On March 22, HOPE united over 2,000 members from across Hillsborough County to address Criminal Justice Reform and Mental Health Reform. Despite it being HOPE’s first virtual Nehemiah Action, it was a powerful and successful event. Thank you to all of the HOPE clergy and leaders who made it happen!
Our testimonies and reports, and the commitments from State Attorney Warren, Chief Judge Ficarrotta, Public Defender Holt reenergized efforts to reduce the arrest of children and adults for misdemeanor offenses, and to address the problem of systemic bias in policing seen in racial profiling of members and friends. We have our Racial Profiling Summit on May 4th and as of now, Sheriff Chronister, Tampa Police Chief Dugan, Plant City Police Chief Bradford, State Attorney Warren, Public Defender Holt, and Chief Judge Ficarrotta have confirmed their attendance.
And, we caught the attention of Commissioners Kemp, Overman and Smith, who committed to help address severe mental illness by working with County Staff to identify funding in the 2022 County Budget to establish an internationally accredited Recovery Through Work Clubhouse. County Commissioners will be touring the successful Vincent House in Pinellas to keep learning about the value of the Recovery Through Work Clubhouse.
HOPE leaders will continue to follow up our decision makers commitments to reduce youth arrests, address racial profiling, and increase access to mental health services in the upcoming months.