MELODY LEE, CO-FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY & CAMPAIGNS

Melody Lee is co-founder and Director of Strategy & Campaigns for the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice. Katal collaborates with their partners to build powerful, research-based campaigns to dismantle mass incarceration, end the war on drugs, strengthen organizing and movement infrastructure, and advance health, equity, and justice. 

Lee is one of the nation’s leading experts in Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) and was one of the key organizers of the National Convening on LEAD hosted by the White House Domestic Policy Council Office at the White House in 2015. She assists local community stakeholders in developing LEAD programs, working closely with an array of stakeholders ranging from police departments, district attorneys, civil rights organizations, service providers, and business groups.

From 2012-2015, Lee worked at the Drug Policy Alliance, most recently as Policy Coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance’s New York Policy Office. As Policy Coordinator on numerous reform campaigns, she was responsible for intensive project management, creating and facilitating stakeholder partnerships, developing and executing communications strategies, and routinely organizing and coordinating lobbying days with dozens – and sometimes hundreds – of constituents. Lee was a core member of the campaign team that passed New York’s medical marijuana bill, and she played a critical leadership role in the campaign to end NYPD’s racially biased marijuana arrest practice.  

From 2012 – 2014, Lee co-led a unique collaboration between the Drug Policy Alliance and Charlotte Street Films related to THE HOUSE I LIVE IN – the powerful, Sundance award-winning documentary about the war on drugs. As the Impact and Outreach Consultant, she devised strategies to utilize the film as an advocacy tool to leverage local reform efforts and spur public debate about mass incarceration and the war on drugs. In this role, Lee successfully coordinated hundreds of community engagement screenings around the country, assisting community based organizations in using the film as a tool for education and advocacy.  

Lee received a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College with a concentration in public policy and psychology. She lives in Brooklyn and knows where to find really delicious pasta. 

Read more about the Katal Leadership Team.