Under the Public Will and Communication Subcommittee, Race Matters for Juvenile Justice puts on a regional conference every other year.
On October 21, 2015, RMJJ held its first full-day conference at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Charlotte, NC, with the theme of “The Science of Fairness: Exploring Implicit Bias.” Three hundred and thirty-four individuals representing various institutions including: The Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Mecklenburg County Courts, The Council for Children Rights, Guardian-ad-Litem and University of North Carolina Charlotte and leaders from throughout the region, attended.
These conference participants gained:
- A clear definition of implicit bias and an understanding of its impact on racial, social and economic disparities;
- Awareness of disparities and disproportionalities within and across systems including child welfare, education, and criminal justice;
- Increased cultural competency through an understanding of implicit bias;
- Tools to assess their organizations and systems as well as techniques for interrupting implicit bias;
- Knowledge of the work of Race Matters for Juvenile Justice both locally and as it relates to national priorities;
- Opportunity to build inter-agency collaboration and shared responsibility for addressing disproportionalities and disparity.
The 2015 Conference keynote speaker was Dr. Rita Cameron-Wedding. Dr. Cameron-Wedding chairs the department of Women’s and Ethnic Studies at Sacramento State University (CSUS). Dr. Cameron Wedding’s curriculum Implicit Bias: Impact on Decision-Making, has been used to train judges, public defenders, practitioners in child welfare, and juvenile justice, law enforcement and educators in jurisdictions throughout the country since 2005. As a faculty for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), she has trained judges at court improvement initiatives in over 40 states and she has contributed to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
Please save the date for RMJJ’s next conference – October 2017!
Derrik Anderson, ForeSight Leadership Training Institute