Stand Together Trust convenes thought leaders at SXSW EDU and SXSW to collaborate on innovative solutions to help reform the American education and criminal justice systems

U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace (SC-1), Alice Marie Johnson, and Derrell Bradford discuss paths to a better way forward onimproving education and reforming our criminal justice system

ARLINGTON, Va. (March 8, 2022) Today, Stand Together Trust announced it is convening some of society’s boldest changemakers for a series of panels at SXSW and SXSW Edu to discuss how to improve our education and criminal justice systems. Stand Together Trust is part of the Stand Together community of 700 business and philanthropic leaders committed to tackling the root causes of America’s biggest problems so every person can realize their potential. The Stand Together community recognizes the country’s biggest problems cannot be solved with the same kind of top-down, thinking that created them. Complex problems require comprehensive solutions, designed from the bottom up.

Across the two-week event, Stand Together Trust will host six panels: three focused on education (SXSW EDU: March 8th and 9th), and three focused on criminal justice and public safety (SXSW: March 12th). Each panelist will share their efforts to advance community-based solutions to help solve America’s biggest problems.

SXSW EDU attendees will learn from Kelley Williams-Bolar, an Ohio parent who was sentenced to incarceration after using her father’s address to send her daughters to school in a better district. 50CAN President Derrell Bradford will highlight some of the most under addressed barriers to educational opportunity in America. Stand Together CEO Brian Hooks will moderate a conversation, highlighting solutions that transform our one-size-fits-all education system into one that allows students to access the education that works for them.

“Stand Together’s philanthropic community is committed to the idea that all people are capable of making a contribution to our society and we support changemakers who find new and better ways to help people realize their potential,” said Brian Hooks, CEO Stand Together. “SXSW Edu and SXSW bring together a remarkable group of innovators with different perspectives who are doing that.

“Our goal during the two weeks is to help shine a light on solutions to some of the biggest problems that are holding people back to help improve education and reform our criminal justice system.”

As part of SXSW’s civic engagement track, Stand Together Trust is convening leaders like author and presidentially pardoned criminal justice reform activist Alice Marie Johnson; U.S. Congresswoman and marijuana legalization advocate Nancy Mace; and Devshi Mehrotra, founder of JusticeText, a tech startup committed to ensuring Americans who are arrested receive due process. These panelists will talk about the future of the criminal justice system and discuss real solutions that move us beyond the false choices of either “tough on crime” or “defunding the police,” to help make America’s neighborhoods safer.

Links to panels and speakers include:


  • Applying the Lessons Learned of Pandemic Education
    • Derrell Bradford President, 50CAN
    • Justin Dent Executive Director, Outschool
    • Bernita Bradley Community Engagement Manager, Engaged Detroit
    • Andy Rotherham Co-founder and Partner, Bellwether Education Partners
  • Erasing Red Lines: Overcoming Inequity in Schools
    • Brian Hooks CEO, Stand Together
    • Christopher Cleveland Education Resource Strategies and Ph.D. Candidate, Harvard University
    • Kelley Williams-Bolar Activist, Documentary Robbed: A Mother’s Peril
    • Derrell Bradford President, 50CAN
  • Fueled and Financed: Philanthropy Propels Education
    • Derek Johnson Executive Director, Stand Together Trust
    • Meredith Olson President, VELA Education Fund
    • Dr. Todd Rose Co-Founder and President, Populace

Criminal Justice Reform

  • Women and the War on Drugs, A New Wave of Criminal Justice Reform
    • Brianna Nuhfer Vice President, Criminal Justice Reform, Stand Together
    • Alice Marie Johnson CEO, Taking Action for Good (TAG)
    • Christina Dent Founder and President, End it for Good
    • Brittany Barnett Executive Director, Buried Alive Project
  • Post Pot Legalization: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
    • Vikrant Reddy Sr. Research Fellow, Stand Together
    • Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) U.S. House of Representatives
    • Prof. Doug Berman Professor, Ohio State University
  • We’re Spending Billions… Why Don’t We Feel Safe?
    • Sihyun Choi Managing Director, Stand Together Ventures Lab
    • Devshi Mehrotra Co-Founder, JusticeText
    • Andre McGregor Founder, ForceMetrics
    • Gabriella Wong CEO and Founder, accesSOS

About Stand Together Trust
Stand Together Trust is a grantmaking organization committed to supporting bottom-up solutions that empower people through the key institutions of society: business, communities, education, and government. Stand Together is a philanthropic community that tackles the root causes of our country’s biggest problems. Alongside inspiring partners, we drive solutions on education, economic opportunity, health care, bridging partisan divides, and dozens of other pressing issues. We can all make a greater difference by uniting on areas of common ground than we can by acting on our own. Learn more about the Stand Together community at and follow Stand Together Trust from SXSW EDU and SXSW: FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram, and YouTube.

About SXSW
South by Southwest® dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW® is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of tech, film, music, education, and culture. Learn more at

SOURCE Stand Together Trust