Presently, Amber serves as the Policy and Community Engagement Director with the Juvenile Justice Coalition, organizing youth, families, and communities to transform the criminal justice system and reallocate funding from incarceration to trauma healing and resiliency services. She has helped to steer the organization’s youth and family pilot, Voices of the Unheard, and continues to lead on JJCs plan for systemic and communal implementation of restorative justice practices locally and statewide.
Amber began student organizing in 2011 with a coalition to Occupy the Ohio State University (OSU), inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement. Much of this group evolved into the Ohio Student Association (OSA) and focused on a variety of campaigns from student tuition and debt to calling for divestment from exploitive practices. After earning a BA in Journalism from OSU, Amber was a part of an OSA team that successfully stopped Stand Your Ground from becoming law in Ohio, after the fatal shooting of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. This team also prevented a state takeover of the Columbus City School Board and secured the rights of Columbus families to vote for their elected officials.
After numerous off-campus direct actions and campaigns focused on mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline, Amber decided to pursue her Master’s of Library and Information Sciences degree to further embed herself in communities where access to resources and advocacy were scarce. Communities much like the one she grew up in on the north side of Columbus, Ohio.
After working for the public library system, and as an educator with the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools, Amber taught English in a rural region of France. Following the emergence of the Movement for Black Lives, she decided to not renew her teaching contract and returned home committed to strengthening her work with families on reducing systemic racial/economic disparities, and de-incarceration. It is her belief that by securing access to education and basic needs all people may realize the power they possess to self-advocate and organize their communities.