Kim Kardashian, Meek Mill and The Sentence director Rudy Valdez will be among the speakers at the upcoming Criminal Justice Reform Summit co-hosted by Rolling Stone and Variety. The event, featuring a keynote address and conversation with activist Van Jones, will take place November 14th at Los Angeles’ Jeremy Hotel.
The summit aims to join together the entertainment, philanthropic, advocacy and policymaking communities and harness the power of entertainment to drive criminal justice reform. It will feature panel discussions about the importance of sharing the stories of former inmates, the ways in which active philanthropy inspires criminal justice reform, what policymakers are doing to reshape the system and the challenges attributed to reentering society post-incarceration.
Other speakers and panelists include actress Allison Williams, Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin, Innocence Project board member and Lava Records CEO Jason Flom, journalist Bill Keller, hip-hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy, film producer and Anti-Recidivism Coalition founder Scott Budnick and more.
“Not only do we face a mass incarceration problem in the United States, but almost 60 percent of inmates currently in prison or jail are racial and ethnic minorities,” said Jones, who is also the co-founder of Dream Corps, an organization that operates the #cut50 initiative to decrease crime and incarceration in all 50 states. “Uncovering the roots of this national issue and creating a diverse advocacy community is a huge step toward generating legitimate policy change.”
Kardashian has visited President Trump in the White House twice this year, first to lobby for the early release of Alice Marie Johnson, a first-time nonviolent drug offender who served 21 years of her life sentence, as well as discuss prison reform.
Meek Mill has witnessed firsthand the need for prison reform, and has focused his efforts on bringing change to the criminal justice system since his release.
“Criminal justice reform has been a key issue for Rolling Stone since the magazine’s early days,” Jason Fine, editor of Rolling Stone, said in a statement. “In recent years we’ve extensively covered the disastrous effects of the U.S. drug war both abroad and at home, and the human cost of locking up hundreds of thousands of minor drug offenders – gutting communities and tearing apart multiple generations of families. Recently we’ve looked at the out-of-control private prison system, how tainted evidence can lead to countless wrongful convictions, and what happens when a vindictive judge uses the parole system to keep one of hip-hop’s biggest stars in jail. We believe that a national effort to bring about criminal justice reform is one of the most important issues of our time.”
“As leading national publications, Variety and Rolling Stone are responsible for using their platforms to shed light on the need for criminal justice reform,” Claudia Eller, co-editor-in-chief of Variety, said in a statement. “We are excited to create a space for entertainers to use theirs to educate the public about such a complex nationwide issue alongside philanthropists, activists and politicians to reshape the current system.”
Organizations like the Coalition for Public Safety, the Justice Action Network, #cut50, the Margaret and Daniel Loeb Foundation and ARC will also take part in hosting the event.