We are pleased to announce Deep Dive Learning Sessions Race, Gender, and Disability Justice & The Forgotten Ones: Building a State Campaign to End Girls’ Incarceration at In Solidarity We Rise: Healing, Opportunity and Justice for Girls, October 11-13, 2017.

Join us at In Solidarity and learn about advocacy, and voices of disabled girls, women, and nonbinary young folks with Rebecca Cokley and Lydia X. Z. Brown and generate strategies to launch a successful state campaign to end girls’ incarceration with Andrea McChristian and Retha Onitiri.

Race, Gender, and Disability Justice.

This deep dive session will focus on the experiences, advocacy, and voices of disabled girls, women, and nonbinary young folks. The discussion will address how folks define disability justice, what it looks like in public, why an intersectional lens is critical, and how non-disabled folks can show up in solidarity.

Rebecca Cokley, most recently served as the Executive Director of the National Council on Disability, an independent agency charged with advising Congress and the White House on issues of national disability public policy. She joined NCD in 2013 after serving 4 years in the Obama Administration including time at the Departments of Education, Health & Human Services, and a successful stint at the White House where she oversaw diversity and inclusion efforts. Currently she is consulting with civil rights organizations and working on her first book, but Rebecca got her feet wet in advocacy while working at the Institute for Educational Leadership for five years (04-09), building a number of tools and resources designed to empower and educate youth with disabilities and their adult allies. She has spent the last 15 years helping make stronger and deeper connections across civil rights communities and continues to see cross-movement solidarity as the only means of surviving these next four years. In 2015 she was inducted into the inaugural class of the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame and was the recipient of the Frank Harkin Memorial Award by the National Council on Independent Living. Rebecca has a B.A in Politics from the University of California Santa Cruz, is the proud spouse of Patrick and mother of Jackson and Kaya.

Lydia X. Z. Brown, is an advocate, organizer, and writer whose work has focused on violence against disabled people in schools, institutions, prisons, and by police. They have especially worked to support disabled people at many margins, including people of color with disabilities and LGBTQ+ people with disabilities. They have worked to transform systems and change the culture through community organizing, public speaking and peer training, policy advocacy, and challenging status quo. Lydia is the lead editor along with Morénike Giwa Onaiwu and E. Ashkenazy of All the Weight of Our Dreams, the first-ever anthology by autistic people of color. Lydia is a Visiting Lecturer at Tufts University, where they designed and teach a course on disability and intersectional social movements. They are also a founding board member of the Alliance for Citizen-Directed Supports, which advocates for all people with disabilities to have full community integration and control over their services. They are part of the Autism Women’s Network board and the National Disability Leadership Alliance’s task force on racism in disability advocacy. Additionally, Lydia served as Chairperson of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council from 2015 to 2017. Lydia has been honored by the White House, Washington Peace Center, National Council on Independent Living, and Disability Policy Consortium. Their work has been featured in numerous community, academic, and news media, and they blog at Autistic Hoya.


The Forgotten Ones: Building a State Campaign to End Girls’ Incarceration.

Nationwide, girls continue to be incarcerated in large, faraway youth prisons that ignore best practices and rehabilitative principles. By contrast, community-based programs work for our girls. In this Deep Dive Session, participants will generate strategies to launch a successful state campaign to end girls’ incarceration. Using the state of New Jersey as a primary example, participants will use statistics, advocacy approaches, and other methods to develop messaging that can be replicated to end girls’ incarceration in their own home states.

Andrea McChristian, Associate Counsel, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, has written extensively on youth prisons, and authored The Forgotten Ones: New Jersey’s Locked Up Girls, on the history of the only prison for girls in New Jersey. She will be releasing an in-depth report on girls in prison this fall as a follow-up to her groundbreaking report on the juvenile justice system in New Jersey, Bring Our Children Home: Ain’t I A Child. Before joining the Institute, Andrea served as a litigation associate at the New York office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (“Fried Frank”).  During her time at Fried Frank, Andrea worked on complex commercial litigation and pro bono cases. Andrea is a 2008 graduate of Yale University, graduating with distinction in the major of Political Science. At Yale, Andrea served as co-President of the Yale NAACP, co-reactivating the chapter after a years-long absence from campus. After graduation, Andrea joined Teach for America, teaching Head Start for two years in the Las Vegas Valley. Andrea then attended Columbia Law School where she participated in the Challenging the Consequences of Mass Incarceration Clinic, interned in Auckland, New Zealand as part of the law school’s Human Rights Internship Program, and interned at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. After graduating from Columbia Law School in 2013 as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Andrea clerked for Chief Judge Petrese B. Tucker of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Retha Onitiri is the Juvenile Justice Campaign Manager at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. The campaign, called 150 Years is Enough, seeks to transform New Jersey’s youth incarceration system into a community-based system of care by closing two youth prisons—the New Jersey Training School for Boys (Jamesburg) and the Female Secure Care and Intake Facility (Hayes)—and investing in community-based programs. Retha also leads New Jersey Communities Forward (NJCF), an Initiative focused on building a coalition for change on issues of criminal justice, economic mobility, and civic engagement. NJCF is the community outreach arm of NJISJ established to develop local leadership teams in major cities across New Jersey, host community forums, and identify issues and community-based solutions. Prior to joining NJISJ, Retha worked in the private sector and was responsible for Readiness Project Management of complex telecommunications High Leverage Networks and Services, Training and Skills Development projects for a Software Integration organization, and Supply Chain North American Operations for Internet Protocol (IP) Platform products at Alcatel-Lucent. Retha is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and has a Masters of Science Degree in Management from Stevens Institute of Technology.


Registration is Open!

Join us for three days of Learning, Strategizing, Connecting and Creating through: Full-day Pre-Conference Intensives; Front Porch Conversations; A Call to Solidarity Strategy Sessions; Deep Dive Learning Opportunities; Innovation in Motion Sessions, and visit our, Un-Exhibit Hall and Self-Care Room.

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Rise In Solidarity Together.

Change Maker, Trail Blazer, Champion, Innovator, Advocate, Ally – which are you? Support the advancement of healing, opportunity and justice for girls and young women by sponsoring the In Solidarity conference.

If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, contact Holly Weems-Ladd at Holly@NationalCrittenton.org or, 503.297.2217.

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