Continuing the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office commitment of public service and civic leadership, two staff members were recently accepted to competitive and prestigious leadership programs that will allow them to further the important work they do on behalf of the people of Suffolk County every day.
Chief of SCDAO’s Victim Witness Assistance Program Charlene Luma is a member of the current LeadBoston cohort, while Assistant District Attorney Erin Knight of the office’s Appeals Unit has been accepted to the Boston Bar Association’s Public Interest Leadership Program.
“I’m incredibly proud of Charlene Luma and Erin Knight. Both have displayed a deep dedication to serving the individuals and communities who rely on our office. They are each highly skilled and committed to using their roles to create meaningful change,” District Attorney Rachael Rollins said. “Leadership is integral to the work every member of a prosecutor’s office performs, both in court and in the community. It is our duty not simply to secure convictions for out victims and survivors of crimes, but to also ensure that fairness, integrity and justice are centered in all of our decisions and work with an eye always toward healing. We do not follow along with the status quo. We are required to make difficult decisions and to stand up for what is right, even if it is not popular.”
Ms. Luma, a licensed independent clinical social worker, joined SCDAO in 2019 to lead the office’s Victim Witness Assistance Program, which provides services to crime victims, homicide survivors and witnesses of crimes while ensuring they have a voice, are notified about seminal events, and fully understand the legal process involving their case as it moves though the criminal legal system. Under Ms. Luma’s leadership, the program has an enhanced focus on trauma-informed practices and introduced the first Masters of Social Work internship program at any Massachusetts prosecutor’s office. Ms. Luma previously worked as Program Director of the Justice Resource Institute’s Boston Trauma Response and SMART Team Boston. She is currently participating in YW Boston’s LeadBoston program for mid- and senior-level professionals. The 11-month program is designed to equip participants with the skills, knowledge and connections necessary to build more diverse and equitable organizations.
Past graduates of the LeadBoston program include SCDAO’s Chief of Staff Amanda Teo and Director of Restorative Justice Practices Kara Hayes.
Since joining SCDAO in 2018, ADA Knight has served as a member of District Attorney Rollins’ Appeals Unit, which focuses primarily on post-conviction matters before the Massachusetts Appeals Court and Supreme Judicial Court. She previously served in the Appeals Unit of the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office and as a clerk for Associate Justice William J. Meade of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. As a member of the 2020-2021 Public Interest Leadership Program, ADA Knight has the opportunity to connect with program alum and with fellow attorneys whose focus lies in public service. The program provides attorneys with up to 10 years of experience with opportunities to learn to effectively lead organizations and take active roles in the communities they are a part of. “The opportunity to lift up leaders in business, law and public service ensures a stronger community for all of us. Programs such as LeadBoston and the Public Interest Leadership Program are key to ensuring that professionals, and particularly women and people of color who continue to be underrepresented in leadership roles, have the opportunity to grow and develop,” District Attorney Rollins said. “This week, we saw a glass ceiling break in the highest levels of American government. I look forward to seeing what the next generation of diverse leaders accomplishes. Congratulations to Charlene and Erin. Bravo.”