PROJECTCatalyst Grant Program



Sarita and Claire Wright Lucas Foundation

“More Than 1%” Initiative: The Power of Equity, Making the Case for More Black Women Prosecutors

Boston, MA

Prosecutors wield the life-changing power to reduce incarceration, promote accountability, and decrease recidivism. They are among our most impactful local officials, yet women and people of color are underrepresented among them. Massachusetts only has three women district attorneys, and only one woman of color has ever been elected to the position. About half of the state’s 778 assistant district attorneys were women as of July 2021, but only about 5 percent were women of color. Nationally, Black women represent only 1 percent of prosecutors. To change this, the Sarita and Claire Wright Lucas Foundation seeks to support young women of color who, like Sarita Wright Lucas, are committed to serving the public and pursuing careers as prosecutors. Its goal is to diversify the legal system and encourage more women of color to take on the role of prosecutor, a crucial step to ensuring a more fair, representative, and equitable legal system.

With Catalyst Grant funding, the Sarita and Claire Wright Lucas Foundation will carry out the “More Than 1%” Initiative to foster a greater understanding of the importance of diversity in prosecutorial offices in the community and to encourage more Black women to join the field. It will hire a research coordinator to lead the initiative, and it will begin by polling Black women who are law and pre-law students at Boston-area colleges, law schools, and community organizations on barriers to law careers, perceptions of law enforcement careers, and the role of prosecutors. After analyzing the polling data and data from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, the foundation will conduct an education and outreach campaign to engage local students and disseminate materials related to diversity in prosecutorial offices. Products will include data visualizations, publications, and outreach materials produced using data collected during the initiative and video interviews with local prosecutors. It will share campaign materials and facilitate discussions and presentations at local universities and affinity groups. 


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