Charity Ryerson Founder, Legal director
Charity Ryerson is a human rights attorney with over 10 years’ experience in the field. She has conducted labor rights and human rights monitoring, including anti-union violence investigations, throughout the Americas and Asia. Prior to founding CAL, Charity litigated complex international human rights cases under the Alien Tort Statute and Torture Victim Protection Act, including Does v. Chiquita Brands International, Saldana v. Occidental Petroleum, and Arias/Quinteros v. Dyncorp. She received her Political Science B.A. from Loyola Chicago, and her J.D. from Georgetown. Charity is a member of the D.C. and Illinois bars.
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.