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The State of Criminal Justice Reform with Lateefah Simon + Lenore Anderson
January 8, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm UTC+0$12
Criminal Justice Reform – it’s an issue that, after years and years of advocacy, is finally making inroads and entering the national consciousness. It’s about time.
– There are roughly 2,000,000 individuals in our prisons and jails
– The US houses about a quarter of the world’s prison population
– 77% of folks leaving state prisons return
– In some States African Americans are 10 times more likely to go to prison than White Americans
– Approximately 17% of trans people in the US have been incarcerated.
We are over imprisoning and imprisoning folks in a discriminatory manner and, given the complex web of state, local, and federal oversight related to criminal justice – how can we make progress on this issue, add the justice back in to criminal justice, and what can the average person do?
To give us a lay of the land we have two expert leaders in the field – Lateefah Simon and Lenore Anderson.
More about them below.
Lateefah Simon – President Akonadi Foundation
Lateefah Simon joined Akonadi Foundation as President in August 2016. As a nationally recognized advocate for civil rights and racial justice, she brings over 20 years of executive experience in advancing opportunities for communities of color and low-income communities in the Bay Area. Prior to joining Akonadi, which seeks to eliminate structural racism that leads to inequity in the United States, Lateefah served as Program Director for the San Francisco-based Rosenberg Foundation, a statewide grantmaker focusing on systemic barriers to full access to equity and opportunity for Californians. Lateefah managed the Foundation’s portfolio of grants supporting groundbreaking advocacy in criminal justice reform, immigrant rights, low-wage workers’ rights, and civic engagement. In 2016, Lateefah helped launch the $2 million Leading Edge Fund, created to seed, incubate, and implement bold ideas from the next generation of progressive movement leaders in California.
Before joining Rosenberg, Lateefah was Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, where she revamped the 40-year-old organization’s structure and launched successful community-based initiatives, including the Second Chance Legal Services Clinic. Lateefah also initiated San Francisco’s first reentry services division and spearheaded the flagship program, Back on Track, under the leadership of then-District Attorney Kamala D. Harris. Back on Track, an advocacy program for young adults charged with low-level felony drug sales, brought recidivism for the population it serves below 10 percent. Lateefah’s passion for supporting low-income young women and girls, and her advocacy for juvenile and criminal justice reform, began at San Francisco’s Center for Young Women’s Development (CYWD), now called the Young Women’s Freedom Center. Lateefah became Executive Director of that grassroots organization, run for and by young women who come through and are affected by these systems, at age 19; she remained in that role for 11 years.
Lateefah has received numerous awards for her work, including the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and the Jefferson Award for extraordinary public service. She was named ‘Most Promising New Foundation President’ by Inside Philanthropy in 2017 and was one of the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s 40 Under 40 in 2016. The California State Assembly named Lateefah Woman of the Year and she has also been recognized by the Ford Foundation, the National Organization for Women, Lifetime Television, and O Magazine. In 2016, Lateefah was elected to serve District 7 on the BART Board of Directors and was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the California State University’s Board of Trustees. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Tipping Point Community.
When not working, Lateefah spends her time enjoying Oakland’s many family-friendly spaces with her two daughters.
Lenore Anderson – President, Alliance for Safety and Justice
Lenore is the founder and President of Alliance for Safety and Justice, and founder and Executive Director of Californians for Safety and Justice. She is an attorney with extensive experience working to improve our criminal justice system. She is a regular commentator in the media about challenges within our prison and justice system and new approaches to smart justice. Lenore was the Campaign Chair and co-author of Proposition 47, a California ballot initiative passed by voters in November 2014 to reduce incarceration and reallocate prison spending to mental health, drug treatment, K-12 programs and victim services. The initiative represents the first time in the nation voters have elected to reclassify multiple sections of the penal code to reduce incarceration and reallocate prison spending to communities. Previously, Lenore served as Chief of Policy and Chief of the Alternative Programs Division at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, where she spearheaded initiatives to reduce recidivism and improve public safety. She also crafted local and state legislation to aid victims of domestic violence, protect violent crime witnesses, reduce elementary school truancy and reduce recidivism. Lenore also previously served as Director of Public Safety for the Oakland Mayor, overseeing the Mayor’s violence-reduction and police recruitment initiatives, and as Director of the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. There she oversaw $10 million in violence-prevention grants, advised the Mayor on public safety matters, and launched a citywide gun buy-back program, Community Policing Task Force and Juvenile Justice Task Force. Lenore serves on the Advisory Board of the Innovations in Prosecution initiative of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She is also a cofounder and served as the inaugural Chair of the Board of the Center for Youth Wellness, an initiative to reduce the health impacts of toxic stress on urban youth. She holds a J.D. from NYU School of Law and a B.A. from UC Berkeley, and lives with her family in Oakland, California.