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Wes Moore

Governor of Maryland



Wes Moore is the 63rd Governor of the state of Maryland. He is Maryland’s first Black Governor in the state’s 246-year history, and is just the third African American elected Governor in the history of the United States.


Born in Takoma Park, Maryland, on Oct. 15, 1978, to Joy and Westley Moore, Moore’s life took a tragic turn when his father died of a rare, but treatable virus when he was just three years old. After his father’s death, his family moved to the Bronx to live with Moore’s grandparents before returning to Maryland at age 14.

Moore is a proud graduate of Valley Forge Military Academy and College, where he received an Associate’s degree in 1998, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Afterward, he went on to earn his Bachelor’s in international relations and economics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa.

While at Johns Hopkins, Moore interned in the office of former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke. Moore was the first Black Rhodes Scholar in the history of Johns Hopkins University. As A Rhodes Scholar, he earned a Master’s in international relations from Wolfson College at Oxford.

In 2005, Moore deployed to Afghanistan as a captain with the 82nd Airborne Division, leading soldiers in combat. Immediately upon returning home, Moore served as a White House Fellow, advising on issues of national security and international relations.

In 2010, Moore wrote “The Other Wes Moore,” a story about the fragile nature of opportunity in America, which became a perennial New York Times bestseller. He went on to write other best-selling books that reflect on issues of race, equity, and opportunity, including his latest book “Five Days,” which tells the story of Baltimore in the days that followed the death of Freddie Gray in 2015.

Moore built and launched a Baltimore-based business called BridgeEdU, which reinvented freshman year of college for underserved students to increase their likelihood of long-term success. BridgeEdu was acquired by the Brooklyn-based student financial success platform, Edquity, in 2018.

It was Moore’s commitment to taking on our toughest challenges that brought him to the Robin Hood foundation, where he served for four years as CEO. During his tenure, the Robin Hood foundation distributed over $600 million toward lifting families out of poverty, including here in Maryland.

While the Robin Hood foundation is headquartered in New York City, Wes and his family never moved from their home in Baltimore.

Moore has also worked in finance with Deutsche Bank in London and with Citigroup in New York.

Moore and his wife Dawn Flythe Moore have two children – Mia, 12; and James, 10.​


Laura Coates

CNN Chief Legal Analyst & Anchor

Fireside Chat host


Laura Coates is CNN’s chief legal analyst and anchor. She plays a central role in the network’s extensive legal programming and fills in as an anchor across CNN programming including hosting primetime programs, impactful specials, and a CNN Town Hall. She is also the host of the award-winning daily The Laura Coates Show on SiriusXM’s bipartisan P.O.T.U.S. channel where she interviews world leaders and politicians from both sides of the aisle and engages the audience with a lively discussion on the intersection of politics and the law.


Coates is a well-respected constitutional expert, attorney, commentator, author, and former adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Law. Her depth of experience and broad expertise have earned her acclaim across all media platforms for her objective, nonpartisan legal analysis.


She is the New York Times bestselling author of Just Pursuit: A Black Prosecutor’s Fight For Fairness. In 2016, recognizing the dire need for increased police accountability and improved police-community relations, Coates wrote the bestselling book You Have the Right: A Constitutional Guide to Policing the Police.


A native of Saint Paul, Minnesota, Coates graduated from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs and the University of Minnesota Law School, where she serves on the Board of Advisors, before beginning her legal career in private practice. Called to public service, she transitioned from private practice to the United States Department of Justice, thriving as a federal prosecutor.



Founder & Executive DirectorDC Justice Lab

2024 GWUL Champion of Justice Award


Patrice Sulton is an attorney, criminal justice reform advocate, community organizer and law school professor who is powering a movement to fundamentally transform the criminal justice system in Washington D.C., which has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country. She served on the District of Columbia’s Criminal Code Reform Commission (comprehensively rewriting D.C.’s criminal code), Police Reform Commission (recommending an overhaul D.C.’s approach to public safety), and Jails & Justice Task Force (publishing a plan to decarcerate by half and bring D.C.’s residents home to a safe environment).


She has represented clients in criminal and civil cases for 15 years, served on public commissions and worked alongside grassroots organizations in underestimated communities of color that are deeply impacted by over-policing, over-sentencing, and notoriously unsafe jails. These experiences inspired Patrice to launch DC Justice Lab, an innovative nonprofit that is driving a conversation about what constitutes public safety and reimagining public systems that ensure safety and justice for all. In creating a model for comprehensive change in Washington DC, she is laying the foundation for generating more effective and equitable systems everywhere.


Patrice is passionate about instructing the next generation of lawyers in constitutional law, criminal justice reform, racial equity, and in how to generate systems change. She is a Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University Law School, where she teaches Adjudicatory Criminal Procedure and Trial Advocacy. She was awarded the Distinguished Adjunct Teaching Award in 2021. Patrice is recognized for training peers in trial skills and criminal law at, among other prominent organizations, the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Rising for Justice, the DC Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia.


Patrice serves on the Board of Directors for the Network of Victim Recovery of DC. Prior to founding DC Justice Lab, Patrice served on the Board of Directors for several leading justice-focused nonprofits, including NAACP DC, DC Lawyers for Youth, DC Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the New York Urban League of Young Professionals. She was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine, the Greater Washington Area Chapter of the National Bar Association, the National Law Journal and Legal Times. Patrice earned a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her J.D. from the George Washington University Law School.


Patrice’s career is devoted to fundamentally changing the way people think about who we punish, why we punish, and how we punish. A lifelong organizer, she believes the brilliant ideas we are looking for are in the brilliant people we overlook.



2024 GWUL Community Impact Award


Christopher Turner, born in Washington, D.C. in 1965, spent his formative years in the same city. He graduated from Calvin Coolidge Senior High School in 1983 with plans to enlist in the U.S. Air Force. However, in late 1984, he faced a wrongful arrest and was charged with the murder of Catherine Fuller, along with 16 others. Despite his innocence, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.


Chris was released in 2010, after spending nearly 26 years behind bars. Chris is currently employed by D.C. Public Schools and has dedicated his post-release years to assisting and supporting individuals reentering society after incarceration. Chris serves on the board of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, the organization that handled his appeal. Additionally, he is part of the advisory board of Free Minds, a DC-based group that champions creative writing projects for incarcerated individuals. Furthermore, he collaborates with Healing Justice, a national non-profit committed to raising awareness about the adverse effects of wrongful convictions.



2024 GWUL Community Resilience Award


The Scotland community, founded by formerly enslaved people in 1880, survived through the height of Jim Crow and segregation in Montgomery County, MD.  The church was founded in 1905 in the home of one of its members.  In 1924, they joined the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion) Church whose membership included Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth.


In the sixties, the community faced eviction from the county after a decision was made to condemn the property for not having plumbing or sewage, even though the county refused to connect black communities to the plumbing and sewage system.  The community gave birth to the Save Our Scotland (SOS) campaign.  Led by the Scotland AME Zion church, and with the help of the surrounding community and churches, they were able to stand up to the county.  Tutoring teams were formed for all of Scotland’s students, and they formed the Scotland Development Corporation and petitioned the federal government for the development of combined rental and homeownership housing development, the first of its kind in the nation.


As a result of the community’s efforts, the Save Our Scotland project received the Lane Bryant Volunteer Award for community involvement.


In 2010, the church, along with Action in Montgomery (AIM) and the community rose to the occasion, once again and persevered to rebuild the community center and successfully petitioned the county to name the center after long-time community activist, Bette Carol Thompson.


In 2019, a major storm flooded the area surrounding the Scotland AAME Zion Church, and massive damage to the structure was identified, prohibiting its use.  The congregation continues to worship in temporary locations while repair work is being completed.  The church has raised two thirds of the 10 million dollars project and has 4 million dollars to raise to complete the journey.  Like their ancestors before them, the Scotland AME Zion Church and community will continue to persevere and succeed.

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