“Which Side Are You On?: Can Prosecutors Lead Effective Change?” — a conversation with Commonwealth’s Attorney Joseph Platania — will take place on December 8 at noon EST. Virginia Tech students in the Kwame Ture Leadership Academy will facilitate the event.

The event will be the first installment of “Talking Top Cops: Prosecutors and Criminal Justice Activism,”  a three-part series investigating the role of prosecutors and legislators in the current push for criminal justice reform. The other two events are slated for February and April 2021.

The series is sponsored by the Kwame Ture Leadership Academy and the Gloria D. Smith Professorship in Africana Studies.

The Kwame Ture Leadership Academy launched with its inaugural cohort of students in September 2020. The academy seeks to provides a dynamic, intensive leadership experience for students interested in social justice, anti-racism, and community engagement. The students undertake a journey of skill building, self-exploration, and holistic development based on five pillars of community-centered leadership excellence.

Brandy Faulkner, a collegiate assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, serves as the Gloria D. Smith Professor of Africana Studies.

Kwame Ture, born Stokely Carmichael, was a prominent organizer in the U.S. civil rights movement and the global Pan-African movement. One of the original Freedom Riders, he succeeded John Lewis as chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, a role he held from 1966 to 1967.

For questions or to request accommodations related to a disability, email Faulkner 72 hours prior to the event at bfaulkne@vt.edu. For general questions, email Elizabeth (elizabeth18@vt.edu) or Maya (maya@vt.edu).