Tejal Kothari

Senior Strategist

Tejal Kothari

As Senior Strategist, Tejal plays a leading role in the building of sharp campaign strategy through collective process. Additionally, Tejal identifies and fills training needs for members and staff, including designing a Campaign School where Essie sisters will deepen their knowledge of grassroots community organizing, Essie’s abolitionist vision, and the skills necessary to build winning campaigns that free our loved ones.

Tejal has spent more than 15 years working with communities directly impacted by the criminal legal system and the under-resourced public education system. In the early years of her career, Tejal tutored youth with incarcerated loved ones and taught workshops for youth incarcerated at Rikers Island. She later went to the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where she was a co-director of a youth justice clinic and did advocacy work in jails and prisons. After law school, Tejal served as a Trial Attorney at the Public Defender Service in D.C. for four years, where she represented low-income clients facing serious felony charges. In 2014, drawn back to education, she spent seven years as a public high school teacher in NYC, developing and teaching a wide-range of curriculum, including courses that interrogated the criminal legal system, explored abolition as a liberatory politic, and centered campaigning and organizing skills through partnerships with community organizations.