Islander named Legal Defense Fund scholar

Danielle Hopkins has received a scholarship from the Legal Defense Fund. — Courtesy Ewell Hopkins

The Legal Defense Fund announced that an Islander has been named the recipient of a prestigious scholarship through the Marshall-Motley Scholars Program. Danielle Hopkins was recently announced as one of 10 recipients nationwide.

Launched in January 2021, the fund’s pipeline program will endow the South with the next generation of civil rights lawyers trained to provide legal advocacy in the pursuit of racial justice.

In exchange for a full law school scholarship and professional development, scholars commit to devoting the first eight years of their careers to practicing civil rights law in service of Black communities in the South. 

The program is named in honor of Supreme Court justice, legendary civil rights attorney, and Legal Defense Fund (LDF) founder Thurgood Marshall, and iconic civil rights litigator, former LDF attorney, and the first Black woman to serve as a federal judge, Constance Baker Motley.

The legal fund announced the scholarship on May 1.

Hopkins was raised on the Vineyard. and graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University with a bachelor of arts in American history. After college, she moved to Houston, Texas, to work as a client advocate at the Harris County Public Defender’s Office, an experience that shaped her desire to live in the South and her commitment to the criminal justice system and belief in prison abolition. 

She continues her advocacy and service through her time as a leader for the grassroots organization Social Justice Solutions, better known as the Hoochies of Houston, which is dedicated to the empowerment and protection of Black women and femmes through advocacy. While working in the organization, Hopkins assisted in the planning and execution of the Women’s March, and the March of Mahogany in Houston, and she also organized fundraisers to make and distribute care packages for unhoused people in the greater Houston area.

She plans to provide legal advocacy rooted in abolition to better address the systematic problems brought by racism and socioeconomic inequality in the criminal legal system. 

With her law degree, she plans to advocate for people on both the individual and systemic levels to make systemic changes rooted in an abolitionist lens. 

Hopkins is the daughter of Islanders Kimberly Cartwright and Ewell Hopkins.


  1. So proud of Danielle’s accomplishments. She will make a big difference in so many lives. I know that many MVRHS students are excelling post high school and making positive contributions in the world. Our community must continue to focus our resources on quality education and school experiences for all our students.

  2. What an awesome honor for an outstanding human! Congratulations Danielle. You have given us another reason to be “Proud to be from OB.”

  3. CONGRATULATIONS DANIELLE on you go-OB is proud of you-MARTHAS VINEYARD is part of you

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