Home > Event > Leadership and Advocacy Summit | Closing the Gap: Bold Moves to Advance Equity
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Date(s) - 05/14/2021
12:00 pm - 4:00 pm


What’s Happening Is Alarming. Let’s Take Action.

Maryland ranks 43rd for children living in poverty in which nearly 160,000 young people live in poor families. Black youth arrest rates are 3 times higher than White youth. Black infant mortality is 3 times higher than with White babies.

That’s why you should register today for the day of dynamic panels and hear from Chef Jeff Henderson at the 2021 Leadership and Advocacy Summit Closing the Gap: Bold Moves to Advance Equity on Friday, May 14, 2021 from 12-4 p.m. ET 

Chef Jeff is a New York Times Best-Selling Author, an Award-Winning Chef that was featured on OWN and the Food Network Television.  He will be speaking about the power of potential and will share his work at the Chef Jeff Project as a means to unlock the potential in young people. His program works to heal childhood trauma, to provide life lessons through lived experiences and to use of the culinary arts to create unique workforce opportunities for justice involved youth.

The event will also feature Spoken Word Artist and Richmond History Makers Honoree, Chloe Edwards. Ms. Edwards is a Policy Analyst at Voices for Virginia’s Children and leads policy and advocacy work in domains related to the social determinants of health (SDOH) with a focus on healthcare, family economic security, trauma-informed care and equity. In addition, last year Ms. Edwards founded Virginia’s first Racial Truth and Reconciliation Week, which was recognized by Governor Ralph Northam. Now, the initiative has evolved into a campaign that empowers the voices and experiences of marginalized communities in acknowledgement of truth to promote healing, reconciliation, and justice.

Who should attend: Anyone! From young people, educators, community members, advocates, executives, and health professionals to legislators who want to explore the root causes of  disparities in education, youth justice reform, child welfare, and explore the critical actions necessary for systemic change.

What’s in it for you:

Connect with subject matter experts and stay engaged. Now more than ever you need answers for today’s critical questions to solve local issues with colleagues just like you.

Gain action steps, insights, and accountability. Our data and analysis will make it clear.  ACY’s policy experts will share bold strategies and the real-life advocacy needed work for accountability.

Being a part of a community.  Your participation is at the right place and at the right time to influence change in your community.


Summit Schedule At-A-Glance

Closing the Gap:  Bold Moves to Advance Equity

Welcome                               12:00 p.m.

Performance                        12:10 p.m. – 12:20 p.m.  Spoken Word – Chloe I. Edwards 


12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. + Q&A until 1:20 p.m.

Keynote:  Chef Jeff Henderson – From Prisons to Kitchens – Using the culinary arts to positively change the lives of youth.

Advocacy & Leadership Part I                1:30 p.m. – 2:20 p.m.
More than Reading, Writing and Arithmetic

Invited Panelists: Melissa Rock, Shanetta Martin, Rick Tyler, Nonso Umunna and Joy Lawson (TBD).

  • Dialogue about the educational supports and social dynamics of food security, mental and physical wellness, and the impact of community on schools (Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, etc.).
  • Explore health equity explained and examined: COVID relief, vaccinations, etc.
  • Highlight maternal mortality and morbidity rate among Black/African-America, Hispanic/Latino, Native/Indigenous, Asian/Pacific Islander Americans and ways to address it

ACY Pillar: Academically Prepared Youth


Advocacy & Leadership Part II 2:30 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.
Way Overdue: Reforms to Address Inequities

Invited Panelists: Rev. Marlon Tilghman, James Dold, Shahrazad Haughton (TBD), Rachel White and Nonso Umunna

With the defeat of the youth justice reform omnibus bill, what does it mean for Black/African-America, Hispanic/Latino, Native/Indigenous, Asian/Pacific Islander American youth and socioeconomically disenfranchised?

  • Screening: Rethink Baltimore video discussion following called:
    • Having Our Say: A youth and community perspective on youth justice reform
  • It’s Going On: Systemic Dismantling of Families: Youth in the child welfare system and addressing inequities in education, health, shelter, and reunification
  • Health equity explained and examined: COVID relief, vaccinations, etc.

ACY Pillar: Fair, Unbiased Treatment

Closing Session and Performance – TBD                        3:30 p.m. – 3:40pm

Dialogue/Summary of Thoughts   3:40 – 4:00 p.m.

Tickets: $99 for ACY Circle Members and $139 general admission.

Event proceeds go toward hiring and retaining top talent to continue our systems change work; engaging our influential coalition to speak truth to power; as well as gathering, monitoring, and analyzing data to ensure that every young person has equitable resources and opportunities to achieve their full potential. 


Who is Chef Jeff?
Jeff Henderson started his culinary career in the unlikeliest of places, prison. While serving nearly ten years he discovered his passion for cooking which led to executive chef positions at some of the top hotels and resorts in the country.  He launched The Chef Jeff Project in 2020 with a mission to change the lives of young disadvantaged, and system-impacted men and women in the Las Vegas community.

Jeff’s inspiring story has been featured on Oprah’s Life Class, Good Morning America, Today Show, ABC World News Tonight, CNN, The Steve Harvey Show, and in major publications such as The New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, People Magazine, the Washington Post, and many others.

When Jeff is not traveling the world teaching his life-changing lessons, he resides in Las Vegas with his wife Stacy and their five children.

To find out more about Chef Jeff and the Chef Jeff Project, click here.

Photo courtesy of the Food Network