Kennedy Young

Bachelor of Arts Candidate in Sociology and African and African American Studies, Arts & Sciences, Class of 2022

It is because of her experiences that she seeks to make a difference by actively fighting for justice for those most vulnerable.

Ethic of Service Award Nomination

Kennedy is a John B. Ervin Scholar at Washington University, where she majors in Sociology and African and African American Studies with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is a fierce advocate for reducing reentry barriers for formerly incarcerated people and challenging punitive sentencing. A Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, Kennedy’s research currently investigates the racialized social impact of the Armed Career Criminal Act in the Eastern District of Arkansas. Her commitment to justice has led her to intern with the Arkansas Federal Public Defender Office, where she worked on client and death penalty mitigation with archival research, and ArchCity Defenders, where she provided housing-focused case management to clients.

On campus, she’s worked extensively with Washington University’s Prison Education Project as a teaching assistant, writing tutor, book club facilitator, and reentry committee member. In her work, she confronts systems of oppression by materializing community care and solidarity. In July 2020, along with five others, she co-founded the STL Reentry Collective, which is a local coalition that manages a mutual aid fund and reentry resource guide for formerly incarcerated people. Since July, the Reentry Collective has raised and redistributed over $60,000 to 91 formerly incarcerated people. 

Kennedy’s long-term goals include pursuing a joint JD/PhD to combine scholarship, direct practice, and advocacy to combat inequality in the legal system and catalyze public justice.