The Shriver Center on Poverty Law has announced the 47 fellows that have been selected to partake in the 2020 Racial Justice Institute, “a leadership program that equips and coordinates anti-poverty advocates to affirmatively advance racial equity.” Attorneys Ashea Jones and Deborah Concepcion will be representing Lone Star Legal Aid as they explore racial equity concepts that they can apply to our legal advocacy. 

After an intensive seven-month training, RJI fellows will join the national network of alumni across the country and utilize their education when approaching the systemic challenges faced in the criminal justice system. 

The program, which has now entered its eighth year, has become increasingly relevant in addressing and improving how to examine the role of race in legal services advocacy. Read up on the history of the program on the Shriver Center website. 

Ashea Jones is a staff attorney with the Community Advocacy Team at Lone Star Legal Aid. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, she relocated to Houston, Texas to pursue a legal career after earning her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a Communication and Information major and Business Administration minor. She also earned a Juris Doctorate from Thurgood Marshall School of Law.

Prior to working at Lone Star Legal Aid, Jones managed her own law practice for nearly four years and later served as an attorney with the U.S. Small Business Administration—Disaster Office. In 2018, she joined Lone Star Legal Aid’s Community Advocacy Team because of her passion for preserving communities of color and fighting racial injustices and systemic issues impacting underserved communities.

As a staff attorney with the Community Advocacy Team, Jones’ practice focuses on two initiatives: Community Equity (impact litigation) and Community Development (outreach and volume practice). The community equity initiative focuses on impact litigation as it relates to infrastructure and challenging inequities in transportation, water drainage, and disaster recovery funds. The community development initiative is a volume practice and outreach intensive initiative with a focus on providing immediate, direct services to clients that have community wide benefit.

These initiatives aim to improve property preservation in underserved communities, which are oftentimes African American and Latinx communities. Their practice focuses on providing legal assistance that fosters community revitalization in low-income neighborhoods by fighting systemic discrimination, which creates a safe and equitable living condition for residents.

Deborah Concepcion, a “warrior for justice” and an advocate for those in need, received her Bachelor’s degree from Howard University and her law degree from Seton Hall University. After law school, Deborah started her career as a deputy attorney general assigned to the Civil Rights and corrections unit of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office before transitioning to private practice with a large firm in New Jersey.

While in private practice, Deborah served as a member of the Essex County, New Jersey legal ethics committee while frequently appearing on air as a legal expert. She also served as an executive board member for the Urban League of Morris County, New Jersey, raising awareness and securing resources for the local community before relocating to The Woodlands, Texas.

Deborah continues her calling to advocate for vulnerable populations and children as the managing attorney for the Conroe Branch Office of Lone Star Legal Aid, furthering the mission of Lone Star Legal Aid by overseeing legal staff operations and civil legal services, developing outreach programs, and building coalition partners in the six counties that make up the branch office’s territory.

Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at http://www.lonestarlegal.org.

Media contact: media@lonestarlegal.org