The mission of the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center is to educate and empower local communities to create innovative and practical solutions to problems in the criminal justice system using an approach that is bipartisan and includes all relevant stakeholders. Consistent with this mission, we will be awarding two exceptional African-Americans (one man and one woman) that have a demonstrated commitment to promoting criminal justice reform in a bipartisan fashion with measurable results at the National, State or Local level.
Congratulations to our 2018 Champion of Justice Award Winners
Representative Jordan Harris and Dasheika Ruffin!
Please read about all six of our amazing Finalists below!
Todd Belcore, Executive Director, Social Change
Todd Belcore is a four-time national award-winning lawyer, mediator, advocate, law lecturer and non-profit co-founder with over 20 years of experiencing serving communities.
Currently, Todd is the Executive Director of Social Change-a national non-profit committed to liberation and disrupting systems via community capacity building, technical and legal assistance, advocacy and film.
Todd also serves as SOLVE's Social Change Director. In this role, he couples the technical, policy and legal assistance provided by Social Change to organizations, governments and businesses nationwide with software (SOLVE) that makes it easier for service providers to deliver critical services, amplifies their impact, and tracks and measures the impact of their hard work in real time.
Todd also makes an impact by mediating disputes (resolving everything from small claims in the courts to claims of discrimination against large financial firms) and teaching a class entitled, "The New Jim Crow" (taught at Northwestern Law and University of Chicago Law School).
To date, Todd has been able to: lead or assist in efforts to pass 18 measures in multiple states relating to justice reform, economic equity and police and community relations; provide legal assistance to over 1,000 men and women with records; train over 1,000 attorneys, advocates, and community members nationwide on policy advocacy, their rights, and available legal remedies for overcoming barriers to employment; and, write various works relating to justice reform and access to opportunity that have been published in places like the Huffington Post and the White House blog.
As a result of Todd's commitment to service, he has received 18 honors, including the ABA's National Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year.
Jordan Harris, Pennsylvania State Representative
Jordan A. Harris is Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, representing the 186th legislative district. He was elected in 2013. Rep. Harris has been elected the chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus for the 2017-2018 legislative session.
Harris holds a bachelor's degree in governmental and political affairs from Millersville University and a master's degree in education from Cabrini College. He is enrolled in a doctoral program at Neumann University. Harris is a former teacher in the Philadelphia Public Schools. He has served in city government, rising to the position of director of the Philadelphia Youth Commission.
Representative Harris has championed several issues since being elected to serve the residents of the 186th Legislative District, but one of his most notable victories was getting legislation passed that will allow for criminal record expungement in certain situations. This legislation, which Representative Harris has been working on since he was sworn into office, will allow those who have made mistakes in the past to move on and get a true second chance without being held back in job interviews or on higher education applications. Representative Harris joined Governor Tom Wolf as he signed the bill into law in early 2016.
Representative Harris is currently President of the Board of Directors at Lincoln Day Educational Center, the oldest continuously operating African American Day School in the country. He serves as a Member of the Board of the Hardy Williams Education Fund and the Christian Street YMCA. He is a member of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity Nu Sigma chapter and Prince Hall Free and Accepted Masons Cephas Lodge #98.
Chas Moore, Executive Director, Austin Justice Coalition
Chas Moore is the founder of Austin Justice Coalition, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and grassroots, activist-led organization aimed at demanding criminal justice reform and building community at both the local, state, and national level.
His key passions include:
- criminal justice reform
- creating spaces for activists, leaders, and organizers of color to lead
- implementing progressive and best-practice policies in local entities
- community empowerment through community service and education
- educating youth of color about a more inclusive history of their cultures
- organizing and challenging community members to get civically engaged
-speaking to high-school and college students about the value and importance of their voices in creating a better tomorrow
Before devoting his work fulltime to the creation and growth Austin Justice Coalition, Chas served as a student activists fighting many social issues at The University of Texas at Austin and the rest of the Austin Community.
An advocate for the underserved, Chas champions efforts that deliberately meet community needs like back-to- school drives, fundraisers for those who have been brutalized by police, feeding the hungry and pioneering programs for black youth, men and women.
As Austin Justice Coalition’s Founder/ Executive Director, Chas has continued to leverage his connections within city government, the police department, the DA’s office, community organizations, and a myriad of others in AJC’s extensive network to bring positive change. His work in the upcoming year will focus on the Use of Force policy, police association contract, city budget, progressive disciplinary matrix for police misconduct, and mental health response.15
Kemba Smith Pradia, Activist / Author / Public Speaker
Kemba went from college student to drug dealer’s girlfriend to domestic violence victim to federal prisoner. She shares her traumatic real-life experience in her book, Poster Child: The Kemba Smith Story. Her case drew support from across the nation and the world in a crusade to reverse a disturbing trend in the rise of lengthy sentences for first time non-violent offenders. Her story has been featured on CNN, Nightline, Court TV, The Early Morning Show, The View and a host of other television programs. It has also been written about in several national publications including Emerge, The Washington Post, New York Times, Glamour, People, JET, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Essence, The Root and Huffington Post.
Kemba Smith speaks nationally and internationally about the devastating social, economic and political consequences of current drug policies. She has spoken at the White House, testified before Congress and the United Nations regarding a variety of criminal justice issues including crack cocaine sentencing, mandatory drug sentencing, women and mass incarceration, felony disenfranchisement, domestic violence and re-entry.
Today, Kemba is an advocate and popular speaker at colleges, universities, high schools, juvenile facilities, churches and national conferences around the nation. She has been corporately sponsored to speak at a variety of high schools and college venues by Proctor & Gamble, Traveler’s Foundation, Verizon, BET and Gulfstream Aerospace. She has received numerous awards and recognition for her courage and determination to educate the public about the devastating consequences of current drug policies and for her commitment to serving women and youth. One of her highlights in 2016 was being invited to the White House to meet President Barack Obama in which he congratulated her on her many accomplishments since being home. Kemba is passionate about sharing her story as an educational tool to prevent others from going down a similar path. It is Kemba Smith’s hope to uplift communities and inspire the nation to become educated about certain injustices within the criminal justice system while continuing the legacy of women leaders in the struggle for social reform. Ultimately, Kemba knows that there is a lesson in each experience in life, and she has embraced her experience, learned from it, and is now using that experience to teach others.
Shakira Pumphrey, Executive Director, Just Liberty
Shakira Pumphrey is a passionate criminal justice reformer living in Austin, and Executive Director of Just Liberty, a bipartisan 501c(4) organization dedicated to comprehensive criminal justice reform in Texas, from the traffic stop to the local county jail, the courtroom, prisons, parole, and the reentry process. Most recently, Shakira served as Senior Policy Advisor to Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, Joe Straus. In that role, she advised the Speaker and his executive staff on policy issues related to corrections, criminal jurisprudence, juvenile justice, defense, veterans, and county affairs.
With a Bachelor of Science in Sociology, a BA in Political Science, and a Juris Doctorate from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, she brings policy expertise, compassion, and grit to her new role at Just Liberty. She has served as a Civil Rights Investigator and a nonprofit consultant, including service with an Arkansas-based organization for children left behind due to parental incarceration.
Dasheika Ruffin, Southern Regional Director,
ACLU National Campaign for Smart Justice
Dasheika serves as the Southern Regional Director of the American Civil Liberties Union National Campaign for Smart Justice. The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is a 50-state campaign focused on ending mass incarceration in the United States, reducing the jail and prison population by 50 percent, and eliminating racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
Currently, Dasheika is managing a multi-state cash bail reform and electoral campaign. She is working with left-right coalitions, elected officials on both sides of the aisle, directly impacted communities, and grassroots organizations to end our country’s two-tiered wealth-based justice system, which punishes the poor when they cannot afford to pay bail and rewards the rich by allowing them to purchase their freedom. Dasheika’s work has already led to major bail reforms in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Those states have reformed their bail practices and reallocated the cost savings to services aimed at keeping communities safer and reducing recidivism.
Prior to joining the ACLU, Dasheika served as the Legal Legislative Analyst for the City of Atlanta, where she drafted policies and laws, on behalf of the Atlanta City Council. Most notably, she drafted Atlanta’s Marijuana Ordinance, which deprioritizes possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and Atlanta’s Ban the Box legislation, which prohibits the use of criminal history information to disqualify candidate applying for work with the city. The legislation received bipartisan support and was eventually adopted by Georgia’s Republican Governor.
Dasheika serves as a volunteer lawyer with the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, where she represents the interest of indigent clients. She works as a Guardian Ad Litem for Fulton County, where she represents the interest of minor children. She is a graduate and Executive Board member of the New Leaders Council and a graduate of Leadership DeKalb. Additionally, Dasheika serves as a script consultant for Own Network’s television series Queen Sugar, where she consults on criminal justice issues.