Symposium Agenda


Think Outside the Cell:  A New Day, A New Way

A National Symposium and CALL TO ACTION on Issues Affecting the Incarcerated, the Formerly Incarcerated and Their Families


7:30  – 3 p.m.                     Registration

7:30  – 8:45 a.m.                Casual Breakfast

9  a.m.                                   Welcome –  Sheila Rule, founder, the Think Outside the Cell Foundation

                                                Blessing  -    Rev. Stephen Phelps, Interim Senior Minister, Riverside Church

9: 10 a.m.                             Glenn Martin, Vice President, the Fortune Society

9:25 a.m.                              Randall Robinson, bestselling author and activist

10:00 – 10:55 a.m.            Byron Pitts, CBS NEWS/60 Minutes, moderates first conversation:


About 2.3 million men and women are incarcerated in prisons in the United States. There are another 7 million in our jails on any given day.  Millions upon millions of their loved ones wait for their return. The importance of family support can mean the difference between reintegration and recidivism. Yet these families struggle under the weight of emotional and financial strains, societal stigmas and stereotypes. What is prison’s real impact on the incarcerated, their families—and their communities? What is its real impact on the greater society? How can these stakeholders be better served and empowered? How do we ensure that they are?

  • Terrie M. Williams, author of Black Pain, expert on depression in the black community

·         Marlon Peterson, formerly incarcerated, currently student at NYU, founder of a mentoring program

·         Zee Mink-Fuller, activist mother of incarcerated son in Texas  

  • Dr. Khalil Muhammad, noted historian and director of Schomburg Center
  • Jason Davis, Bloods gang leader, co-founder of organization that teaches parents to steer  children away from gangs and violence
  • Jumaane Williams, New York City Councilmember


11:05- 11:25 a.m.              Hon. Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ (introduced by Charles Blow, NYT)

11:25 -11:45 a.m.              Q & A session with Mayor Booker

11:50 – 12:15 p.m.            Hon. Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President (introduced by Charles Blow, NYT)

12:20 p.m.                           PRESS AVAILABILITY WITH STRINGER, BOOKER

12:15 – 1:30                        LUNCH for attendees

1:40 – 3:25 pm                   Marc Lamont Hill of Our World with Black Enterprise moderates:


This session explores creative ideas and bold initiatives to improve the lives of those who’ve been incarcerated and their families, and to move this nation away from the failed policies that have made it the world’s leading jailer.

  • Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow
  • Joe Robinson, author of Think Outside the Cell,  leader of Second Look Policy Think Tank at Sullivan Correctional Facility, New York State 
  • Tom Burrell, author of Brainwashed, expert on the image of African-Americans
  • Jeremy Travis, President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Eddie Ellis, executive director, Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions


3: 30 – 4:55 p.m.            Jacqueline Adams, former CBS White House Correspondent, moderates the final conversation:


More than 730,000 men and women will be released from prison in 2011. When they return home, the long and uncompromising shadow of their incarceration follows them. There is the ever-present “convict” or “felon” stigma. There is the “conviction question” on job and housing applications. And the current economy is making an already bad situation dramatically worse, placing a virtual chokehold on their dreams and aspirations. How can we as a society improve their odds so that they achieve reintegration rather than recidivism? How can these men and women best improve their own odds?

·          Chef Jeff Henderson, motivational speaker, Food Network star

  • Rossana Rosado, CEO and publisher of El Diario
  • Alan Rosenthal,  co-director, Justice Strategies, Center for Community Alternatives
  • Yolanda Johnson-Peterkin, director of operations, reentry services, Women’s Prison Association

5 p.m.                                   Vivian Nixon, executive director, College and Community Fellowship, offers final thoughts.

5:10  p.m.                            Sheila Rule ends the day