Update 12/8/22: The Biden administration has now appealed Judge Sullivan's ruling, backtracking yet again on their promises to protect asylum rights. While the outcome of the litigation is not yet clear, the administration's decision increases the odds that Title 42 will remain in effect past its currently-scheduled end date.

Challenging Injustice, Advancing Human Rights

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.

Cynthia Totten

Secretary

Cynthia Totten is a deputy executive director in the Washington D.C. office of Just Detention International (JDI), a health and human rights organization that works to end sexual abuse in all forms of detention. Totten leads JDI’s national training and technical assistance (TTA) program that provides TTA to state and tribal sexual assault coalitions, victim advocates, corrections officials, and funding administrators across the country, ensuring that incarcerated survivors of sexual abuse have access to crisis services. Additionally, she also leads projects focused on the implementation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) in U.S. corrections facilities.

A lawyer with nearly two decades of experience in human and civil rights work, Totten also advocates to bring basic international human rights standards into U.S. prisons and jails and contributes to JDI’s federal policy. She previously has helped lead JDI’s international initiatives, including in South Africa’s troubled prison system. Prior to joining JDI in 2006, Cynthia was an associate at a civil rights law firm, litigating class action employment discrimination cases.

Totten holds a law degree from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from Wellesley College; she is also an alumna of the Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program. She lives just outside Washington, D.C.