Lehigh County Conference of Churches -- Justice and Advocacy Fall Gathering

The Heart of Justice

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Lehigh County Conference of Churches

Justice & Advocacy

The Heart of Justice:
Breaking the Cycle of
Fear, Violence, Punishment, Retaliation

Saturday, November 9, 2013
Sacred Heart Hospital


Plenary Speakers

Hakim Ali is the Public Relations/Outreach Coordinator for Reconstruction Inc., and serves as the Secretary of the Board of Directors. He is a former offender (released in 2003, after serving 40 years in Federal and State institutions). Hakim is currently involved with many other community organizations including: The Support Network for Returning Citizens; EXIT-US and Decarcerate PA.
Hakim has been a practicing Muslim since 1969, and has held the position of Imam (i.e. spiritual leader), in both Federal and State institutions. He also was an Islamic instructor at Community College of Philadelphia and Cheney State University. He also helped in establishing a Muslim Student Association at Community College of Philadelphia (in 2004). While Hakim was incarcerated he received an "AA" degree from Hagerstown Junior College in Maryland, and his "BS" from Morgan State University, also located in Maryland.

John Bailie, Ph.D., directs the Continuing Education programs of the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) in the U.S. and abroad. With the IIRP's SaferSanerSchools program, he has brought restorative practices to hundreds of schools, including those in at-risk areas of New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore. John is a frequent presenter at international conferences and events and appears in several documentaries on restorative practices. His professional development work also includes that with juvenile probation and children and youth agencies, as well as faith communities. John is an experienced restorative conference facilitator in adult and juvenile cases, including those involving felony-level offenses. John spent many years as a counselor for troubled and at-risk youth at a Community Service Foundation and Buxmont Academy (CSF Buxmont) day treatment/alternative school operating entirely according to restorative practices (an IIRP model program). Having done graduate-level work in theological studies, John is well versed in the connection between restorative practices and faith. John received a Master of Restorative Practices and Youth Counseling from the IIRP in 2008 and a Ph.D. in Education from Lesley University in 2012.

Chris Cocca is Associate for Urban Ministry at First Presbyterian Church, Allentown, and a member of the Justice & Advocacy Committee.

Michael Comick is the current Chaplin at SCI Coal Township where he started out as a volunteer. He and his wife Shirl Comick oversee Extreme Family Life, a church which is in partnership with Endeavor Community Church. They have been involved in prison ministries for over two decades. For the past twenty-two years Shirl has been meeting four times a month with women inmates at Lehigh County Prison, and she joins her husband monthly to hold services at Coal Township State Prison in Northumberland County. They have also ministered in Allenwood Federal Prison in Union County as well as Danville Juvenile Detention Center. They have also worked with troubled youth in several Pennsylvania communities, hosting "lock-ins" in which young people gather overnight to discuss the pitfalls of drugs, alcohol, teenage pregnancy, violence and other issues. Their latest endeavor is facilitating GOD'S GIRLS'S and LIKE FATHER LIKE SON MENTORING, where they focus on youth and real life issues, job readiness, goal setting and cultural issues.

Joyce Dougherty, PhD, as Executive Director of THE PROGRAM for Women and Families since 1998, serves as a key community advocate for youth, incarcerated women and men, and the children of adults involved in the criminal justice system. She is responsible for securing funding and overseeing the implementation of new programs.

Jose Fremonde does pro-bono legal research

Thomas Ganser is former Assistant Chief Juvenile Probation Office of the Lehigh County Juvenile Probation Department, and now works with the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative. He is also a Board Member of the Lehigh County Conference of Churches.

Karen Moeschberger is pastor of St. John's United Church of Christ in Allentown

Henry Moore is a member of the Justice and Advocacy Committee and Board of Directors Secretary of the Lehigh County Conference of Churches.

Peter G. Schweyer is the Director of Government and Community Relations for Sacred Heart Hospital and a member of Allentown City Council.

Sarah Small is a nurse and an organizer with Philadelphia's "Decarcerate PA"

Xavier Thomas


*The program and workshop offerings are subject to change. There's more to come: Please check this page again for updates.

Last Updated: 10/22/2013
Created: September 19, 2013