Virginia State University to Host National Leaders to Discuss Criminal Justice Reform

Virginia State University has partnered with entertainment and business leaders to bring attention to the importance of criminal justice reform and advocacy. REFORM Alliance, founded by recording artist Meek Mill and others, will convene VSU students and local leaders to engage them on this critical issue.

On February 28, REFORM will visit the VSU campus and hold a series of conversations to raise awareness about the criminal justice system and activate students to get involved in criminal justice reform. This is one of the first stops by REFORM at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country.

The day will kick off with a fireside chat focusing on probation and parole reform, grassroots organizing, and how young people can become criminal justice reform advocates. The discussion will feature Robert Rooks, CEO of REFORM Alliance, and take place from 9-10:30 a.m. in the VSU Multipurpose Center.

Following the fireside chat, there will be an Instagram Live conversation conducted by VSU students and featuring influencers and tastemakers Wallo and Gillie, hosts of the popular podcast Million Dollaz Worth of Game. You can tune in via REFORM and VSU’s Instagram channels. The day will conclude with a block party, pep rally, and swag giveaways for students.

“In 2020, we launched the John Mercer Langston Institute (JMLI) for African American Political Leadership to create change makers in this country,” said Dr. Wes Bellamy, Chair of the VSU Department of Political Science and Director of the JMLI. “This event is another opportunity to continue cultivating informed black leaders at Virginia State University who will go into the community as change makers.”

“Young people have always been the engine of change for this country,” said Robert Rooks, CEO of REFORM Alliance. “If we really want to change the criminal justice system, we need young people to be involved. We are thrilled to partner with Virginia State University to inspire the next generation of criminal justice reform advocates.”

Last year, REFORM launched its HBCU partnerships with a visit to Livingstone College in North Carolina. Since its inception in 2019, REFORM has passed 16 pieces of legislation in 10 states and created pathways for 650,000 people to exit the justice system.

The nonprofit organization was founded in the wake of the #FreeMeek movement. REFORM Board Members include award-winning recording artist Meek Mill; Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin; Arnold Ventures co-founder Laura Arnold; entrepreneur and business mogul Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter; philanthropist and pediatrician Dr. Priscilla Chan; Kraft Group CEO and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft; Galaxy Digital CEO and founder Michael E. Novogratz; Vista Equity Partners founder, chairman, CEO Robert F. Smith; BSE Global Vice Chair, Founder of The Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation and Governor of the New York Liberty Clara Wu Tsai. Veteran criminal justice advocate Robert Rooks leads the organization as CEO.

To learn more about the REFORM Alliance, visit