About Charisa Smith

Charisa Kiyô Smith Esquire, is a graduate of Harvard University’s undergraduate History Program (’00) and has a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School (’05). The recipient of numerous awards, including the Michael Rockefeller Fellowship, the Harvard Foundation Award for Outstanding Contributions to Race Relations, the Harvard History Essay Prize, and the Arthur Liman Public Interest Law Fellowship, Charisa Kiyô Smith conducted over one hundred hours of taped interviews with Tom Malloy to create his biography, Blending Colors From Life: Trenton's Own Watercolorist, Tom Malloy (2007).

Charisa is also the author of Delinquents, Denials and Daring Reform: The Modern Juvenile Justice System and its Mental Health Treatment Capabilities (2004), various political writings, and numerous published poems.

Charisa has worked in juvenile justice for 10 years and in youth service for 15 years. She is a Staff Attorney at Advocates for Children of NY, Inc. and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Children and Youth Studies Program and the Africana Studies Department at Brooklyn College, City University of New York (CUNY). Charisa seeks to empower court-involved youth, their families, concerned students, high-incarceration communities, and any others who seek to join the struggle.

Charisa challenges policy-makers and communities to eliminate racism and racial disparities, over-arrest and incarceration, the prison industrial complex, poverty, homophobia, child abuse and sexual assaults, sexism, xenophobia, ageism, and discrimination against people with disabilities.

Charisa writes frequently and is available to deliver public presentations on a variety of topics. She also conducts media work and policy advocacy.

Charisa is fluent in Spanish, is a Zen Buddhist student at the Village Zendo in Manhattan, and enjoys calligraphy, writing, dance, travel, and singing.