Date: September 27, 2015
Location: St. Louis, MO
JLUSA, in partnership with the Smart Decarceration Initiative and Concordance Academy of Leadership, is offering an eight-hour Emerging Leaders Training on Sunday, September 27 at Washington University in St. Louis.
Ron Simpson-Bey’s conviction was overturned in 2012 because of prosecutorial misconduct. But he had already spent twenty-seven years in Michigan’s prison system. He attributes his ability to survive the ordeal to a quote he read that became his personal daily mantra while in prison. During the African slave trade, a Malian king spoke these words to his people to give them strength before the Middle Passage: “I am a vital force among vital forces and I refuse to be the victim of a prearranged destiny.” “I was determined not to be a victim,” Ron says. “Being stigmatized is a two-way street, and if I reject the stigma of imprisonment, it dissolves.” This consciousness helped him survive and emerge with a laser-like focus on social justice.
For Ron, participating in JustLeadershipUSA’s Leading with Conviction training has changed his perspective on leadership. He went into the training with a traditional, top-down concept of leadership, and emerged with the understanding that part of being an effective leader is recognizing and developing new leaders. “This concept really enlightened me. The knowledge and experience are very empowering.” At JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA) we believe that the most compelling advocates of change are those who have been directly affected by incarceration. JLUSA is dedicated to the development of emerging leaders who have some form of former criminal and/or juvenile justice involvement and are committed to systemic reform.