Akela D. Crawford
Akela Crawford joined Advocates for Justice and Education, Inc. (AJE) in 2023 as the Director of Legal Services, where she manages AJE’s legal services work. Akela has over 13 years of legal experience and has spent most of her legal career providing legal services to the DC Community.
In 2012, Akela served for over three years as a compliance case manager with DCPS, ensuring that DCPS carried out its legal obligations under IDEA., including educating and training school-based staff on understanding and implementing special education laws and policies.
Before joining AJE, she was a supervising attorney at the Neighborhood Legal Services Program. She provided program management and supervised staff attorneys, paralegals, and loaned pro bono attorneys in various housing matters at the administrative and court levels. Akela also first volunteered as a pro bono attorney and then served as a full-time staff attorney at the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless (WLCH), where she represented tenants and tenant associations and provided legal assistance in public benefits, subsidized housing, shelter and street rights matters. Also, while working in private practice, Akela provided legal advice and representation in domestic relations matters, bankruptcy, and small business matters.
Akela also brings to AJE her lived experience and expertise in navigating DC’s education system as the mother of a child with special needs in the DC public school system. She graduated from North Carolina Central University and North Carolina Central University School of Law and is an active member of the DC Bar. Akela is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and served as Social Justice Co-Chair of the Washington Bar Association–Young Lawyers Division, a Mayoral appointed public member on the Commission on African-American Affairs, a member of, and a Community Volunteer Circle Co-Chair for Girls on the Run-DC. She is now also a board member of One Common Unity.