On Monday, October 28, there will be a Democratic presidential town hall hosted by formerly incarcerated people. Organized by Voters Organized to Educate and held at Eastern State Penitentiary, an Art for Justice Fund grantee partner, Justice Votes 2020: A Presidential Town Hall will have an audience consisting exclusively of formerly incarcerated people, their families and other people affected by the criminal justice system.
Justice Votes 2020 will be a groundbreaking town hall. While other candidate forums have included the voices of incarcerated people, such as the debate at the Suffolk County House of Correction in Massachusetts, held during the 2018 Suffolk County district attorney race, this will be the first-ever presidential candidate forum hosted by formerly incarcerated people. It will focus on putting the voices, insights and leadership of formerly incarcerated people at the forefront of discussions on mass incarceration and supervision.
According to The Appeal, “Vivian Nixon, of Fund grantee partner College & Community Fellowship, said the organizers recognize the need to focus ‘not just about the sheer numbers, but who is damaged by this trend and why.’”
Nixon, who is a member of the Voters Organized to Educate Advisory Board, will serve as a moderator for Justice Votes 2020. Susan Burton, founder of Fund grantee partner A New Way of Life Reentry Project, and Desmond Meade, president of Fund grantee partner Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, also serve on the organization’s Advisory Board.