Criminal Law and Justice

Walking Philly’s Tightrope of Youth Justice

May 4, 2021  • Criminal Justice Reform Initiative

Chekemma J. Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network, joins us for this episode of Shades of Freedom to discuss the evolution of youth justice work in Philadelphia, and her own personal journey from working directly with youth and families, to running Philadelphia’s major youth-serving nonprofit.

Weaving together progress in the community, creating effective programs for youth, and the City of Philadelphia’s youth justice reforms, the interview focuses on the many different sectors and partners (including the community itself) that must work together – through good times and bad times – to create progress. While there’s a lot still to be done to create justice in the city that gave birth to America, Fulmore-Townsend finds hope in new innovations and approaches being tried out.

Transcript available here.

Guest Biography

Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend Chekemma J. Fulmore-Townsend is President and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN). Prior to her appointment, Fulmore-Townsend served as PYN’s VP of Program Services, where she led a team accountable for program design, implementation, evaluation, compliance, and continuous improvement.  Prior to her work at PYN, Fulmore-Townsend served at the Philadelphia Workforce Development Corporation as the Senior Director of the Emerging Workforce, fusing data-driven decision-making with project management to implement and improve adult and youth workforce programs. In 2019, she was named as a Promise of America Awardee by America’s Promise Alliance.  In 2017, she was featured in The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s special report titled; “The Influencers: People Quietly Changing the Nonprofit World.”  In 2016, the Obama Administration honored her as a White House Champion of Change.

Shades of Freedom

The podcast can be found on all the major platforms, including Apple, Google, and Spotify. You can also listen from the Shades of Freedom home page. The Shades of Freedom podcast, hosted by Dr. Douglas E. Wood, Director of the Criminal Justice Reform Initiative, is named after and inspired by the book Shades of Freedom: Racial Politics and Presumptions of the American Legal Process, by Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr.