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Alison McCrary,
Executive Director

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Meet Alison.

An experienced social justice movement lawyer, campaign strategist, community mediator, transformative justice practitioner, and an internationally sought-after speaker on social justice, spirituality, and liberation, Alison McCrary has spent her career at the intersections justice and spirituality.  She is a creative systems thinker, a go-to strategist for organizations experiencing transitions or challenges, a team builder, and an expert networker who nurtures values-based leadership in others and community-led social change.  

As a carceral system-impacted person, much of her expertise lies in criminal justice reform. She has served as a Spiritual Advisor on Louisiana’s death row for the past 19 years.  She formerly served as the:

  • Movement Capacity Building Strategist supporting about 50 formerly-incarcerated-people-led non-profits in the United States,

  • Statewide Campaign Manager for the Unanimous Jury Coalition abolishing a 138-year-old Jim Crow law in Louisiana,

  • founding Director of the ReEntry Mediation Institute of Louisiana,

  • Executive Director of the National Police Accountability Project,

  • President of the Louisiana Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, and

  • Founding Director of the New Orleans Community-Police Mediation Program. 

  • 2010 Soros Justice Advocacy Fellow in New Orleans where she challenged and changed policing practices and policies to transform relationships between police officers and the bearers of New Orleans’ Indigenous cultural traditions. 

 

Prior to law school, she worked at the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana providing litigation support on death penalty cases and at the United Nations monitoring the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions relating to women, peace, and security.  In 2009, she was an Ella Baker Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights working on the cases of those detained in Guantanamo Bay and international human rights accountability.  

Alison works on issues related to:

  • criminal justice reform,

  • environmental justice,

  • immigrant rights,

  • international human rights,

  • cultural preservation,

  • voting rights,

  • disaster recovery,

  • housing rights, and

  • provides support to various social justice movements and organizations locally, nationally, and internationally. 

Alison has been awarded the OnBeing Social Healing Fellowship (2023), a WKKF Kellogg Community Leadership Network Fellowship (2023), an Association for Public Religion and Intellectual Life Fellow (2022), an Encore Public Voices Fellow, (2020), an Adese Spiritual Entrepreneurship Fellow (2020), a Propeller Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator Fellow (2020), and Soros Justice Advocacy Fellow (2010).  

Alison was the recipient of the following awards for her work:

  • 2019 Innocence Project of New Orleans Annual Gala Honoree,

  • 2018 Purple Feather Award from the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame recipient, 

  • 2012 National Catholic Reporter’s 12 Women Under 40 Making Change Award recipient,

  • 2011 Legal Eagle Award recipient from the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame recipient, 

  • 2010 Pedro Arrupe SJ Award for Social Justice recipient,

  • 2009 Louisiana State Bar Foundation Pro Bono Award recipient, and

  • 2009 Gillis Long Poverty Law Center Public Service Award recipient. 

Alison and her work have been featured in Harper’s Magazine, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, Variety Magazine, NBC News, Essence Magazine, Nations Media, America Magazine, The Advocate, Yale Insights, and dozens of others publications and news outlets.   

She received her J.D. from Loyola University’s College of Law in New Orleans and her B.A. in English at Georgia State University in Atlanta. She also completed coursework and programs at Johannes Gutenburg Universität in Mainz, Germany, University of Surrey in London, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Loyola University Chicago, and Catholic Theological Union.  

Alison was a Catholic nun for 12 years and enjoys creating meaningful and creative rituals to help others experience the divine and sacred in their lives. Alison is an enrolled citizen of the Ani-Yun-Wiya Cherokee Nation and is active with the Bvlbancha Intertribal Community in New Orleans. 

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