Advisory Board Member
Sara Totonchi is a transformational leader whose career has focused on human rights and social justice. For more than twenty years, Sara’s advocacy home was the Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR), a public interest law firm that works for equality, dignity, and justice for people impacted by the criminal legal system in the Deep South. Sara joined SCHR in 2001 as the Public Policy Director and became the organization’s executive director in 2010. For 11 years as executive director, Sara led the SCHR team in carrying out its mission to end the death penalty, mass incarceration, the criminalization of poverty, and racial injustice.
In 2021, Sara was appointed by United State Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to serve as one of the 16 members of their Federal Nominations Advisory Commission. From 2019-2022, Sara has been named annually by Atlanta Magazine as one of the top 500 Most Influential Leaders of Atlanta. In 2017, Sara was selected as a Strengthening Democracy Fellow with the Rockwood Leadership Institute. Sara has been recognized twice as a “Top 40 Under 40,” in 2010 by Georgia Trend Magazine and in 2012 by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. In 2011, Atlanta Magazine named Sara as one of “Five of the Future” and in 2016, one of ten “New Guard” leaders of Atlanta. Georgia Trend annually named Sara a “Notable Person” from 2012 through 2017.
Sara is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Promise of Justice Initiative (Louisiana); Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Re:Power; a Board Member of Motherhood Beyond Bars (Georgia) alumna of Leadership Atlanta (Class of 2012); a past Chairperson of Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty; an Advisor for the Institute to End Mass Incarceration at Harvard Law School, National Institute for Trial Advocacy, the Georgia Chapter of the American Constitution Society, and Good Thinking Atlanta; a member of the Georgia State Bar’s Indigent Defense Committee; serves on the Steering Committees of the International Arab Women’s Solidarity Association and We Demand Safety APS; and volunteers at Historic Oakland Cemetery and is an elected member of the GO Team at Parkside Elementary School.
Sara began her career at the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, an organization that employs a coordinated community response to end intimate partner violence.
Sara and her family immigrated to the United States when she was a child, settling in Chicago. She is a graduate of Berry College in Rome, Georgia.