Vangela WadePresident and CEO of the Mississippi Center for Justice (MJC) Jackson, MS Award Year: 2021
Vangela Wade, President and CEO of the Mississippi Center for Justice (MJC), is a leader in the fight against Mississippi’s culture of injustice. She works to dismantle systems of racist oppression and to ensure equity in the lives of all Mississippians. Prior to MCJ, Vangela built a diverse and distinguished resume as a lawyer. Understanding the need to build generational economic stability, she created a client-centered legal practice focused on building family wealth legacy and protecting generational property interests through estate planning. Her background also includes working as a law clerk with the Mississippi Court of Appeals, a special prosecutor with the Madison/Rankin County District Attorney’s Office, and as a corporate defense attorney with local and national employment law firms. She served as an adjunct law professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law and has advised public and private employers and organizations in matters involving diversity and fair employment practices. Her board service includes Mississippi Today, the Land Title Association of Mississippi and St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. She earned her BA from Mississippi State University and her J.D. from the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Vangela is using her award, along with another $50,000 that was matched by MCJ’s board of directors, to fund two positions for 18-months: an Education Policy Analyst and a Community Engagement Advocate to investigate the disparate impacts of COVID on African-American students, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities in elementary and secondary education in Mississippi. Through the work of this analyst, they will also investigate and monitor the utilization of federal and state funds allocated for COVID education relief to state and school districts.
Vangela was a guest on Zerlina Maxwell’s NBC News channel The Choice (beginning about 2:50), where she discussed the future of abortion rights after the Supreme Court’s decision to review Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. She has published several op-ed’s, including: Why I Believe Voter Fraud Allegations are the New Jim Crow (Blavity), From the murder of Emmett Till to today, jury diversity remains elusive (Prism), Curtis Flowers will finally be freed. Prosecutorial misconduct remains a problem (Washington Post) and The funding gap between black- and white-led organizations is clear—and alarming (Fortune).