Jesse Rawlins is a LEAD Project Manager for the Public Defender Association and will be focusing his work on Seattle's East Precinct by providing technical assistance, community liaising, stakeholder facilitations and other justice advocacy work. Additionally, Jesse will be managing some of the organization's efforts to enhance drug user engagement and health through policy advocacy, community outreach and movement building. He comes with over ten years of extensive leadership and experience in community engagement, public policy, and stakeholder management.
Most recently, Jesse was a Legislative Aide at the Seattle City Council, where he managed a public policy portfolio including civil rights, public health, homelessness and other human services policy areas. He also led outreach for the first Latinx person elected to the Seattle City Council. Jesse holds a Master of Social Work from the nation's top ranked social work school at the University of Washington, and earned a Bachelor of Sociology from Georgia State University, which grounded his work with an intersectional lens for social justice.
Originally from the South, Jesse previously resided in Georgia where he was an active community organizer advancing anti-poverty, LGBTQ, feminist, and anti-racist work. This leadership earned Jesse recognition as on the top 50 civil rights leaders for LGBTQ justice alongside President Jimmy Carter and Congressman John Lewis by an Atlanta publication in 2014. To the Public Defender Association, Jesse brings a passion for moving beyond short-gap criminal justice reform, implementing equitable approaches to public health, advancing racial equity and anti-poverty work and addressing unsheltered homelessness with evidence-based approaches. He also enjoys exploring what the Pacific Northwest has to offer with his "Frenchton" dog named Petunia.