Mimi Marziani has an extensive background in civil rights advocacy and nonprofit management, as well as expertise in election law. Ms. Marziani previously directed voting rights programs for multiple political campaigns and committees, also overseeing compliance with election law. In 2014, Ms. Marziani led the first coordinated, statewide voter protection program for progressive candidates and groups in Texas.

 

Before moving to Texas, Ms. Marziani spent several years as Counsel for the Democracy Program of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, where she litigated election law cases in federal courts across the country, including before the U.S. Supreme Court. In that role, she worked to promote voting rights and regulate money in politics through legislative counseling, academic research and communications strategies. Ms. Marziani has also served as a litigation associate of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, where she represented corporate clients in all types of complex civil litigation while maintaining an active pro bono practice. She clerked for Magistrate Judge James C. Francis, IV of the Southern District of New York.

 

Ms. Marziani teaches “Election Law and Policy” at the University of Texas School of Law and serves on the NYU Board of Trustees. Ms. Marziani has also taught constitutional law at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Policy and at NYU’s campus in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Ms. Marziani graduated cum laude from NYU School of Law, and received a B.A., magna cum laude, from Vanderbilt University.

 

When she is not working to advance equality and justice, Ms. Marziani can be found hiking on the Greenbelt or eating tacos in South Austin with her husband, Matthew, and their daughter, Carmine Anne.

Mimi Marziani

Executive Director | Read profile
mimi@texascivilrightsproject.org
Austin

Mimi Marziani has an extensive background in civil rights advocacy and nonprofit management, as well as expertise in election law. Ms. Marziani previously directed voting rights programs for multiple political campaigns and committees, also overseeing compliance with election law. In 2014, Ms. Marziani led the first coordinated, statewide voter protection program for progressive candidates and groups in Texas.

 

Before moving to Texas, Ms. Marziani spent several years as Counsel for the Democracy Program of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, where she litigated election law cases in federal courts across the country, including before the U.S. Supreme Court. In that role, she worked to promote voting rights and regulate money in politics through legislative counseling, academic research and communications strategies. Ms. Marziani has also served as a litigation associate of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, where she represented corporate clients in all types of complex civil litigation while maintaining an active pro bono practice. She clerked for Magistrate Judge James C. Francis, IV of the Southern District of New York.

 

Ms. Marziani teaches “Election Law and Policy” at the University of Texas School of Law and serves on the NYU Board of Trustees. Ms. Marziani has also taught constitutional law at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Policy and at NYU’s campus in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Ms. Marziani graduated cum laude from NYU School of Law, and received a B.A., magna cum laude, from Vanderbilt University.

 

When she is not working to advance equality and justice, Ms. Marziani can be found hiking on the Greenbelt or eating tacos in South Austin with her husband, Matthew, and their daughter, Carmine Anne.

Leadership Team

Beth Harrison Stevens is the Voting Rights Program Director at TCRP. She is responsible for the oversight of TCRP’s voting rights litigation and for partnering with local, state-wide, and nation-wide organizations to ensure eligible Texans are able to vote. Beth brings extensive litigation and advocacy experience to this role. She received her BA in History from UT Austin and her law degree from SMU Dedman School of Law. She is committed to furthering progressive causes throughout Texas, enjoys volunteering with local non-profits, and is zealous about fighting inequity and injustice. In her extra time, Beth plays volleyball, enjoys preparing vegan dishes, and spends time with her close-knit family. ​

Beth Stevens

Voting Rights Director | Read profile
beth@texascivilrightsproject.org
Austin

Beth Harrison Stevens is the Voting Rights Program Director at TCRP. She is responsible for the oversight of TCRP’s voting rights litigation and for partnering with local, state-wide, and nation-wide organizations to ensure eligible Texans are able to vote. Beth brings extensive litigation and advocacy experience to this role. She received her BA in History from UT Austin and her law degree from SMU Dedman School of Law. She is committed to furthering progressive causes throughout Texas, enjoys volunteering with local non-profits, and is zealous about fighting inequity and injustice. In her extra time, Beth plays volleyball, enjoys preparing vegan dishes, and spends time with her close-knit family. ​

Efrén C. Olivares is the Director of TCRP’s Racial and Economic Justice Program. He handles and supervises cases in state and federal court involving institutional discrimination, constitutional violations, immigrants’ rights, disability and economic rights, among others. Efrén is passionate about working to provide equality of opportunity to people regardless of their ethnic or racial background, and their economic or immigration status. He joined TCRP’s South Texas office in 2013 after working at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and at Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP before that. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Yale Law School.

Efrén C. Olivares

Racial & Economic Justice Director | Read profile
efren@texascivilrightsproject.org
South Texas

Krissi Trumeter is the Finance Director for Texas Civil Rights Project. She has over 15 years experience in accounting and has served the non-profit sector for several years in a variety of ways. Prior to TCRP, Krissi was the controller for The Texas Observer, which was her first opportunity of insight into the backend of non-profits. She is committed to serving her community and is passionate about civil rights and equality for all. When she is not working, she spends her time with her family, dancing the two-step and smashing the patriarchy.

Krissi Trumeter

Finance Director | Read profile
krissi@texascivilrightsproject.org
Austin

Natalia Cornelio (“Nata”) is the Director of TCRP’s Criminal Justice Program. Natalia joins TCRP’s criminal justice reform efforts after serving as an assistant federal public defender for indigent persons accused of federal crimes in Houston, where she witnessed first-hand the overuse of criminal laws and incarceration, including against persons of color and indigent persons. She joins TCRP in 2017 as persons in Texas and the United States face heightened obstacles to justice and dignity. Nata has previously worked as a staff attorney for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and is a graduate of New York University and the University of Chicago Law School.

Natalia M. Cornelio

Criminal Justice Reform Director | Read profile
natalia@texascivilrightsproject.org
Houston

Stephanie Schweitzer Garza leads TCRP’s resource development efforts, serving as Development Director. Originally from the Midwest, Stephanie comes from a diverse and creative background, graduating with a BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University and subsequently performing professionally both on stage and screen. While living in New York City, Stephanie became involved in the progressive movement, working in constituent services for US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and serving on the Political Action Committee for the NOW-NYC. Stephanie came to Texas to serve as Deputy Regional Finance Director for Wendy R. Davis for Governor and simply couldn’t leave. She is honored to be a part of the TCRP team and to work every day to create systemic change in hopes that EVERY Texan is able to fully participate in their community and is afforded the same dignity and respect in and out of the courts.

Stephanie Schweitzer Garza

Development Director |  Read profile
stephanie@texascivilrightsproject.org
Austin

Stephanie Schweitzer Garza leads TCRP’s resource development efforts, serving as Development Director. Originally from the Midwest, Stephanie comes from a diverse and creative background, graduating with a BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University and subsequently performing professionally both on stage and screen. While living in New York City, Stephanie became involved in the progressive movement, working in constituent services for US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and serving on the Political Action Committee for the NOW-NYC. Stephanie came to Texas to serve as Deputy Regional Finance Director for Wendy R. Davis for Governor and simply couldn’t leave. She is honored to be a part of the TCRP team and to work every day to create systemic change in hopes that EVERY Texan is able to fully participate in their community and is afforded the same dignity and respect in and out of the courts.

Zenén Jaimes Pérez is the Communications Director with TCRP. A native Austinite, Zenén became heavily involved in social justice movements through his personal experience growing up in a mixed-status immigrant family and seeing firsthand the effects of the private prison system. Previously, he worked on advocacy, policy, and communications with United We Dream, the largest immigrant-youth run organization in the country, the Center for American Progress, and Advocates for Youth. Always passionate about demystifying policies and laws for his community, Zenén is a first-generation college graduate from Georgetown University where he received a Bachelors of Science in Foreign Service in 2013.

Zenén Jaimes Pérez

Communications Director | Read profile
zenen@texascivilrightsproject.org
Austin

Legal Team

Brooke Bischoff is an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation. At TCRP, Brooke works to challenge unconstitutional immigration detention practices and protect immigrants’ rights in Texas. Before coming to TCRP, Brooke worked as an non-profit immigrant defense attorney. Brooke received her J.D. with a concentration in Poverty Law and Economic Justice from Northeastern University School of Law and her B.A. in Cultural Studies from Prescott College.

Brooke Bischoff

Equal Justice Works Fellow/Attorney | Read profile
brooke@texascivilrightsproject.org
El Paso

Cassandra Champion has been a social justice activist most of her life, and that path led her from her hometown in Arkansas to New York to Austin to Oregon. She ultimately joined TCRP after graduating from the University of Oregon School of Law in 2012 because she wanted to help empower and effect change for folks who may otherwise have nowhere else to turn. For nearly three years, she served as the Regional Director of the West Texas office before returning to the Austin office to work on the Voting Rights and Criminal Justice Reform projects.

Cassandra Champion

Attorney | Read profile
champion@texascivilrightsproject.org
Austin

Emma works as a staff attorney for TCRP’s Veterans Services Program, where she advocates for veterans facing discrimination and other civil rights violations. Emma came to TCRP with a commitment to fighting for social justice and a belief that everyone–regardless of financial means–deserves equal access to justice. Prior to joining the TCRP team, Emma worked as a fellow at the Legal Aid Justice Center in Richmond, Virginia. She is a graduate of the University of Richmond School of Law and Haverford College, where she majored in anthropology.

Emma Hilbert

Attorney | Read profile
emma@texascivilrightsproject.org
Austin

Hani Mirza is the Texas Civil Rights Project’s North Texas Regional Legal Director. Hani graduated from Washington University School of Law. He previously worked as a staff attorney at Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas in Fort Worth and as an immigration attorney at YMCA International Services. People like Woody Guthrie, Bhagat Singh, and Malcolm X inspire him to continue fighting.

Hani Mirza

Regional Legal Director/Attorney | Read profile
hani@texascivilrightsproject.org
North Texas

Hannah Herzog is passionate about pursuing social justice. After obtaining her BA from Boston University, she spent two years working at Casa de Esperanza providing stability children in the foster care system. While attending UT Law, Hannah helped advocate for prisoners housed in inhumane and deadly conditions for the Civil Rights Clinic. She was awarded the UT Law Pro Bono Beacon award twice for dedicating hundreds of hours of pro bono work to indigent clients across Texas. After graduating in 2016, she began working for TRCP. At TCRP, Hannah, an Equal Justice Works fellow, fights to improve conditions for people with mental illness in the Texas criminal justice system.

Hannah Herzog

Equal Justice Works Fellow/Attorney | Read profile
hannah@texascivilrightsproject.org
Houston

Peter is committed to bolstering fundamental rights and liberties against the rapid pace of technological change. As a Justice Catalyst Fellow, Peter supports TCRP’s enduring mission to advance criminal justice reform in the state of Texas. Specifically, he focuses on the use of algorithmic risk assessment tools within the state’s criminal justice system. His advocacy seeks to put a spotlight on the extent to which these tools implicate due process, institutional bias, and transparency in government. Peter received his B.A. from Rice University and his J.D. from NYU School of Law.

Peter Steffensen

Justice Catalyst Fellow | Read profile
peter@texascivilrightsproject.org
Austin

Wallis Nader has been an attorney with TCRP since graduating law school in 2014. Her advocacy focuses on complex civil litigation challenging conditions of confinement and the systemic criminalization of poverty and mental illness in Texas. Before law school, she worked at the Kennan Institute in Washington, D.C. and later at the Center for Business Skills Development in Moscow, Russia. Ms. Nader is a graduate of Boston University and the University of Texas at Austin.

Wallis Nader

Attorney | Read profile
wallis@texascivilrightsproject.org
Houston

Chris Rainbolt handles administrative, technical, logistical, and paralegal related tasks for the North Texas office. He envisions a world without suffering or economic inequality and does what he can, each day, to nudge things in that direction. He draws on his varied experiences with electronics, manufacturing, process control, purchasing, investing, construction, paralegal studies, poker, and Yoga to tackle challenges that arise. Chris is most proud of his role in locating office space for the North Texas branch and managing its relocation. Chris has earned Associates Degrees in Electronics Engineering Technology and Paralegal Studies and is a certified Yoga instructor.

Chris Rainbolt

Paralegal / Office Manager | Read profile
chris@texascivilrightsproject.org
North Texas

Christopher Rivera holds down the fort at TCRP’s Houston office. As the acting Paralegal/Office Manager Christopher contributes to the Houston office by scheduling prison visits, drafting motions, handling intake and various other responsibilities delegated to him. As an alumni from California State University Long Beach, Christopher received his degrees in Political Science and Chicano Studies. While at CSULB, Christopher volunteered his time at LAANE (Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy) where he learned the importance of nonprofit organizations and their impact on the community. After a short stint at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, Christopher joined the Texas Civil Rights Project and has found his new home within the organization.

Christopher Rivera

Paralegal / Office Manager | Read profile
christopher@texascivilrightsproject.org
Houston

Rolando serves as legal manager at our Austin office, supporting our attorneys, and coordinating our paralegals across the state, as well as managing our case data. He also proudly co-coordinates TCRP’s volunteers and interns, and manages those dedicated to civil rights work in Austin. As a volunteer, Rolando was initially drawn to TCRP’s mission during his undergraduate and graduate studies; and he joined TCRP professionally in 2015. He continues to serve as a volunteer with groups that facilitate dialogue on topics of race, bias, and discrimination, and other groups that assist underserved populations. Rolando attended St. Edward’s University, and he holds a master’s degree concentrating in social science and social justice.

Rolando Pérez

Legal Manager | Read profile
rolando@texascivilrightsproject.org
Austin

Sandra attained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of Texas at El Paso in February 2008. After going through TCRP’s website and reading about their wonderful work, Sandra knew she wanted to become a part of their team. She worked as a volunteer at the El Paso office from April 2008 to July of 2008. In August of 2008, she became a full-time staff member as a Parenting Order Legal Clinic Coordinator. During this time, she saw every person at the Civil Rights Project selflessly helping the underprivileged. She was given the opportunity to continue her career as an Office Manager and Paralegal. Sandra is currently advancing in her position through an online Paralegal Studies Associate Degree Program. She plans to apply those credits towards a Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies.

Sandra Arzate

Paralegal / Office Manager | Read profile
sandra@texascivilrightsproject.org
El Paso

Operations Team

Megan graduated with a B.A. in Global Studies from St. Edward’s University. She became actively passionate about human rights, poverty, and immigration issues after an immersion trip to Lima, Peru. Megan translated this passion into volunteering and interning at various nonprofits in Austin, which eventually led her to a Development Internship at TCRP. In her current role, she recruits new employees and ensures clients, vendors, and bills are paid. In her free time, you will find her outside in any body of water, biking, at End of an Ear, or enjoying whatever breakfast taco is in sight.

Megan Garcia

Accounting and HR Assistant |  Read profile
megan@texascivilrightsproject.org
Austin

Margaret is a passionate development professional with experience in non-profit and political fundraising, as well as grant writing. She also has an extensive background in communications and marketing, which she integrates into her development work. Margaret earned her M.A. in Oral History from Columbia University; she is a talented storyteller, audio producer, and archivist. Her multi-media and written theses were awarded highest department honors. She received her B.A. from Tufts University where she graduated with departmental honors in her majors of History and Political Science. Margaret is a passionate advocate for civil rights, reproductive rights, and Native American rights—including sovereignty, representation, and ecology. When she isn’t at the TCRP offices, she can be found in her kitchen improvising some new delicious meal as her dog, Tupelo, looks on hungrily.

Margaret Gooding-Silverwood

Development Associate  | Read profile
margaret@texascivilrightsproject.org
Austin

Melissa Elfont is the Operations Coordinator at the Texas Civil Rights Project. She has previously worked as a higher education administrator at The University of Texas at Austin, Drexel University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Melissa graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Sociology and Gender Studies. She is also a longtime volunteer at Planned Parenthood, and previously ran a free GED program in her hometown of Philadelphia. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her partner and pets, and baking French macarons.

Melissa Elfont

Operations Coordinator  | Read profile
elfont@texascivilrightsproject.org
Austin

Melissa graduated from St. Edward’s University with a degree in Religious Studies with a minor in English Writing & Rhetoric and a passion to make the world a more equitable place for all. After graduating, she spent two years with Americorps as a bilingual tutor and worked at the Austin American-Statesman as an Online Content Producer, running the entertainment website Austin360.com. In her current role, Melissa is the Communications Coordinator and works to inform the public about the important work of TCRP. In her free time, she mentors a young woman through Big Brothers Big Sisters and loves to bake.

Melissa Martinez

Communications Coordinator | Read profile
melissa@texascivilrightsproject.org
Austin

TCRP’s efforts to challenge the injustices that are all too common in our state have sparked a backlash. Join our Fight for Rights Campaign and defend our work today.
Sign up for updates on the fight to protect civil rights in Texas.