2023 Social Justice Assembly

Locked Out: Concepts of Criminality and Housing Security In Our Community

Credits: 1.5 CEU(s); 1.5 EOB CLE(s) applied for

What comes to mind when you hear the word criminal? How does that impact your understanding of crime?
Who gets confronted, who gets caught, and who is convicted all have cascading effects on livelihood, from finding an apartment to building generational wealth. Join us as we explore concepts of criminality, how they impact housing insecurity, and how we might shift the conversation to better untangle criminal justice and housing justice in our community. We will hear from Emily Baxter from We Are All Criminals followed by a panel of Minnesota voices working on housing security, restorative justice, and systems change.

Date: Thursday, March 30th
Time: 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Format: Zoom Virtual Webinar
Credits: 1.5 CEU(s); 1.5 EOB CLE(s) applied for
This webinar is free to attend, and all are welcome!

2023 Keynote/Moderator

Emily Baxter

Emily BaxterEmily Baxter is the founder and director of We Are All Criminals (WAAC), a photo and story-based catalyst for conversations about race, class, privilege, and punishment. Prior to this, Emily served as the director of advocacy and public policy at the Council on Crime and Justice and as an assistant public defender representing members of the Leech Lake and White Earth Bands of Ojibwe. She is an attorney, advocate, and photographer, working with families, community groups, and national organizations to highlight injustices and amplify the voices and stories of people most impacted by our criminal legal system. Emily recently moved back to Minneapolis after six years in Durham where, in addition to her work with WAAC, she served as the director of the North Carolina Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

2023 Panelists

Nadine Graves, Esq.

Nadine GravesNadine Graves is the Deputy Director of Community Legal Services at the Legal Rights Center, where she oversees the criminal defense unit. Nadine has a long history of working with, advocating for, and empowering marginalized people. Nadine is a former public defender and has represented parents in child protection matters and tenants in housing court. Outside of the courtroom, Nadine served as the board chair of a non-profit, We Are Criminals, an organization dedicated to challenging society’s perceptions of what it means to be a “criminal.” Nadine embodies the importance of perspective-changing through storytelling. She has testified at Minnesota’s Second Chance Day on the Hill in support of Ban the Box, highlighting collateral consequences and the need for expungement reform, and voters’ rights restoration. She is currently the host and producer of The Waiting Room with Nadine Graves Podcast, where she provides a mic for the unheard, exposing the invisible impact upon families affected by the criminal legal system.


Fr. Dan Griffith

Father Daniel GriffithFather Daniel Griffith joined the University of St. Thomas School of Law faculty in 2011 and currently serves as the Wenger Family Faculty Fellow of Law. At St. Thomas Law, Griffith teaches courses in Catholic Thought, Law, and Policy, Jurisprudence, and Restorative Justice, Law, and Healing. He is the founding director of the Initiative on Restorative Justice and Healing (IRJH) which seeks to respond to harm that occurs from leadership and institutional failures, racial injustice, and polarization in a way that promotes accountability and healing. He was named pastor and rector of The Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis in the summer of 2022. Fr. Griffith, preaches, teaches, and facilitates restorative practices in response to harm of the three focus areas of IRJH. His work in restorative justice has taken him beyond the Twin Cities where he regularly speaks and facilitates programming.


Fong Lee

Fong LeeFong Lee is artist and storyteller based in St. Paul. Fong spent nearly 18 years inside Minnesota State Prison. He is a dedicated restorative justice practitioner, a fellow with We Are All Criminals (WAAC), a published writer and photographer, and a Community Partnership Coordinator for The Legal Revolution. Fong and his family immigrated to the U.S as Hmong refugee when Fong was a child, after his family was displaced from their borrowed home in Laos.


Rich McLemore

Rich McLemoreRich is the Executive Director at 1 Day at a Time (1DAAT). At 1DAAT, we believe knowledge is critically necessary to end homelessness. 1DAAT’s foundation is our holistic housing education – and through education, we demystify the path to stable housing. Rich is also a master trainer for fellow Mental Health practitioners at various State and County Correctional Institutions throughout the nation, facilitating balanced and equitable approaches in dealing with their population of clients. Rich formerly served as the Director of Housing & Employment at Ujamaa Place; an organization focused on supporting young black men who have been involved in the criminal justice system. He serves on multiple executive boards, including the historic Dispute Resolution Center, located in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Rich is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from Metropolitan State University, with a Focus in Psychology and a minor in Computer Science. And he spends his leisure time jumping out of perfectly good airplanes at 13,000 feet.

Thanks to our Community Partner

Black-owned, Minnesota-based TurnSignl is an on-demand, real-time service that provides 24/7 legal guidance from an attorney to drivers while their camera records the interaction. When drivers are stopped by law enforcement officers or involved in a car accident, they can access live video chat with an attorney at the press of a button or voice command. TurnSignl attorneys are vetted and trained to de-escalate interactions between police, drivers, and passengers.

Mike Rios-Keating is the Social Justice Education Manager for Catholic Charities and a member of the Racial Equity and Social Justice Committee which works to
reduce racial/ethnic disparities in client outcomes and become a multi-cultural, fully inclusive organization

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