Kai Johnson: 'Reproductive Justice Means Self-Determination, Dignity, and Freedom.'

If/When/How’s Quick Question series highlights the work of our Reproductive Justice Fellows, introducing our network to the incredible advocates who are dedicating their lives to the movement to lawyer for reproductive justice. We’re so proud of the work they’re doing at placement organizations across the country to ensure that everyone has the ability to safely decide if, when, and how to create and sustain their families, and to actualize sexual and reproductive wellbeing on their own terms. But we can’t support them without you: Please donate $10 to help us give aspiring and new lawyers the resources they need to thrive. And if you can’t give — share!

Kai Johnson

Kai Johnson (Tulane University School of Law ‘21) has worked for many incredible organizations where she engaged in civil rights and human rights issues through a reproductive justice and intersectional feminist framework. She provided legal assistance and policy research around parole, extreme sentencing, and criminal justice issues disproportionately impacting Black children as an intern for the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights. At the ACLU of Louisiana, she assisted their Justice Lab on intensive litigation efforts combating anti-Black police violence and racially discriminatory policing practices, helping produce a comprehensive report on trauma-informed lawyering. Kai also clerked for the Honorable Karen Wells Roby, Chief Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, where she worked on §1983 prisoners civil rights claims.

As an active member of the Black Law Students Association, Kai competed in oral argument on the Thurgood Marshall Moot Court appellate advocacy team. Throughout law school, her studies have focused on abolition, gender, migration, and human rights law. 

Kai holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from Columbia College of Columbia University. Before law school, she worked on state and federal reproductive justice and voting rights issues in D.C. as a staff member for Congressman Bennie G. Thompson of the 2nd Congressional District of Mississippi. 

Kai will spend her RJ Fellowship year at Women Engaged in Atlanta, GA.

If/When/How: Who are you and where are you from?

Kai Johnson: My name is Kai Johnson. My pronouns are she/her/hers. I was born and raised in Jackson, MS. I moved to New York to study for undergrad at Columbia and worked in Washington, D.C. for two years before attending law school in New Orleans. 

If/When/How: Where are you going? (You can treat this question literally or existentially).

KJ: In September, I will start at Women Engaged in Atlanta, GA as an If/When/How RJ-State Fellow. I’m excited to join my RJFP cohort and future colleagues at Women Engaged in their community-empowered and centered work. 

If/When/How: What does reproductive justice mean to you?

KJ: For me, reproductive justice means self-determination, dignity, and freedom. It is movement building and legal advocacy that fights for all people to have autonomy over our sexual and reproductive lives and futures and also the ability to live and thrive in safe, healthy, and self-determined communities free from all forms of injustice and structural violence. 

If/When/How: When you are not lawyering, what do you get up to?

KJ: I love spending time with my family, learning about zone 8 planting and farming, growing food, collecting books, listening to a good podcast, and sending snail mail with friends.

If you’re as excited as we are to see Kai succeed, donate $10 to help If/When/How support new lawyers like her.