorney. Brittney works on ACD’s Fatal State Violence Project, which provides holistic legal assistance to the families of people killed by the police or who died while in state custody. Before joining the ACD team, she clerked for a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
I am a music enthusiast, and I enjoy watching sci-fi shows and movies because I consider them mini political theory experiments.
Paralegal Certificate, University of Washington
BA, Journalism and Philosophy, University of New Hampshire
Randy joined ArchCity Defenders in November 2022 as a Paralegal and Civil Rights Advocate. Since his youth, he has been employed as a news editor, line cook, grocery clerk, and criminal defense paralegal, and he is excited to continue his career on the ArchCity team.
I love to rescue stray pit bulls and since the summer of 2020, I’ve fostered, trained, and rehabilitated 10 dogs from St. Louis to St. Thomas in the Caribbean.