"We Are All Criminals" Founder Emily Baxter Kicks Off 2019 Statewide Conference


As we enter the long-awaited summer months, State Support staff are working behind the scenes to prepare for this fall’s Legal Services Statewide Conference: Addressing Disparity: A Way Forward. The conference will be held Wednesday, October 23 to Friday, October 25, 2019 at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center in Alexandria, MN. Conference participants will learn about the effects of racial, economic and other disparities on our clients and ourselves and how to address them in our professional and personal lives.

The conference will kick-off on Wednesday evening, October 23, with special guest Emily Baxter, founder and executive director of We Are All Criminals (WAAC), a non-profit organization and storytelling project about privilege and dignity, helping us think about criminality with more nuance, going beyond just good guys and bad guys by challenging perceptions of what it means to be “criminal.”

Before founding WAAC , Emily served as the director of public policy at the Council on Crime and Justice and as an assistant public defender at the Regional Native Public Defense Corporation representing members of the Leech Lake and White Earth Bands of Ojibwe charged with crimes in Minnesota State court. Emily is a former fellow at the University of Minnesota Law School where she began developing WAAC through an Archibald Bush Leadership Fellowship in 2012. She now lives in Durham, NC.

Emily’s kick-off session will be a conversation about crime, privilege, punishment, and second chances. One in four people in the US has a criminal record; four in four have a criminal history. Through stories, statutes, and statistics, we’ll examine the disparate impact of the criminal and juvenile justice systems on people of color and poor people across the country. The presentation will include first-person narratives and photographs. Read more at We Are All Criminals.