Reach Out’s Conference Is About Social Justice in Inland Empire – Press Enterprise

Inland Empire leaders working for social and racial justice recently gathered at the National Innovative Communities Conference.

Organized by Reach Out, the event took place on Tuesday, June 21 at the Riverside Convention Center.

The theme, “You Are The Fire”, called for “all leaders united in the fight for social justice and united in building an impenetrable fortress of anti-racism and support for people of color, immigrants and LGTBQ+- communities,” said a press release.

Kelli Dillon, the keynote speaker, addresses the audience at the 2022 National Innovative Communities Conference, sponsored by Reach Out and staged in downtown Riverside.  (Courtesy of Reach Out)
Kelli Dillon, the keynote speaker, addresses the audience at the 2022 National Innovative Communities Conference, sponsored by Reach Out and staged in downtown Riverside. (Courtesy of Reach Out)

Keynote speaker Kelli Dillon’s work on social justice was documented in the Emmy award-winning film “Belly of the Beast”.

Margarita Luna, of the California Endowment Center, moderated a panel discussion that asked the question, “What’s your fire?” Panelist Luz Gallegos, Executive Director of TODEC Legal Center in Perris, discussed a farmer who had died from COVID-19 when the pandemic started.

“This farmer had to continue working during the pandemic to provide for his family,” Gallegos said according to the release.

She held a photo of an elderly man who died of COVID-19, pictured with a young boy.

“This is my fire,” Gallegos said tearfully, the release reads.

From left to right, Kasey Knapper, Anita Bausley and Chelsi Hopkins perform in the 2022 National Innovative Communities sponsored by Reach Out in downtown Riverside.  Conference (courtesy of Reach Out)
From left to right, Kasey Knapper, Anita Bausley and Chelsi Hopkins perform in the 2022 National Innovative Communities sponsored by Reach Out in downtown Riverside. Conference (courtesy of Reach Out)

Other panelists included: Gabriel Maldonado, CEO of TruEvolution; Janice Rooths, CEO of RootWize; and Malek Bendelhoum, Executive Director of the Sahaba Initiative.

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