Symposium Speaker Bios
Kofi Ademola is a prison & police abolitionist who is currently an adult advisory for the youth led violence prevention org called GoodKids MadCity. He is a former leader with BLM Chicago who co-organized getting the consent decree developed and passed. He’s dedicated his life to the Pan African struggle for Black liberation & sovereignty, while also fighting to dismantle white supremacy and racial capitalism.
Sheila A. Bedi
Bocanegra holds both a master’s and bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago and Northeastern Illinois University, respectively. Previously he served on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Commission for a Safer Chicago, and most recently he co-chaired Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Public Safety and Accountability Commission for a Safer Chicago.
Father David Kelly
Fr. Kelly worked for Kolbe House at Assumption, a parish-based jail ministry of the Archdiocese of Chicago, for 35 years. For more than 30 years, he has worked as a chaplain in Cook County Jail and Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. He has experience working in jails/prisons in Ohio and Florida. He received his B.S. in Bio-Chemistry from St. Joseph’s College, a Masters of Divinity, Masters of Arts in Cross Cultural Studies and a Doctorate of Ministry (D.Min) from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. His doctoral thesis is entitled Responding to Violence among Urban Youth: a Restorative Approach. He has been trained and certified as a mediator from DePaul University, as well as in the restorative practice of Peacemaking Circles.
Sharone Mitchell Jr.
With a team of undergraduate and graduate students at his lab, Vargas is involved in three urban comparative historical research projects: first, on the effects of redistricting on spatial inequality, second, on block-level historical trajectories of homicide in Chicago, New Orleans, and San Francisco from 1870 to the present, and third, on the relationship between police departments and universities.