In November 2013, Melissa Fitzgerald joined Justice For Vets, a division of National Association of Drug Court Professionals as its new Senior Director. As an actor, Melissa is best known for her seven-year role as Carol on the television series The West Wing, but off-screen she is widely recognized as a courageous advocate for people in need. Melissa is co-founder of Voices in Harmony, a non-profit mentoring organization that uses theater to work with underserved teens in Los Angeles. In 2007, Melissa traveled to war-torn Northern Uganda to bring the Voices in Harmony theater program to former abducted child soldiers and other teenagers affected by the region’s brutal rebel war. The Voices in Harmony program in Northern Uganda resulted in the award winning film After Kony: Staging Hope. The experience opened her eyes to the lingering impact of war.
In 2011, Melissa co-executive produced Halfway Home, a documentary featuring Vietnam War veteran and former U.S. Senator Max Cleland and Silver Star recipient and Iraq War veteran, Sgt. Tommy Rieman joining other veterans in recounting their experience in war and their struggle to reintegrate and recover upon returning home. “Although most veterans are strengthened by their military service, my experience working on Halfway Home personalized the struggle of many veterans who are having difficulty reintegrating. I have followed the development of Veterans Treatment Courts closely and know that there is no better way for me to be of service to veterans than by devoting myself to the expansion of these life-saving programs,” said Melissa. “I am deeply honored and grateful to have the opportunity to be part of Justice For Vets, an organization that is having such a profound impact on the lives of veterans and their families.”
Melissa holds a B.A. in Literature from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been a guest lecturer at Universities all over the country, and has written pieces published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post, in addition to the book The Enough Moment by John Prendergast and Don Cheadle. Since accepting her position, Melissa has made numerous media appearances on behalf of Justice For Vets including Hardball with Chris Matthews,, Morning Joe and CBS Sunday Morning.