Dr. Deborah A. Jackson Joins CLEAR as Managing Director

Dr. Deborah A. Jackson Joins CLEAR as Managing Director

04.20.22 —Dr. Deborah A. Jackson has joined Northeastern Law’s Center for Law, Equity and Race (CLEAR) as managing director. CLEAR brings together the school’s pioneering programs and faculty — long engaged in theoretical and translational research, innovative pedagogy and collaborations with external communities — to address today’s challenges and provide tomorrow’s solutions for the nation’s most complex social challenges.

Jackson brings rich and varied experience to Northeastern. She served for eight years as the Mayor of Lithonia, Georgia, from 2012 to 2020. She previously served as city attorney and later as a council member. She was also active in the environmental justice effort to stop the building of a biomass gasification plant in the area and served as an advisor to Citizens for a Healthy and Safe Environment (CHASE) prior to becoming mayor. She was named in the 2014 Who’s Who in Black Atlanta Section on Environmental and Sustainability. During her tenure as mayor, she established a variety of partnerships to produce results for the community, including converting a dilapidated strip mall to a $12 million 75-unit housing project; renovating a foreclosed property for use as City Hall; establishing the Lithonia Farmers Market to address the issue of food insecurity in the area; completing an award-winning housing inventory with the Atlanta Regional Commission; and preparing a concept plan for the redevelopment of the historic African American Community corridor known as Bruce Street.

Jackson’s leadership as an elected official resulted in her appointment to a variety of boards and councils, including the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and its Subcommittee on Poverty. Jackson served as president of the DeKalb Municipal Association, representing the cities within DeKalb County; and is a graduate of Leadership DeKalb and the ARC’s Regional Leadership Institute.

After serving two full terms as mayor, Jackson decided to use her experience and skills and become a candidate for the U.S. Senate in the Georgia November 2020 special election. She finished in second place among the Democratic candidates and placed fourth in a field of 22 candidates, garnering more than 300,000 votes state-wide.

In addition to service as an elected official, Jackson has over 30 years of experience as an attorney. Her areas of practice include municipal and community development law. She has practiced law in Georgia, New York, New Jersey and Mississippi. Her community activities include the National Council of Negro Women-DeKalb section (Chair, Political Empowerment/Voter Registration Committee), NAACP DeKalb branch (member of Political Action Committee), and Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA). She is the founding president of DeKalb Lawyers Association Community and Education Fund, a 501 (c)(3) organization supporting the DeKalb Lawyers Association, and the CrossRoadsNews Foundation, which provides scholarships to DeKalb County high school students pursuing a degree in the field of communications. Jackson is also a member of the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance board, which is responsible for the management of 2,550 acres of a nature preserve and 30 miles of walking and biking trails. Jackson’s other experiences in the nonprofit sector, include serving as national director of the National Conference of Black Lawyers.

Jackson holds an MA and a PhD in public policy and community economic development from Southern New Hampshire University; a JD from Rutgers The State University of New Jersey-School of Law; an MA in political science and international affairs from Rutgers The State University of New Jersey-Graduate School; and an AB in history from Princeton University, with certificates in both African American and Latin American studies.

“I am very excited about this amazing opportunity to be part of CLEAR ” said Jackson. “CLEAR has a strong foundation to build upon with the groundbreaking work of its faculty co-directors Margaret Burnham and Deborah Ramirez. The goal of CLEAR will be to play a pivotal role in advancing the areas of their work as well as identifying new areas of focus as a thought-leader in the quest to achieve equity and social justice.”

About Northeastern University School of Law

The nation’s leader in experiential legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law offers the longest-running, most extensive experience-based legal education program in the country. Northeastern guarantees its students unparalleled practical legal work experiences through its signature Cooperative Legal Education Program. More than 1,000 employers worldwide in a wide range of legal, government, nonprofit and business organizations participate in the program. With a focus on social justice and innovation, Northeastern University School of Law blends theory and practice, providing students with a unique set of skills and experiences to successfully practice law.

For more information, contact d.feldman@northeastern.edu.