The Urban League of Essex County is proud to present the 2021 R.E.D. Gala Whitney M. Young Award to Ms. Andrea McChristian for her commitment to protecting the rights of the poorest among us and showing that knowledge is the ultimate equalizer and the surest path to a better and more productive way of life.
Andrea McChristian is the Law & Policy Director at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (“NJISJ”). In this capacity, she leads the implementation of the strategic vision and the direction of the law and policy program. Andrea oversees the programmatic function of the Institute’s three pillars of social justice: democracy and justice, economic justice, and criminal justice reform. Prior to becoming Law & Policy Director, Andrea served as the Director of the Criminal Justice Reform initiative and was the primary author of Bring Our Children Home: Ain’t I A Child, which forms the basis of the 150 Years is Enough campaign. Andrea’s writing on juvenile justice and racial justice has been published in the Star Ledger, the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, and NJ Spotlight.
Before joining the Institute, Andrea served as a Litigation Associate at the New York office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (“Fried Frank”). During her time at Fried Frank, Andrea worked on complex commercial litigation and pro bono cases.
Andrea is a 2008 graduate of Yale University, graduating with distinction in the major of Political Science. At Yale, Andrea served as co-President of the Yale NAACP, co-reactivating the chapter after a years-long absence from campus. After graduation, Andrea joined Teach for America, teaching Head Start for two years in the Las Vegas Valley. Andrea then attended Columbia Law School where she participated in the Challenging the Consequences of Mass Incarceration Clinic, interned in Auckland, New Zealand as part of the law school’s Human Rights Internship Program, and interned at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. After graduating from Columbia Law School in 2013 as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Andrea clerked for Chief Judge Petrese B. Tucker of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.