Charles Elsesser has been a member of the State Bar of California since 1972 and a member of the Florida Bar since 1992. He graduated from University of Southern California Law School in 1971. From 1972 to 1984, he worked as an attorney representing poor people, first in Delano, California for California Rural Legal Assistance and later in Los Angeles for Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. During that same period, from 1974 through 1976, he was a Clinical Instructor of Law at University of Southern California Law Center in Los Angeles. In 1986 he became the Director of Litigation at Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, responsible for the oversight of the litigation of the more than 50 lawyers employed by the firm. In 1988 he was awarded the Award of Merit by the Legal Assistance Association of California, an annual recognition by the legal services community of California for excellence in advocacy. From 1989 to 1991, he served as a Senior Consultant to the California State Senate Rules Committee and housing consultant to the Senate President Pro Tempore, State Senator David Roberti. In 1991 he served as the Director of the Housing Department of the City of Santa Monica, California. In 1992 he relocated to Miami, Florida. Initially he was employed as an attorney at Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. and, since 1997, he has worked at Florida Legal Services, Inc. where he has been involved in civil rights and housing litigation and advocacy. In 2001, he was awarded the Steven M. Goldstein Award For Excellence (2001) by the Florida Bar Foundation for a series of class actions assisting immigrants to obtain citizenship. In 2008 he was awarded the Kutak Dodds Award 2008 by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association for his long record of significant advocacy.
Meena Jagannath co-founded the Community Justice Project, Inc. in 2015, after spending the preceding three years at Florida Legal Services. She combines a deep commitment to human rights with a grounding in community organizing. From April 2011 until joining the Community Justice Project, she worked for the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux in Port-au-Prince, Haiti where she coordinated the Rape Accountability and Prevention Project. She brings her human rights experience and passion for supporting community organizing efforts to low-income communities of color in Florida. Meena is a member of the Florida and the New York Bars, and received her J.D from University of Washington Law School in 2010 where she was a William H. Gates Public Service Law Scholar. She also holds degrees from Columbia University and Tufts University.
Alana Greer co-founded the Community Justice Project, Inc. in 2015. She began working with her co-founders at Florida Legal Services in 2014, and prior to that was with the Advancement Project in Washington, DC, where she worked with youth and parent leaders across the nation to put an end to the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Originally from Miami, Alana left Florida to attend Boston College and Harvard Law School, where she was a student attorney at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. Prior to law school, she was a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and worked with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area as a Homeless Rights Paralegal. Alana is passionate about lifting up the voices of the community members she works with and using her legal and analytic skills to support grassroots movements seeking to dismantle structural racism and inequality.
Gabriel Perez supports Community Justice Project's Salon Juste series and other cultural collaborations as part of the Public Allies program. Gabriel is a Political Science major from Florida International University and is aspiring to go to law school once he is done with the Public Allies program. He has a passion for social justice and will be focusing on public sector law once in law school.