for Justice & Equity

Championing for Justice & Equity (CJE) is a three-year conversation on race, justice, and systemic inequity.

CJE is an education, a look in the mirror, and a path forward.

Reflecting on Summer Search's 32 years of experience mentoring and empowering young People of Color and First-Generation individuals, we present CJE as a space for our broader community to learn, engage, and take definitive action in your personal and professional lives.

Upcoming Event:

1/25/22 - Criminal Justice Solutions

Criminal Justice Solutions - CJE

Join us for a discussion about how America's criminal justice system policy and practice contributes to racial disparities and ways to reduce these disparities.

Registration coming soon!

Our Speakers

Zach Norris

Keynote: Zach Norris

Executive Director, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

Author, Defund Fear: Safety Without Policing, Prisons, and Punishment.

Summer Search Bay Area Alumnus.

Lara Zarowsky

Keynote: Lara Zarowsky

Executive Director, Washington Innocence Project.

Tom Cole

Host: Tom Cole

Managing Partner, Troutman Pepper.

Board Member, Summer Search Philadelphia.

Louis Reed - CJE Speaker

Panelist: Louis Reed

Sr. Director, Membership & Partnerships, REFORM Alliance.


Thank You For Supporting CJE

Past Event: Closing the Education Equity Gap 

On September 28, 2021, our panel of thought leaders as examined racial equity in the education system and sought to understand how/why school opportunities, outcomes, and environments differ along racial lines. Our attendees walked away with a greater understanding of:

  1. Education reform and policy development;

  2. How race plays a role in opportunities and outcomes for students;

  3. How COVID exasperated learning along racial lines in urban areas;

  4. The future of education equity and how we can all play a role.

About CJE

We launched our Black Lives Matter Community Series to bring the Summer Search community together to heal, learn, and take action. That series has evolved into our CJE initiative.

Throughout this series, we will discuss the importance of listening, receiving feedback, reflecting on our own actions and those of others, and using diplomacy.

This three-year initiative is designed to:

  • Support our larger community to gain greater understanding on inclusion, diversity, and innovation;
  • Promote healing, minimize harm, and create a sense of belonging for all in the larger community;
  • Work with experts in the larger community to build practices that deepen understanding of differences and further increase collaboration.

CJE Leadership

Kris Leja

Kris Leja

Executive Director, Summer Search Bay Area


Dr. Marc Spencer

CEO, Summer Search


Hermese Velasquez

Hermese Velasquez

Executive Director, Summer Search Boston


Sylvia Watts McKinney

Sylvia Watts McKinney

Executive Director, Summer Search Philadelphia


BLM Community Series 2020

How to Get Involved


Check out a recap of our complete BLM Series on our blog. Learn more about receiving a print of the live illustrations from our events.

Below are some additional ways to contribute to the organizing work that's taking place in our communities, for our causes and resources for deepening our learning. It's important that in this time, we not only check in with each other, but also with ourselves to care for our spirit as we move through this together.