Speaker Profile

Avalon Betts-Gaston

Avalon Betts-Gaston is a Chicago native, non-licensed attorney, ordained minister and passionate advocate to dismantle, change and build a legal system focused on human justice and harm reduction, not just punishment.  Avalon made her public debut as an advocate at young age when she convinced her fellow Congressional pages to protest apartheid outside of the South African embassy in Washington, D.C.  This passion against various societal injustices continued throughout her life and was extra-charged and focused on the criminal legal system after she was wrongfully convicted in 2015.    Avalon received her bachelor’s degree from DePaul University and her JD from John Marshall Law School in Chicago. She currently serves as a Board Member for the Community Renewal Society and Chairperson for the Board’s Restoring Rights Committee.  She also supports the McCormick Theological Seminary Solidarity Building Initiative as a Community Advisor, is on the Advisory Board for the National Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, serves as a Governing Board Member for the Fully Free Campaign, sits on the Illinois Reentry Council, and volunteers with anti-carceral system advocacy groups locally, statewide, and nationally.   Avalon is currently the Project Manager for the Illinois Alliance for Reentry & Justice convened by the Safer Foundation.

Netroots Nation participation