Meet The Team
Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq.
Interim Executive Director &
Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq. serves as Interim Executive Director at the Center for Law and Social Justice. She is an activist and attorney with a long-standing commitment to racial and social justice. Read more...
Communications & Media
Imani Dawson is a brand strategist and content marketer with nearly two decades of experience creating and curating award-winning content across print, linear and digital platforms for major media outlets including MTV, BET, VH1, Fuse, and The Grio. Read more...
Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq.
Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq. serves as Interim Executive Director at the Center for Law and Social Justice. She is an activist and attorney with a long-standing commitment to racial and social justice. Ms. Daniel Favors earned her J.D. from New York University, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern public interest scholar. She graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a BA in African and African American Studies, with a Minor in Spanish Language.
Before completing law school, Ms. Daniel Favors co-founded Sankofa Community Empowerment, Inc., a non-profit organization designed to educate and empower communities of African descent. She later co-founded Breaking the Cycle Consulting Services LLC, which specializes in creating comprehensive professional development for educators, youth education programs and family engagement workshops designed to address the crisis in urban education through the use of culturally responsive teaching. Ms. Daniel Favors hosts the Lurie Daniel Favors Show on Sirius XM's Urban View Network and she co-hosts the Sunday Civics show which appears on the same channel.
Ms. Daniel Favors began serving as General Counsel at the Center for Law and Social Justice in 2015. She started her legal career as an attorney in the New York offices of Proskauer Rose LLP and Manatt Phelps and Phillips, LLP. She also served as a federal court law clerk in the chambers of the Honorable Sterling Johnson, Jr., in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. She later founded Daniel Favors Law PLLC, a law firm that focused on economic and racial justice.
Ms. Daniel Favors is a contributing author to The Birth of a Nation: Nat Turner and the Making of a Movement. She has also penned Afro State of Mind: Memories of a Nappy Headed Black Girl, a coming of age story about a Black girl fighting to find her place in a world where her hair texture and skin color did not fit the accepted beauty standard. Through an examination of the history of African textured hair and racism, Ms. Daniel Favors identifies Black hair, identity, skin color and self-esteem as areas that are ripe with potential for personal and political power.
Ms. Daniel Favors adheres to the West African principle of sankofa and believes one must use the past in order to understand the present and build for a brighter future.
Donna Lennon, Esq.
Ms. Lennon brings years of experience in fundraising, operations and program management in the non-profit sector to CLSJ’s growing initiatives. Most recently, she served as Program Attorney for New York County Lawyers Association, organizing and managing continuing legal education courses.
Ms. Lennon is a NYS licensed attorney who has volunteered as a Special Master in New York State Supreme Court, facilitating conference and settlement discussions, researching legal issues presented in motion papers and drafting memoranda recommending resolutions.
In her role at CLSJ, Ms. Lennon will oversee fundraising and development, finances and human resources. Ms. Lennon completed her undergraduate degree at Cornell University, a Master of Public Administration degree at NYU and her law degree at Boston College Law School.
Imani Dawson is a brand strategist and content marketer with nearly two decades of experience creating and curating award-winning content across print, linear and digital platforms for major media outlets including MTV, BET, VH1, Fuse, and The Grio. Strategic consultant for brands focused on creating and executing social media, digital marketing events, promotions and campaigns that build brand recognition and boost positioning, engagement and sales. Ms. Dawson founded the award-winning digital media network, Tribe Called Curl.
Esmeralda Simmons, Esq.
Esmeralda Simmons, Esq. founded the Center for Law and Social Justice in Brooklyn, New York. She served as executive director from 1986 until her retirement in 2020. Prior to founding the Center, Esmeralda had already had an accomplished career as: the First Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights for New York State, and as a Civil Rights Attorney for the US Department of Education, a New York State Assistant Attorney General, and a New York City Assistant Corporation Counsel. She had also served as a law clerk to a federal judge.
In addition, she has served on several major public boards in New York City government, e.g., the NYC Board of Education, and the NYC Districting Commission. Currently, Esmeralda also volunteers her skills by serving on the Board of Directors for the Applied Research Center, the Fund for Social Change and the Vallecitos Mountain Refuge, Inc., and as a selection committee member for several fellowships and grants for activists, parents, and youth.
An activist and a leader, she has been involved in the community empowerment movement in Central Brooklyn and in progressive political causes for over thirty-five years. As an attorney, she specializes in racial justice issues, such as quality public education for students of color, voting rights, and cultural rights. She chooses to work locally with community organizations using advocacy, community education, coalition-building, and organizing methods, as well as civil rights and human rights legal tools. Esmeralda is a deeply spiritual woman who is grounded in African culture. She finds constant inspiration in the vision of her ancestors, her belief in peace, and her respect for life and cultural diversity.