Hooks Institute to host panel discussion about police reform in Memphis and the nation 

Oct. 30, 2020 — The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis will host Reimagining Policing, a virtual panel discussion about police reform in Memphis and the nation. Reimaging Policing will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10. 

In response to local and national protests and demands for systemic changes in policing, panelists will discuss policing policies, practices and reforms and their impact on the community. 

This free event will be livestreamed on the Hooks Institute’s Facebook page. 

Our panel of experts: 

· Lynda R. Williams, president, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)

· Shahidah Jones, founder, Black Lives Matter, Memphis Chapter 

· Myesha Braden, director of special justice initiatives, Alliance for Justice (Washington, DC) 

The moderator of this event is Marc Perrusquia, award-winning journalist and director of the Institute for Public Service Reporting at the UofM. 

About Lynda R. Williams

Lynda R. Williams, a Memphis native, is currently the Professor of the Practice at Middle Tennessee State University in the Department of Criminal Justice Administration. With this appointment in 2017, she became the first individual bestowed this title in recognition of the breadth and depth of her knowledge and expertise in the field of criminal justice and executive security. Prior to joining the faculty of Middle Tennessee State University, Williams led an accomplished career as a veteran of the United States Secret Service from 1988 until she retired as the deputy assistant director in 2017. Her Secret Service assignments included protective detail for President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, and service in administrations from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump. As current president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), Williams is focused on achieving the organization’s goals through a three-pillar platform on police reform, gun violence and voter engagement.

About Shahidah Jones 

Shahidah Jones is an unapologetically Black & queer organizer, and an experienced communication and digital media strategist. Jones has an exceptional talent for using her radical perspective to help businesses and non-profits develop creative strategies that improve communication efficiency, increase brand visibility, drive customer engagement and establish vibrant social media communities. Jones dedicates much of her time and efforts to uplifting the community and fighting for the rights of the disenfranchised and truly believes no one is free until we all are free. 

About Myesha Braden 

Myesha Braden is director of special justice initiatives at the Alliance for Justice in Washington, D.C. She is a civil rights attorney and former federal prosecutor with expertise in establishing and managing new programs and practice areas. She was the inaugural director for the Criminal Justice Project at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; a senior policy advisor for the White House Domestic Policy Counsel's Office of Urban Affairs, Justice & Opportunity; and a former career federal prosecutor and policy counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Braden is a creative thinker with an established track record of designing and establishing new litigation and policy programs. 

About Marc Perrusquia 

Marc Perrusquia is the director of the Institute for Public Service Reporting at the University of Memphis. He's won numerous national awards for feature writing and investigative reporting. Perrusquia worked at The Commercial Appeal for more than 29 years, where he served as a reporter and editor. He is also the author of "A Spy in Canaan" (2018) which tells the story of political surveillance in Memphis in the 1960s and 70s and civil rights photographer Ernest Withers’ secret life as a paid FBI informant. 

About the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change  

The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute implements its mission of teaching, studying and promoting civil rights and social change through research, education and direct intervention programs. Institute programs include community outreach; funding faculty research initiatives on community issues; implementing community service projects; hosting conferences, symposiums and lectures; and promoting local and national scholarship on civil and human rights. The Hooks Institute is an interdisciplinary center at the University of Memphis. Contributed revenue for the Hooks Institute, including funding from individuals, corporations and foundations, is administered through the University of Memphis Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization. 

Visit memphis.edu/benhooks for more information.