More than 50 students from all over the Mid-Atlantic region convened at the Northern Virginia Community Collegein Woodbridge, VA this past weekend for the 2011 Mid-Atlantic Conference. Chapters traveled from Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and even as far away as Georgia to learn about advocacy from some of the most accomplished names in the movement.
Panels and Workshops
Panels and workshops included an intimate fireside chat with SSDP Executive Director Aaron Houston, and Achieving Reform, led by Jasmine Tyler, Deputy Director of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, and Eric Sterling, Founder and President of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. Tyler and Sterling shared their experiences in working to reform unjust racial sentencing disparities, and SSDP’s role in the movement thus far and our role moving forward into an uncertain future.
Sister to Sister/Women in the Movement, led by Sabrina Fendrick, NORML Women’s Alliance Coordinator, and Brooke Napier, SSDP National Intern, educated students about the NORML Women’s Alliance Sister to Sister program, how women can be effective role models, and how to empower women with the connections and confidence to bring them into the movement.
Keynote speaker and Candidate Delegate for Virginia’s 40th District, Dianne Blais discussed her stance on key issues like drug education and Good Samaritan Policies and how students can get involved with her campaign.
Online Organizing – Brian Gilbert, VCU chapter President, and Kayli Nugent, WVU chapter Social Media ManagerCoalition Building – Tom Wytiaz, WVU chapter President, Brandon Levey, former UMD chapter President
Graduate Student Organizing – Kellen Russoniello, Founder and President of GW Law SSDP, and Thom Silverstein, Founder and President of UVA Law SSDP
Effective Leadership/Achieving Campus Reform – Kyle Swecker, UMW chapter President, and Kat Hemphill, NVCC chapter President
Team-building Exercises – Kat Hemphill, Heather Kirkpatrick, Shannon Cottles, Brandon Walker and the rest of the NVCC chapter
A special thanks goes out to our NVCC chapter, who put this incredible conference together!