Metro Weekly

FreeState Justice announces new leadership team

Mark Procopio will serve as executive director, and Jennifer Kent as managing attorney

Mark Procopio and Jennifer Kent – Photos: Facebook.

FreeState Justice, Maryland’s legal services firm for LGBTQ residents, has announced the addition of two leaders to help head the organization.

In a press release, FreeState Justice announced that Mark Procopio will become the organization’s new executive director and Jennifer Kent will manage the firm’s legal and policy advocacy efforts as Managing Attorney.

Procopio previously served as interim director of operations for the KIPP Baltimore charter school network, where he led fundraising, community organizing, and advocacy efforts, as well as marketing and communications. He also worked as a former sixth grade science and social studies teacher during stints with AmeriCorps and Teach for America. 

“Justice for LGBTQ Marylanders is not achieved until every member of our community is able to live with dignity and safety, everywhere in our state,” Procopio said in a statement. “The community of advocates and allies that is FreeState Justice is ready for that work, and I am humbled to join.”

Kent, a former volunteer with FreeState Justice, has gained years of experience as a lawyer, litigating on behalf of victims of terrorism and civil rights abuses. Last year, Kent co-authored an amicus brief on behalf of a national transgender advocacy organization in the Conover v. Conover case last year, which established the parental rights of non-biological parents in same-sex relationships.

“I’m honored to fight for LGBTQ Marylander across the state,” Kent said in a statement. “In the face of the attacks on the LGBTQ community at the federal level, our team will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that our state protections are enforced and policies are inclusive here in Maryland. I am eager to lead those efforts as FreeState’s Managing Attorney.”

Jessica Weber, president of FreeState Justice’s Board of Directors, praised the choice of Procopio and Kent to lead the organization.

“Mark’s outstanding experience and track record of success in development and management, combined with his background working with Baltimore City youth from low-income backgrounds, will be a great asset to LGBTQ Marylanders as he takes the helm of this organization at such a critical time in our history,” Weber said in a statement.

Weber also praised Kent’s experience and advocacy on behalf of victims of serious injustices, saying she would “enhance our ability to fight tenaciously on behalf LGBTQ Marylanders most at risk of discrimination.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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