2024 Design-Your-Own Fellowship Applications are Open

Learn More & Apply

Headshot of Makiah Lyons

Makiah Lyons

  • Hosted by Intercultural Development Research Association
  • Sponsored by Anonymous
  • Service location Atlanta, Georgia
  • Law school Howard University School of Law
  • Issue area Education/Special Education, Racial Justice
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Makiah’s project aims to eliminate school discipline policies and practices that disproportionately harm girls of color in Georgia and other southern states through action research, community education, direct advocacy, and policy advocacy.

Racial and gender biases influence how school discipline policies are drafted and implemented nationally. Southern states, like Georgia, are responsible for staggering rates of exclusionary discipline of Black students. As a result, many girls of color—particularly Black girls—are overdisciplined in southern schools and punished pursuant to vague and often sweeping policies in decisions that go unchallenged. These disparities have immediate and lasting negative consequences for girls of color, their families, and their communities.

Makiah grew up as a deaf Black girl in the South and belongs to a family of proud and passionate educators. Makiah’s family and her time as a teacher inspires her to fight for education access and justice.

Fellowship Plans

During her Fellowship, Makiah will develop a legal participatory action research project to collect the stories and experiences of girls of color in Georgia schools and work within impacted communities to generate solutions. She will engage in direct advocacy on behalf of students who are harmed by harsh or punitive disciplinary decisions. Additionally, she will develop know-your-rights workshops for girls of color and their families as well as trainings and toolkits for educators and advocates.

I believe that girls of color belong in school. And they belong in schools that are both safe and affirming. I’m both honored and excited to do this work.

Makiah Lyons /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Meet Other Fellows Like Makiah

View All

Headshot of Alexis Rickmers

Alexis Rickmers

Host: Lawyers for Civil Rights

Sponsor: Biogen, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP

Current Fellow

Photo of Travis Fife

Travis Fife

Host: Texas Civil Rights Project

Sponsor: Latham & Watkins LLP

Current Fellow

Headshot of Breanna Bollig

Breanna Bollig

Host: California Tribal Families Coalition

Sponsor: Danaher Corporation

Current Fellow

Christina Campbell

Host: Center For Educational Excellence In Alternative Settings

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP