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She's a Rising Star in Law. Her Motto? 'The Worst They Can Do Is Say No'

Law Fellow, Southern Poverty Law Center

1811_Arienne Jones 02a
As a 2012 alumna of Spelman College, the historically black women’s college in Atlanta, Arienne Jones looks back on her school experience as a time that “elevated” her. “It was a very empowering experience,” she says. “Race and gender were neutralized, so we never felt out of place. We were there based on merit.”

Jones grew up in Mobile, Ala., and had not traveled much until college when she participated in a study abroad trip to Granada, Spain. She later returned to Spain for a year to work as an English teaching assistant with the U.S. Fulbright Program. In law school at Tulane University, Jones worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Orleans, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center. In 2018, she completed a one-year clerkship with a federal court in Alabama.

Now, she is back with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Miami team working as a law fellow. Jones says she is grateful for the great opportunities she “stumbles” onto. “I just kind of throw my hat in and say, ‘The worst they can do is say no,’” she says. “It’s just random experiences that have amounted to a very interesting life so far.”

Read about the Women in Government program and the rest of the honorees.

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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