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October 2022

Hilary Rau Joins Laughing Gull Foundation as Program Manager for Higher Education in Prison Program

DURHAM, NC—Today, Laughing Gull Foundation announced that Hilary Rau, JD is joining the organization as Program Manager for the Higher Education in Prison (HEP) Program.


Hilary comes to LGF from the Center for Policing Equity where she spent the last five years researching, developing, and advocating for evidence-based solutions to public safety. In her role as Vice President of Policy and Community Engagement, she led the development of equity-centered approaches to mental health crisis response, K-12 school safety, and traffic safety. Her expansive policy advocacy experience includes engaging officials at the federal, state, and local levels, on top of extensive work partnering with municipalities and law enforcement agencies to improve practices that prevent harm.


“We are thrilled to welcome Hilary to our team. She has a deep understanding of justice; throughout her career, whether fighting for the rights of postpartum and breastfeeding workers or working to infuse racial equity in policing practices, she has led the way on reforms that promote greater fairness and inclusion. We are incredibly excited for Hilary to begin working with our partners, and ensure organizations have the funding, resources, and support needed to build power and make change across the South,” said Dr. LaTonya Penny, Laughing Gull Foundation Chief Executive.


For more than 10 years now, Hilary has used her education and expertise to increase access to resources and ensure fairness in the criminal justice system. As an attorney in private practice, Hilary represented clients who were wronged by unjust systems—denied medical care in police custody, discriminated against at work because of race or disability status, or refused accommodation because of gender, pregnancy, or postpartum status. Since 2017, she has been a leading voice on issues related to racial equity in policing and public safety. Through her writing, advocacy, and local partnerships, Hilary has championed local efforts to build public safety systems that center the humanity of those wronged by unjust and oppressive systems. Hilary’s work has been published in Harvard Business Review, The Huffington Post, and Advocate Magazine.


“I am honored to join Laughing Gull Foundation and guide its work to affirm the humanity, strengths, and potential of currently incarcerated people. I look forward to building strong relationships with partners across the South as we continue to improve college course access in prisons, support students in transition, and reverse the trend of mass incarceration,“ said Rau. 


Hilary received her Bachelor of Arts from Pomona College and her Juris Doctor from UCLA School of Law. She is originally from California but currently lives in NC and is a member of the Chapel Hill Policy Advisory Committee.

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