Qiana “Ocha Weye” Johnson
Qiana Johnson is the founder of Life After Release Inc, a formerly incarcerated women-led organization supporting system involved people in the DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia). Before her incarceration in 2015, she completed 10 years of Federal Government service. Currently, She has completed a Bachelor's in Legal Studies at the University of Maryland University College, with a concentration in Public Safety. After her release from prison on August 21, 2017. Qiana immediately started doing work around prison abolition, prosecutor accountability, and ensuring that formerly incarcerated individuals get what they need to succeed.
Today Qiana’s purpose and passion lie in holding local government officials accountable and demanding progressive changes toward ending mass incarceration. She believes in ensuring public safety without the criminalization of a particular race or social class. She uses her story to empower formerly incarcerated women into becoming productive members of their communities.
I joined the National Lawyers Guild as a law student in 2008 and have not looked back. I have served many movements since, in various places around the US. In DC, I helped organize our response to the J20 prosecutions, the Unite the Right Counter-Demonstrations, and the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor Uprising. I was a Board member last term, so I hope we can continue to build on the strong foundations we created over the last two years, while deepening our political commitments to abolition and ending racial capitalism.
Maggie Ellinger-Locke, she/her, is a movement lawyer and longtime Guildy. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Maggie now lives in the DMV where she supports local resistance movements and frontline organizers. Maggie has held several NLG leadership positions over the years, including national mass defense committee chair, executive vice president, and chapter chair (St. Louis). Maggie is currently working at Howard Law School's Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center where she supports environmental justice communities while helping to train the next generation of movement lawyers.
I am running for the DC NLG Board, after serving a number of terms previously on the DC Board, over the past decade. I also served one two-year term on the National Executive Committee (NEC), as a Mid-Atlantic regional representative. I have generally enjoyed serving on the DC board, whether we were meeting in Jim Drew's law office, or more recently, on zoom. Board service is an opportunity to encourage committee work (on mass defense, immigration, or other issues), and to plan chapter-wide events such as webinars, picnics and holiday parties. I recognize that the Board has undergone significant changes in the past couple of years, with a younger, more activist board in place. Some of that was very positive - but there has also been a lack of programming for "older" board members (let's be honest!). If elected, I pledge to work with all generations and viewpoints, to plan events which reach many communities and encourage involvement in a range of coalitions.
I came to the DC NLG in 2016 when I moved to the area. I had been a Guild member in WA state before that. I started off as a Mass Defense member at this chapter, and became the chair/co-chair of that committee in 2020 during the George Floyd Uprising. As chair I do the scheduling for Legal Observer requests, I hold the bar license for LO notes, I organize trainings, oversee meetings, and oversee multiple subcommittee groups such as the jail support hotline.
I joined the board last term because the board needed representation from Mass Defense in order to ensure LOs were effectively and appropriately supported. Mass Defense and Legal observing are some of the most impactful ways that the DC Guild shows up for local communities. Our team of over 400 needs representation on the board to ensure they are getting what they need to be safe.
If I am reelected I will continue to be a zealous advocate for our members. I will remain committed to our volunteers their give their time and labor to help keep communities safe, under possible risks to arrest and harm themselves.
Thank you for considering my candidacy.
Bio coming soon...
Bio coming soon...