Special to The Dallas Examiner
In partnership with State Rep. Carl Sherman, Cedar Valley College will host the Hope Summit Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The summit is a groundbreaking overview of the present state and future plan for prison and criminal justice reform, with the added purpose of offering hope, resources and restoration to formerly incarcerated returning citizens.
“It was a natural fit for Cedar Valley College and Dallas County Community College District to be involved with the Hope Summit because of our history in providing education at area correctional facilities,” said Dr. Joe Seabrooks, president of CVC.
Speakers will include Richard Miles, the 2019 recipient of the CNN Heroes Award who was exonerated for a crime he didn’t commit, will be a guest speaker, and Judge Tammy Kemp of the 204th District Court, who presided over the Amber Guyger trial.
Other participants include Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, Texas Workforce Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez III, community advocate and author Letitia Scott-Jackson, and local pastors George Mason and Dr. Rickie Rush.
The event will include four breakout sessions on topics ranging from career pathways and life behind prison walls to justice reinvestment and sentencing disparity. Employers will be on hand to discuss employment opportunities for returning citizens.
“I am fervent about the Hope Summit and consider this to be an important step in asking questions and finding meaningful solutions to our state’s – and perhaps the nation’s – future of criminal justice reform,” Sherman said.
The purpose of the summit is to bring together community leaders, elected officials and other influencers to form a plan of action to better meet the challenges in criminal justice and a swelling prison system.
Other guest speakers include: Christina Melton Crain, former chair of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice; Doug Smith, senior policy analyst with the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition; State Rep. James White, who chairs the House Committee on Corrections; Lauren Johnson, the criminal justice outreach coordinator for the ACLU of Texas; Todd Williams, CEO of The Commit Partnership; Dr. Teresa May, director of the Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department; Bryan Kelley, CEO of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program; and reform advocate Dawn Freeman.
The summit will kick off in Building E in the Performance Hall at Cedar Valley. To register, search Eventbrite or follow: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hope-summit-tickets-80503047783. The event is free, but tickets are limited.