Event Calendar

Community Conversation: "Mass Incarceration & Reformatory Justice; Changing Perceptions, Providing Opportunities, Advocating Reform"

The Glastonbury MLK Community Initiative is hosting this event and provided the following information:

The Glastonbury Martin Luther King Community Initiative (GMLKCI) will host a Community Conversation on Monday, September 23, 2019, at the Glastonbury Riverfront Community Center. There will be a free reception at 6:30 p.m. The Conversation will be from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. This Community Conversation is entitled “Mass Incarceration & Reformatory Justice; Changing Perceptions, Providing Opportunities, Advocating Reform.”

Our keynote speaker and moderator is Rev. Gordon Bates. Rev. Bates received a MS degree in Sacred Theology from the Hartford Seminary and served as the Executive Director of the Connecticut Prison Association (CPA), a nonprofit charitable organization, for many years. As a panelist and moderator, Rev. Bates will examine CPA’s role in changing our criminal justice system. The CPA (renamed Community Partners in Action) was formed to ameliorate the conditions of inmates, improve the discipline and administration of our State prison system, and provide assistance to former inmates upon their release. In partnership with the State and Federal Governments, private donors, nonprofit organizations, and businesses, CPA focuses on behavioral changes, advocates for criminal justice reform, and assists with employment, basic needs, reentry and recovery services, with the goal of reducing recidivism and enhancing public safety. In short, CPA assists former inmates in dealing with the many challenges they face upon release: poverty, fractured families, homelessness, gaps in their education, chronic unemployment, substance abuse, trauma, mental health disorders, and barriers to services, housing, and jobs. Rev. Bates wrote “The Connecticut Prison Association and the Search for Reformatory Justice.”

Deborah Rogala has a BS degree in Social Work from Central Connecticut State University and a MS degree in Social Work from the University of Connecticut. In 2015, she attained her license as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Ms. Rogala serves as the Clinical Program Operations Director (POD) with Community Partners in Action (CPA), a non-profit criminal justice agency that has been in existence since 1875. CPA focuses on behavioral change for people in the criminal justice system and advocates for criminal justice reform in CT. CPA’s reentry programming assist individuals upon their release from prison, many of whom have a multitude of issues, including substance abuses and mental health problems, limited housing, etc. In her role as POD, Ms. Rogala oversees several of CPA's programs including, the Resettlement Program, the Work Release Program, Career Pathways, the Reentry Welcome Center, and the Community Service Program at Hartford Community Court. Ms. Rogala has more than 24 years of experience working in the reentry field. 

Brandon McGee earned a BS degree in political science from Alabama State University and a MS degree in Management and Organizational Leadership from Albertus Magnus College. Mr. McGee is the chief creative officer of the McGee Firm, where he provides strategic insight, planning, and messaging consulting to clients in private, public, and education sectors. In addition, he serves as a marketing and communications coordinator for the Capitol Region Education Council. Mr. McGee is serving his fourth term in the Connecticut legislature representing areas of Windsor and Hartford. In that role, Representative McGee is an advocate for equity in education, criminal justice reform, voter registration and empowerment for people of color and their communities. Rep. McGee serves as the chairman of the legislature's Housing Committee and the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, and as a member of the Education Committee and the Human Services Committee. Rep. McGee has received numerous awards for his civic work, including the Excellence in Mentoring Award from the National Mentoring Partnership, Citizen of the Year by the Tau Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Offices Community Award. In addition, Mr. McGee is a deacon and member of the board of directors of the Citadel of Love Church in Hartford, Board President of Ascend Mentoring, President of BSL Education Foundation, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Hartford Behavioral Health and Jewish Family Services. Rep. McGee will address current, pending, and anticipated criminal justice reforms on the State and Federal levels.

Warren Hardy was a member of one of Hartford’s notorious gangs, “20 Love,” following his graduation from Weaver High School in 1992. As a result of his gang activities, Mr. Hardy was convicted in State Court on racketeering charges. Following his release from prison after serving six years of a 12-year sentence, Mr. Hardy volunteered in organizations focused on educating young men about the dangers of gang activity. As a result of his volunteer activities, Mr. Hardy was named the Intelligence Coordinator Team Leader for Hartford’s Peacebuilders, a position he held for five years. Mr. Hardy currently serves as a Support Specialist with My People Clinical Services (MPCS), a community based social service organization established to “Support, Empower, and Rebuild” the lives of individuals and families in the Greater Hartford area by meeting their social and mental health needs. The staff includes social workers, marriage and family therapists, parent educators, therapeutic support specialists, and professional human service practitioners. Mr. Hardy is also involved with COMPASS Peacebuilders and is on the board of directors the CT Center for Nonviolence, working to keep kids from ending up in prison. Mr. Hardy is a member of the Men of Color Initiative, Northend Church of Christ, and Lift Every Voice and Sing, and volunteers for Shiloh Baptist Church, the Fatherhood Initiative and the Buddy Breakfast Program. He has received the Governor’s award for work with community residents through the Faith Works Initiative. Mr. Hardy recently earned a BA in Human Services from Springfield College and is a Founder and CEO of H.Y.P.E. (Helping Young People Evolve). Mr. Hardy is certified as a Level I Kingian Nonviolence trainer.

Brent Peterkin studied public policy and public administration, nonprofit leadership, and social impact strategy at Fordham University, Northwestern University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Peterkin is the Statewide Director for Project Longevity, an organization which marshals law enforcement agencies and communities to focus on gun violence. A goal of the street violence intervention is to reduce arrests and to offer social service supports, toward making communities safer by focusing on gang members who are identified as high risk for being arrested and incarcerated. Mr. Peterkin served on the Governor's Youth and Urban Violence Commission, is a member of the Bridgeport Mayor's Initiative for Reentry Affairs, and a board member of EMERGE, CT Against Gun Violence (CAGV), and the Phoenix Association. Previously, Mr. Peterkin served as a policy fellow in the Office of the Governor working in support of the Office of Early Childhood, where he focused on parent engagement and fatherhood development. He also worked with a Yale University based global anti-poverty initiative and supported at-risk high school students with emotional, behavioral, and learning disabilities. Mr. Peterkin was an honoree of Connecticut Magazine's 40 Under 40: Class of 2017, and a 100 Men of Color 2017 Honoree. 

GMLKCI’s goal is for our presenters to provide both a starting point and a resource for what we hope will be an inspiring, lively, informative, and thought-provoking conversation.

The Glastonbury MLK Community Initiative is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization, formed in 2001, to increase knowledge about, and understanding of, the philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We believe that bringing people together to inform and discuss openly and candidly social justice issues will inspire residents to embrace a more inclusive and tolerant community.

We invite organizations which advocate for social justice issues to have tables where participants will have the opportunity to learn about the mission and work of the various groups and to explore volunteer opportunities.  We also encourage participants to bring unexpired, non-perishable food items and kitchen and bathroom supplies to be donated to the Glastonbury Food Pantry. 

The Glastonbury MLK Community Initiative is funded by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving’s Sestero Fund, as well as by individual donors, and is supported by the Town of Glastonbury. This is a free event. For additional information, please contact Leslie Ohta, 202-538-1161, leslieohta@gmail.com, or www.glastonburymlkci.org.