Preston D. Mitchum, J.D., LL.M.
Policy Research Analyst, Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), Washington, DC
Preston Mitchum is a Black and queer civil rights advocate, writer, and public speaker who uses critical thinking and intersectionality in his writing and analyses. His research and policy interests include the intersection of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, poverty, gender, and health.
Preston attended Kent State University where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, in Political Science, with a concentration in Public Policy. He then followed that by pursuing his Juris Doctor from North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham, North Carolina. In 2010, he was elected president of the Student Bar Association (SBA), and in 2011, graduated cum laude. During law school, he published two law review articles: “Gene Patents and Informed Consent: The Mythical Reasonable Person Standard” and “A Robust Conception of Speech: Hate Speech and the First Amendment.” In addition, Preston was on the law school’s Moot Court Board, where he competed in national oral and written advocacy competitions. He was also a staff editor for the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Law Review (BPLR). His leadership experience and love for NCCU positioned him to be the recipient of the Dean’s Leadership Award.
In the fall of 2011, Preston enrolled in American University Washington College of Law for his Master’s of Law degree in Law and Government, with a concentration in constitutional law and civil rights, along with a specialization in gender and law. During his LL.M. tenure, he researched, wrote, and published three law review articles: “Screaming to be Heard: Black Feminism and the Fight for A Voice From the 1950s to the 1970s”, Homophobia as a Public Health Hazard: Gender Identities, Sexual Orientation, and the Human Right to Health”, and “Slapping the Hand of Cultural Relativism: Female Genital Mutilation, Male Dominance, and Health as a Human Rights Framework.” He also received the Student Leadership Award, which is awarded to one student in the LLM program each academic year.
Most recently, Preston was the Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable S. Pamela Gray and the Honorable Errol R. Arthur, where he received first-hand experience on the abuse and neglect system in the District of Columbia. During his tenure as a law clerk, he researched, wrote, and analyzed policy and law by attending hearings and then drafting Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law—with approval of judges—to ensure that at-risk children have safe homes, a meaningful education, and a healthy mind and body.
Previously, Preston served as a Policy Analyst and Consultant for the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress (CAP). Specifically, he worked on the team’s Fighting Injustice to Reach Equality (FIRE) Initiative, examining how public policy impacts LGBT people of color. While there, he published over 15 columns on workplace discrimination, health, the school-to-prison pipeline, and social commentary on hot-button issues. In 2014, he co-authored “Beyond Bullying: How Hostile School Climate Perpetuates the School-to-Prison Pipeline for LGBT Youth” and discussed the findings on Huffington Post Live.
Currently, Preston is the Policy Research Analyst at the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), where he advocates for comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls in U.S. foreign assistance—including HIV/AIDS, maternal health, family planning, and access to safe abortions. He is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies teaching Advanced Legal Research and Writing.
Preston has written for many media outlets, including for The Root, theGrio, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, Ebony.com, and Think Progress where he gives social and political commentary on today’s hot-button issues. In addition, Preston served on the Coordinating Council of the Black Youth Project (BYP100) DC Chapter as the Policy co-chair. In this role, he analyzed how policies in the nation’s capital impact Black youth and what proposals can be created to help youth survive and thrive across the nation’s capital. Preston was elected to serve as Chair-Elect of the Washington Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division (WBAYLD) for the 2016-2017 bar year and was selected as one of its Young Lawyers of the Year for 2016.
In the near future, he wants to be known as an intersectional thought-leader who fights for the rights of marginalized groups and who uses intersectionality as more than a political buzzword, but as a practical application to lived experiences.
For more information, please visit www.prestonmitchum.com.