During the weekend of October 5 through the 7, Center of Hope sponsored Healing Communities Weekend.
The event is designed to bring awareness to the problem of mass incarceration of people of color. It also mobilizes the faith based, community partners to develop and implement responsive initiatives to serve returning citizens and their families, as well as advocate for improved criminal justice policies at the legislative level.
On Friday, Center of Hope sponsored a Healing Communities workshop, which was led by Dr. Harold Dean Trulear. Dr. Trulear is an ordained American Baptist Minister who serves as Associate Professor of Applied Theology at Howard University. Further, he’s the director of the Healing Communities Prison Ministry and Prison Reentry Project of the Philadelphia Leadership Foundation.
The event concluded on Sunday with a worship service designed to facilitate healing, spiritual renewal, and hope for the future. Dr. Trulear was the morning speaker who spoke about the trauma and grief that returning citizens and their families face. “People will become mobilized to advocate for change when they acknowledge that the problem affects them personally,” he said.
The program concluded with fostering hope through acknowledging individuals who have championed re-entry community engagement service provision, criminal justice policy, and research. Those individuals were Willie Knighten Jr, for his work in behavioral health as a mentor and re-entry support specialist. Mr. Knighten also spent 13 years in prison before being exonerated by former Ohio Governor, Ted Strickland. Johnetta McCollough, executive director of Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities, TASC. She was recognized for her leadership in providing effective intervention services to high risk adult and juvenile offenders. Amy Priest, director of programs and services for the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas County. She was recognized for spending half her life helping those individuals involved in the criminal justice system. Carol Contrada, Lucas County Commissioner was recognized for helping the county secure $1.75 million from the John D and Catherine T. McArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge to reduce the jail population at the county level, while addressing racial and ethnic disparities. Judge Denise Navarre Cubbon was recognized for her work with the Annie E. Casey Foundation to reduce disparities for out of home placements among youth of color. Dr. Donald L. Perryman received the Criminal Justice Research Award for his dissertation on “The Role of the Black Church in Addressing the Collateral Damage of Mass Incarceration.” The work synthesizes the myriad of practical interventions that churches can utilize to impact the current and formerly incarcerated, their families, the surrounding communities, systems, and legislation.