Zitrin Foundation Creates Endowed Fund to Support Zitrin Fellowships for CRRJ and other Law School Programs

To combat racism and create meaningful reforms in the criminal legal system, the Zitrin Foundation of San Francisco is establishing a $2.5 million endowed fund at Northeastern University School of Law to support the Elizabeth Zitrin Justice Fellowship.

This is the single largest endowed gift to the law school in its history. Fellows will serve up to a one-year term at the School of Law, and will engage in litigation, writing amicus briefs, clinical supervision and work, policy advocacy, public education, restorative justice programs, educating law students, and research and scholarship.

“The Elizabeth Zitrin Justice Fellowship will exemplify the idea that justice is a value that runs through every part of our lives: from schools, to housing and voting suppression, to systemic racism, and to how we confront crime and incarceration. It is the fundamental purpose of our society that justice be provided for all people,” said Elizabeth Zitrin ’79, past president of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty and vice chair of Witness to Innocence. Zitrin has pioneered collaborations between the death penalty abolition movement in the US and the international abolition community, convening the World Coalition’s General Assemblies held in the United States. Her recent work has focused on the power of innocence and the impact of exonerees in engaging prosecutors and other practitioners in ending wrongful convictions.

Melvin Kelley
Katie Sandson
Elizabeth Zitrin
Zitrin is establishing the fellowship to honor the legacy of her parents, both children of immigrants, and the work her family has done fighting the death penalty, for reforms in the criminal legal system and for social justice. Her father, Dr. Arthur Zitrin, was an acclaimed physician, bioethicist and advocate against the death penalty. His work spanned decades, touched on major social issues and brought medical ethical issues to the forefront of the death penalty debate. Her mother, Dr. Charlotte Marker Zitrin, was a 1943 graduate of New York University Medical School, a pioneer in pediatric  medicine  and  in the treatment  of  phobias,  and  a  lifelong  social  justice  advocate. CRRJ inaugurated the Zitrin fellowships in January 2016.  Melvin J. Kelley, the first Zitrin Teaching Fellow, is Assistant Professor of Law at Villanova University.  Katie Sandson currently holds the Elizabeth Zitrin Justice Fellowship.  Ms. Sandson joined CRRJ in 2018. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Sandson served as a clinical fellow at the Food Law and Policy Clinic, a division of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, before assuming her fellowship at CRRJ.  Sandson teaches in CRRJ’s clinical program.  She works on several innovative projects that support racial redress efforts through policy, education, and community engagement. CRRJ will post the Elizabeth Zitrin Justice Fellowship position in 2021.
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