headshot
Derecka Purnell
law student, writer, and Quan hitter. St. Louis raised, Cambridge based.

Derecka Purnell is a community organizer and storyteller from St. Louis, Mo. Her research and organizing has primarily focused on achieving racial justice, improving access to quality education, and dismantling disparate impact discrimination against ex-offenders of color. She has engaged in civil rights work and activism across sectors, and has been featured in a number of publications and media, including Boston Review, the Harvard Journal for African American Public Policy, Huffington Post, MSNBC, The Guardian, Boston Globe, and the New York Times.

Derecka believes in loving on oppressed people holistically: identifying problems and working together to meet temporary needs while fighting for systemic change. Her commitment to social justice stems from her personal experiences as a poor, Black girl living in an immigrant neighborhood in South St. Louis. She believes political education and movement building provides liberation, protection, and empowerment for all people.

She is currently a student at Harvard Law School.