Workshop: Pressure Points: How Communities Are Organizing to Push Criminal Justice Reforms

Police-Community Relations Track:

Location: Hilton Denver City Center
1701 California Street, Denver, CO 80202
Date: Friday, June 22, 2018
Time: 9:45am – 11:00am Workshop Block 1
Room: Penrose 2


Sonya Joseph, Brooklyn & Queen’s community organizer for Faith in New York. She was Born in Toronto and raised in east New York by parents of Caribbean decent. At an early age, Sonya has developed a deep devotion to developing solutions to address racial inequality through politics, law and civil rights advocacy. It is her life’s mission to empower disenfranchised communities of color and to combat systems of racial inequality. She is an Alumna of Brooklyn College, where she received her Bachelors in Political Science and Africana Studies in 2016. Sonya was first to exposed to organizing through a deep commitment to civic engagement and local politics. In 2011 she interned at the district office with NYC Council Member Jumaane Williams in 2011 & in 2012 took on the Senior Intern position and managed 6 interns at the City Hall Office. Upon graduation, Sonya completed over 1700 hours of service with National Americorps Organization, Public Allies; in supplement to an apprenticeship with the Center for Neighborhood Leadership, where she worked as a Tenants Rights Organizer in effort to combat gentrification in Brooklyn. Sonya most recently has served as Deputy Campaign Manager on a NYC Council Candidate’s campaign in 2017. Sonya is now the Brooklyn & Queen’s community organizer for Faith In New York, A PICO National affiliate and LIVE FREE representative. Her work is focused on centering directly impacted people, empowering and educating new leaders and building community amongst all faith traditions.

Christie Donner, Director, Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition.

Christie Donner is CCJRC’s Executive Director and founder. Since 1995, she has been working in criminal justice reform advocacy, community organizing, policy research, and lobbying. Christie co-authored Parenting from Prison: A Resource Guide for Incarcerated Parents in Colorado. She is also the project lead for CCJRC’s publication Getting On After Getting Out: A Re-Entry Guide for Colorado. She represents Colorado on the executive committee of the National Network for Justice. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Colorado, Boulder.


Pressure Points: How Communities Are Organizing to Push Criminal Justice Reforms:

While communities organize to improve community and police relations, they still seek more changes.  From the courthouse to the legislative halls, community activists are finding pressure points to push criminal justice reform. In New York City, activists are working with faith communities to increase their knowledge about the influence of district attorneys on punishment and to vote their values at the ballot box. In Colorado, community leaders have worked with government to reform sentencing, reduce recidivism, confront racial disparity in the criminal justice system, and pioneer a new approach to public safety that is funding community-based prevention/intervention efforts. Learn what strategies can be used in your communities to reform the criminal justice system.


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