Kimberly Westcott is a Senior Program Officer in Criminal Justice Grantmaking with the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, where her work focuses on promoting thriving Black and brown communities through community-led health and lived-experience-centered restorative initiatives that transform punitive systems.
Formerly Associate Counsel at the Community Service Society (CSS), a 175-year-old anti-poverty organization, and a labor and employment attorney with the New York City Transit Authority, Dr. Westcott has worked to remove barriers to employment impacting the formerly incarcerated and to create living wage career pathways that resource communities of color. At CSS, Dr. Westcott’s cultural organizing led to her founding and producing the Full Participation Is a Human Right Conference and Arts Festival (2018-2020) and the intersectional conversation series The Color Line in the 21st Century.
Dr. Westcott’s academic interests include social welfare and disrupting the process of racialization, criminalization, and exclusion. She aims to build power with groups and communities of color by advancing health and full political, economic, and social participation in accord with human rights norms. She explored these topics in her doctoral thesis, Fictive Citizenship: A Genealogy of the Social Construction of the Black Male and the Penal Process in the U.S., 1790-1930.
Dr. Westcott holds a BA in history from Yale, an MSW from the Columbia School of Social Work, and a PhD in Social Welfare Policy from Columbia. She is a graduate of Rutgers University School of Law– Newark. Dr. Westcott developed and teaches CSSW’s course “Race, Representation, Criminalization and Exclusion: Black Americans in the United States Criminal Punishment System”; writes opinion pieces on race and social justice;, and has published several articles that advance a life-course-development/human rights approach to changing the punishment paradigm, including “Race, Criminalization and Historical Trauma in the United States: Making the Case for a New Justice Framework,” Traumatology 21(4), 273-284 (2015).