Legal Aid Society


Q&A: Takeasha L. Newton, Community Justice Unit

Takeasha L. Newton is the Lead Community Organizer with The Legal Aid Society’s Community Justice Unit (CJU). As a leader directly impacted by generational incarceration, she is determined to empower the communities she respects.

What was the journey that led you to work at Legal Aid?

I previously collaborated with the inaugural community organizers and attorneys of Legal Aid’s Community Justice Unit while in my role at 696 Build Queensbridge, a crisis management program. I admired them and their work, so I jumped at the chance when a Community Organizer position became available.

Tell us about the work of the Community Justice Unit and your role on that team.

As the Lead Community Organizer, I work with my supervising attorney, Anthony Posada, to build the community organizing team and provide services to our crisis management system/cure violence partners and the communities they serve in all boroughs. I present public education workshops on New Yorkers’ rights during police encounters and the NYPD gang database. I also provide training for youth who want to become ambassadors. Finally, I sit on several coalitions where I work on advancing legislative changes to benefit our communities, such as the Clean Slate Act, recently signed into law. My purpose is to assist in the healing and restoration of our communities.

As a woman, mother, and a glam-mother from a family directly impacted by generational incarceration, I do this work for the child I once was, our ancestors, our children, and glam-children.

Why is partnering with community important in your work?

Partnering with the community is essential in my role because our goal to deliver justice in every borough is only possible when we work with the community, addressing concerns and designing solutions directly. My work includes my peers, family, neighbors, and friends, and I know the impact goes beyond that, affecting people I will never meet. Change is possible when there is love for the community. The relationship gives life to our purpose as The Legal Aid Society.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your current role?

The most satisfying aspect of my current role is knowing that I’m intentionally inspiring others to critique their mindsets to implement self-care and development to protect themselves and others. The internal pathos I endure after each workday is reassurance that I’m fulfilling my purpose.

When you’re not working, where can we find you?

I spend quality time with my loved ones, especially my glam-daughter, when not working. As a hobby, I enjoy utilizing my God-given gift of creating natural hair designs.

CJU recently launched the Your Rights, Your Power campaign. What about this campaign resonates most with you/is there a time when knowing your rights was important to you?

NYPD stops have grown astronomically, so it is satisfying to know that I was part of an effort to educate all of NYC and make sure people know how to navigate what can be a terrifying encounter.