Join Out Leadership for an episode of Equality Imperative with Fabrice Houdart, an Out Leadership original LIVE broadcast series with a focus on human rights.
Equality Imperative, Episode 3: LGBT+ and Mass Incarceration
Tuesday, May 5 | 12pm EST
Out Leadership’s Fabrice Houdart is joined by Witness to Mass Incarceration’s Evie Litwok and Ropes & Gray’s Salmah Rizvi for a conversation on LGBT+ and Mass Incarceration.
View the full episode below:
Director and Founder
Witness to Mass Incarceration (WMI)
Evie Litwok is the Founder and Executive Director of Witness to Mass Incarceration (WMI). WMI’s mission is to end mass incarceration by placing formerly incarcerated women and LGBTQIA+ experiences at the center of the fight for alternatives to mass incarceration. Evie works to change the narrative from invisibility and victimization to empowerment through documentation, leadership training, organizing and advocacy. Litwok walked out of prison homeless, jobless, and penniless. Despite the lack of resources, she began speaking about her experiences in prison and formed WMI. She has added the goals of eliminating sexual violence, pushing for emergency evacuation of incarcerated people during times of national disaster and her newest initiative, the Suitcase Project, gives newly released people a suitcase filled with much needed items and a potential community.
Her hard work has led to a growing network. Litwok is a part of the National LGBT/HIV Criminal Justice Working Group who meets regularly with the Bureau of Prisons to discuss increasing safety and dignity for LGBTQ prisoners. WMI is also apart of the Raising the Bar Coalition and attends regular meetings with the Justice Department’s PREA Management Office.
In 2016, Evie discussed greater participation by formerly incarcerated people in the Justice Department’s PREA implementation efforts with then- Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason. Evie continues to interview formerly incarcerated women and LGBTQIA+ people on their experiences. It is her hope that educating the public and developing initiatives will result in policy reform, a radical change in conditions of confinement, and provide meaningful re-entry.
Sub-specialties: Sexual Violence in Prisons & Jails, Reentry, Mass Incarceration.
Ropes & Gray
Salmah is an associate in the litigation & enforcement practice group. Her focus areas include internal investigations, complex civil litigation, class action litigation, international risk assessments, antitrust due diligence, and anti-corruption and anti-money laundering compliance structuring. She has experience in matters involving analysis of the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA), the United Kingdom Bribery Act (UKBA), and the Sherman Antitrust Act.
Salmah also maintains an active civil rights and human rights pro bono practice, focused on prison reform, LGBTQ equality, and immigration. She represents asylum seekers at various stages of litigation. She was a member of the Ropes & Gray team responsible for the landmark win in Nunez v. City of New York – a class action lawsuit that resulted in groundbreaking institutional reforms to remedy excessive staff violence against inmates on Rikers Island. Salmah was also part of the impact litigation pro bono team responsible for encouraging the repeal of Utah’s state law that had prohibited supportive discussions of homosexuality in public and charter school curricula and classrooms.
Prior to her legal career, Salmah worked as an analyst for the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, focusing primarily on sanctioned finance operations.