August 13, 2020 — Milwaukee, Wisconsin — JustLeadershipUSA, the organization that empowers people most affected by incarceration to drive policy reform, and the #JustUs Campaign will present Rebuilding the Table, two days of engaging virtual programming to accompany the 2020 Democratic National Convention. For the first time, a leading criminal justice reform organization will create proximity and opportunity for the DNC, democratic officials, and Vice President Biden’s campaign to hear directly from the people whose lives are most affected by our country’s criminal legal system. They will offer up their support, ideas, community needs, and partnership to the Democrats, to the Biden campaign, and to the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force on criminal justice reform.
The event, hosted by writer, artist, and comedian Baratunde Thurston, will include an exclusive armchair conversation with actor and activist Michael K. Williams from The Wire and When They See Us and award-winning poet and memorist, Dwayne Betts, and the event will close with a special performance from musician John Forte of his new protest song about the killing of George Floyd, “Shame Shame.” On day 2, as part of the DNC official daytime programming calendar, Rebuilding the Table will offer up a must-see panel that illustrates the ways in which the collision of the coronavirus pandemic and the epidemic of mass incarceration have laid bare the failures of the criminal legal system. Formerly incarcerated leaders including DeAnna Hoskins of JustLeadershipUSA and Vivian Nixon of College and Community Fellowship will lead a panel to discuss the power of advocacy by those directly impacted with members of the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force including Representative Bobby Scott (VA-03), former head of the U.S. Department of Justice under the Obama administration Vanita Gupta, and moderated by Josie Duffy Rice of The Appeal.
Register for the event at justusdnc.com.
Please see the list below of all program participants + their social handles.
Throughout the two days of programming, formerly incarcerated leaders, elected officials, entertainers, storytellers, and policy makers will come together to discuss the painful legacies of racism and mass incarceration in America, while illustrating how we can effectively rebuild the criminal justice system so that it works for communities, families, our society, and those individuals who are currently incarcerated.
WHERE: Virtually at https://justusdnc.com
WHEN: Monday, August 17 from 5:00pm EDT to 6:30pm EDT
Tuesday, August 18 from 5:00pm EDT to 6:30pm EDT
RSVP: Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org for additional details, to pre-schedule media access to speakers and/or with any interview requests.
VISUALS: In conjunction with Rebuilding the Table, in Milwaukee, WI the planned location for the 2020 DNC, and in other key swing states, JustLeadershipUSA has commissioned custom billboards designed in collaboration with James “YaYa” Hough, a formerly incarcerated artist from Pittsburgh, PA who at age 17 was issued a mandatory life without parole sentence and then released last year after serving 23 years. The billboard campaign aims to draw attention to those incarcerated during the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and urges people to take action by signing JustLeadershipUSA’s petition to elected officials to act immediately on emergency management legislation that will protect incarcerated people’s lives. BILLBOARD SELECT IMAGES FOR PRESS DOWNLOAD: CLICK HERE
PROGRAMMING SCHEDULE & MEDIA ACCESS DETAILS
Monday, August 17, 2020
Kicking off day 1, attendees will hear the powerful, poignant human stories of those who have been incarcerated and conversations about the pain of mass incarceration and its legacy of racism, through a historical lens.
5:00pm EDT Host Baratunde Thurston welcome & remarks from Jimmie Gardner, a former professional athlete and pitcher drafted by the Chicago Cubs, who was wrongfully convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and imprisoned for 27 years.
5:10pm EDT Armchair conversation between actor & activist Michael K. Williams and award-winning formerly incarcerated poet Dwayne Betts. A discussion on how we have seen during the continuing pandemic that the most vulnerable populations, the people who are currently incarcerated in facilities across the country, have been treated as if they are unworthy of health, if not life itself, within the trappings of jails, prisons and detention centers.
5:45pm EDT Performance from The Peculiar Patriot by Liza Jessie Peterson
5:50pm EDT Armchair conversation between Susan Burton, DeAnna Hoskins, and Paola Mendoza. With more than one million women behind bars or under the control of the criminal justice system, the United States is one of the top incarcerators of women in the world. Black women represent 30% of all incarcerated women in the U.S, although they represent 13% of the female population generally. DeAnna Hoskins is President and CEO of JustLeadershipUSA. DeAnna formerly served at the Department of Justice during the Obama Administration where she served as a Senior Policy Advisor providing national leadership on criminal justice policy, training,and technical assistance and information on best and promising practices. Suan Burton is an advocate for formerly incarcerated women and the Founder of the organization A New Way of Life, which the New York Times recently called “a pioneering network of shelter and support programs for vulnerable women coming out of prison that some have likened to a modern-day underground railroad.” The conversation will be moderated by author and filmmaker Paola Mendoza.
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
On day 2, Rebuilding the Table will offer up a must-see panel that illustrates the ways in which the collision of the coronavirus pandemic and the epidemic of mass incarceration have laid bare the failures of the criminal legal system. Formerly incarcerated leaders will lead a panel to discuss the power of advocacy by those directly impacted with members of the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force.
5:00pm EDT DNC partner official programming: A conversation with DeAnna Hoskins, Vivian Nixon, Vanita Gupta, and Representative Bobby Scott (VA-03), moderated by Josie Duffy Rice of The Appeal.
DeAnna Hoskins: President and CEO of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), an organization dedicated to decarcerating the United States by educating, elevating and empowering the people and communities most impacted by systemic racism to drive policy reform.
Vivian Nixon: Executive Director of College and Community Fellowship (CCF), an organization committed to removing individual and structural barriers to higher education for women with criminal record histories and their families.
Vanita Gupta: President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States.
Rep. Bobby Scott: Representing Virginia’s third congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1993.
Josie Duffy Rice is a journalist and law school graduate whose work is primarily focused on prosecutors, prisons, and other criminal justice issues. Currently, she is President of The Appeal, a news publication that publishes original journalism about the criminal justice system, and she also co-hosts the podcast Justice in America.
5:55pm EDT Remarks from Norris Henderson, who spent 27 years wrongfully incarcerated at Angola prison, a former slave plantation.
6:05pm EDT Special performance from musician John Forte of his new protest song about the killing of George Floyd, “Shame Shame.” John himself is formerly incarcerated and has been an advocate for criminal justice reform since having his sentence commuted by President George W. Bush.
Full Rebuilding the Table at the DNC Speaker Roster
President & CEO JustLeadershipUSA
|Rep. Bobby Scott
wrongly accused and formerly incarcerated for 20+ years
Executive Director of College & Community Fellowship
wrongly accused and formerly incarcerated for 20+ years
President & CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Writer, activist, and comedian; Host of Rebuilding the Table
|Josie Duffy Rice
President, The Appeal
|Liza Jessie Peterson
Actress, playwright, poet and youth activist
|Michael K. Williams
actor and activist
award-winning poet and memoirist
artist and activist
founder of the SAFE Housing Network