A Thank You to Smart Justice 2024

Dear Smart Justice,

Since its launch almost six years ago, ACLU Smart Justice Connecticut has been, and continues to be, a vital part of the ACLU of Connecticut’s success before, during, and after the legislative session.

And in case folks aren’t familiar with the Leaders and their blue “People Not Prisons” shirts (pictured above), the Smart Justice Leaders are an unprecedented cohort of leaders who have been directly impacted by Connecticut’s criminal legal system. They are a group of incredibly powerful and passionate people who, in their personal and professional capacities, challenge mass incarceration by speaking truth to power, sharing their expertise and experiences, and building connections with each other and communities across the state.

Every year since 2018, a cohort of new and returning Smart Justice Leaders join the team in our lobbying and advocacy efforts at the Capitol.

This year, despite being a “short session” of just 14 weeks, Gus Marks-Hamilton, interim campaign and organizing manager, told us that “the Leaders testified over 20 times in 2024 on 10 different bills.” In other words, between spending thousands of hours in the Capitol, you all have provided dozens of testimonies on issues such as promoting driving equity, creating safe and accessible housing opportunities for all residents, ensuring accountability with police body cameras, creating higher educational opportunities for incarcerated people, ending cash bail in the state, and so much more. Thanks to your efforts in proactively starting critical conversations with legislators nearly every day of session, being present at so many events supporting the ACLU of Connecticut and our valued partners, and preparing compelling testimony on numerous bills, Smart Justice has set the stage to better defend and advance our civil rights and liberties alongside community activists and partner organizations during the 2025 legislative session.

You all are always, and will continue to be, instrumental in the things that the ACLU of Connecticut accomplishes throughout the year. A collection of your testimony and reflections from the 2024 legislative session can be found here.

To our 2024 cohort of Smart Justice Leaders, thank you. You are truly invaluable to the ACLU of Connecticut.

  • Tracie Bernardi-Guzman
  • Alex Brown
  • Leslie Caraballo
  • Luis Delgado
  • Chris Douze
  • Ronnie Hinton
  • Curtis B. Hudson
  • Brittany LaMarr
  • Lori “L” LeDonne
  • Robin Ledbetter
  • Luis Mattei Jr.
  • Marquita Reale
  • Terri Ricks
  • William Roberts
  • Manuel Sandoval
  • Abraham Santiago


In Solidarity,

The ACLU of Connecticut