Dieter Cantu is the Program Manager at Harris County Youth Collective and is a former Criminal Justice Organizer at Texas Organizing Project. Dieter founded Cantu’s Books to Incarcerated Youth Project. The purpose of this program is to make a variety of books available to youths housed at various Texas Juvenile Justice Department facilities. The program is now in five states nationwide. He has partnered with multiple universities to collect and distribute books and has created a mentorship and pen pal program that connects children to reentry services.
Dieter founded Position of Power, Inc. in 2010. As a private consultant for juvenile justice reform, he served as liaison to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department and other national non-profit organizations, where he developed a comprehensive public policy platform on proactive criminal justice strategies. He served as a Violence Interrupter and Supervisor for Cure Violence and was an advocate for youth through court testimony and managed gang mediations. Dieter served on President Barack Obama’s 21st Century Police Task Force where he brought forward new ideas that lead to improvements in San Antonio Police Department operations and policy initiatives.
Dieter was awarded his own day on February 13th, 2018 in San Antonio and on October 23rd in Houston for impacting communities across the state through his grassroots leadership and charitable endeavors. In March 2018, he participated in a TED Talk titled, “The Child Who Believed He Could” where he shared his past experiences as a youth in the juvenile system and strategies to reform the current system. He was recognized by Houston Business Journal as a 40 Under 40 Honoree and named an NAACP Millennial Game Changer. He was selected for the Rotary Club U40 program and is currently an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.