Join us on Thursday, June 29, 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT, for a presentation entitled “Torture in Our Name: The Moral Call to End Solitary Confinement” by Johnny Perez, Director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) U.S. Prisons Program and Laura Markle Downton, Director of Faith & Community Engagement for NRCAT.
Overview: Our speakers will address the role of survivors of torture in U.S. prisons and jails, and their faith allies, in successful campaigns for abolition. This multimedia presentation will leave you inspired to take action, with practical tools for advocacy in your community.
About the speakers: Johnny Perez – Director of U.S. Prisons Program – Johnny is a highly accomplished criminal justice reform advocate, public speaker, and thought leader in the field of ending torture and inhumane treatment in the U.S. prison system. As the Director of the U.S. Prisons Program for NRCAT, he leads numerous campaigns to end solitary confinement and works to build the capacity of faith leaders and directly impacted communities to engage in education and legislative advocacy across the United States. In addition to serving on the board of the Juvenile Law Center and the Urban Justice Center, he is also an advisory board member and research consultant of the Urban Institute’s Prison Research and Innovation Initiative. Johnny’s expertise and leadership have been recognized by various media outlets and academic institutions, and he has been invited to speak at law schools and institutions of higher learning nationwide. Johnny is a dedicated father and continues to mentor formerly incarcerated students at St. Francis College of Brooklyn, where he obtained his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, and is a professional photographer at Day 1 Pictures which he founded.
Laura Markle Downton, M.Div. – Director of Faith and Community Engagement – Laura Markle Downton is a leading strategist and organizer in the field of criminal legal reform. Laura joined the staff of NRCAT in 2013 and works to resource and organize faith leadership involved in NRCAT’s state and federal campaigns to end torture at the local and national levels. Laura has broad experience mobilizing faith communities to advance criminal legal system change and racial justice through building strategic partnerships and coordinating interfaith organizing campaigns. Before joining the staff of NRCAT, she served as National Organizer for the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church and on the Board of Directors for Grassroots Leadership. She holds an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary with a specialization in Women’s Studies and is a Midwest Academy-trained organizer. Laura holds certification from the Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) Program of Eastern Mennonite University and is a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC).