Charity Ryerson Founder, Legal director
Charity Ryerson is a co-founder and Legal Director at Corporate Accountability Lab. Before CAL, Charity litigated complex international human rights cases under the Alien Tort Statute, Torture Victim Protection Act and state tort law. Her passion for clean supply chains was ignited by the student anti-sweatshop movement, which occupied much of her time while pursuing her Political Science B.A. from Loyola Chicago. In 2003, she served six months in federal prison for civil disobedience at the U.S. Army School of the Americas, where she worked in a prison factory for 12 cents per hour. She has extensive experience in labor and human rights monitoring, anti-union violence investigations, and support for labor organizing in Central and South America. She graduated cum laude from Georgetown Law and is a member of the D.C. and Illinois bars. She is fluent in Spanish, has two rambunctious children, and loves Chicago enough to tolerate the brutal winters.
KATHERINE MCDONNELL director of legal advocacy
Katherine McDonnell joined CAL in January 2019 as Director of Legal Advocacy after 5 years at Earthrights International (ERI), where she worked in various capacities across three offices. Katherine's work focused on facilitating community-led information gathering and engagement, using both legal and campaign advocacy strategies. She led ERI’s piloting of a Community-Driven Operational level Grievance Mechanism (CD-OGM) with villagers impacted by Myanmar’s first Special Economic Zone. Katherine also worked closely on the implementation of the Foreign Legal Assistance (FLA) strategy to support local lawyers in foreign jurisdictions seek discovery through U.S. courts for proceedings in their home countries. Katherine has worked supporting Alien Tort Statute litigation against multinational companies, and defending the human rights of people affected by IFI-funded projects. Katherine is a graduate of Santa Clara Law, and has an MA in Social Anthropology from the University of Manchester. Katherine is currently admitted to practice law in New York and Washington DC.
JERICA ARENTS communications and development director
Jerica Arents teaches in the Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies program at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. She has worked in solidarity with the Afghan Peace Volunteers in Kabul, as well as survivors of torture in Chicago. Jerica also serves as an organizer with Witness Against Torture, a campaign to close the prison at Guantánamo and end U.S.-sponsored torture worldwide. She facilitates anti-oppression workshops and nonviolent direct action trainings.