Ebony Underwood

April 9, 2024–Missouri Western State University and the St. Joseph Human Rights Commission will be hosting Families in Focus: Empowering Children Amidst Parental Incarceration from 9:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17 in Leah Spratt Hall, rooms 214 and 216.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. The event will end at 12:15 p.m., followed by a networking luncheon. There is no charge for the event, but RSVP is requested by emailing ereese@missouriwestern.edu by April 12.

The event is sponsored by Missouri Western’s Department of Criminal Justice & Legal Studies, Legal Studies Association, Criminal Justice Association, Law Enforcement Academy and Center for Diversity & Inclusion. 

The keynote speaker, Ebony Underwood, is the CEO and founder of We Got Us Now, a national non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to supporting the children of incarcerated parents nationwide. Students, faculty, and community members will gain insights into the challenges faced by these children and explore effective strategies for addressing the issues they face. 

Dr. Asha Bajpai, Fulbright Scholar In Residence and child law expert, and Angela Mesmer, warden of the Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center, are also scheduled to speak at this event.

“The event will provide students with an opportunity to learn directly from professionals in the field of children’s rights advocacy,” said Petronilla Sylvester, assistant professor of legal studies. “It is also a professional development opportunity for faculty, staff and members of the community.”

News release written by Patty Lashbrook, sophomore convergent journalism and public relations major.

Missouri Western State University is a student-centered learning community preparing individuals for lives of excellence through applied learning. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit missouriwestern.edu.