Our 6th Annual Speakers Forum presented by Taft focused on shifting the narrative about gun violence from the lens of the criminal justice system to treating violence as a public health crisis. Our featured speaker, Marcus McAllister of Cure Violence Global, shared his personal experience as a formerly incarcerated individual, his work as a violence interrupter, and how it is imperative to include those with criminal backgrounds in the conversation on solutions to violence.
McAllister was later joined on stage by panelists Shonna Majors, the City of Indianapolis’s first-ever director of community violence reduction, and Lisa E. Harris, M.D. of Eskenazi Health. The conversation was moderated by Jordyn Lexton, CEO of Drive Change and 2016 Speakers Forum featured speaker.
At the end of the evening, the founder of Patachou and President of The Patachou Foundation Board of Directors, Martha S. Hoover took the stage to make an important announcement. You can read her speech below:
“Good evening. I’m Martha Hoover, founder of Patachou and President of The Patachou Foundation Board of Directors. Thank you all for attending this year’s Speaker’s Forum. This evening would not have been possible without the support of many, including our title sponsor Taft Law, who earlier this year was impacted by a deadly act of random gun violence when an adult child of one of the firm lawyers was shot and killed while running on a trail near Zionsville.
Gun violence is an issue that affects us all, no matter our zip code, and one that simply cannot be ignored as being someone else’s issue. To Every person here can do something to move the needle. To learn about ways you can make a difference, please look at the back cover of your program.
For my small part, I’m going to act right now.
Ask any business person what their number one challenge is and they are most likely to say the critical shortage of people to hire.
One in three American adults, nearly 70 million people, has a criminal record. Approximately 650,000 people are released from prisons each year, but due to the stigma associated with having a criminal record, nearly 75 percent of them will find themselves unemployed nearly a year after their release.
The number one cause of recidivism is joblessness. I firmly believe that Jobs. Equal. Better. Lives. Especially if those jobs lead to real career paths and true opportunities.
Tonight, I am announcing that all Patachou Inc restaurants and The Patachou Foundation have adopted an Open Hiring policy for formerly incarcerated individuals of non-violent crimes.
We must attach as much to redemption as we do to penalty for criminal behavior. Formerly incarcerated people, such as Marcus, have to have a seat at the table when we talk about solutions.
Thank you. Goodnight.”