March Madness at VCA – Liberty & Justice For All?

Delegate Jimmie Massie Congressman Dr. David Brat Mark Gonzales Alice Patterson Don Blake Rev. Dr. Owen Cardwell

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Virginia Christian Alliance closed out the month of March with Liberty and Justice For All? on March 28th in alliance with the Frederick Douglass Foundation and the James River Metro Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. We were graciously hosted by Pastor Harold Wilson and Victory Life Fellowship Church. Plans are developing for a program in Norfolk, stay tuned.

The topics of the four-hour program were prison reform, restoration of rights, ban the box, and fatherhood restoration. Each of the speakers shared their area of expertise and participated in one of the three discussion panels (see photos below). Members of the audience were encouraged to speak and ask questions.

Delegate Jimmie Massie Congressman Dr. David Brat Mark Gonzales Alice Patterson Don Blake Rev. Dr. Owen CardwellDelegate Jimmie Massie, Congressman Dr. David Brat, Mark Gonzales, Alice Patterson, Don Blake and Rev. Dr. Owen Cardwell

Congressman Dave Brat of the central Virginia area and Virginia Delegate Jimmie Massie of Goochland attended the event and participated in the question and comment period.

VCA table at Liberty and Justice For AllTwo sponsors traveled from Texas while another traveled from Georgia to participate. They were pleased to have been part of a program with such an engaged and interested audience.

There is a national movement by Christian conservative groups to reform how felons are treated once they have completed their sentences. It was good to have Congressman Brat and Delegate Massie there to hear about the issues so many are struggling to overcome as they try to serve their sentences, maintain family connections, and re-enter society. There truly are many issues in need of reform.

Sponsors included Faith and Freedom Coalition, Justice Fellowship, and the National Black Robe Regiment.


  • Reverend Dean Nelson – Chairman, Frederick Douglass Foundation
  • Reverend Dwayne Whitehead – President, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Metro James River Chapter
  • Don Blake – Chairman, Virginia Christian Alliance
  • Reverend Dr. Owen Cardwell – Pastor, New Canaan Church Int’l & Co-Founder Family Restoration Network
  • Martin Brown – Former Special Advisor to The Governor of Virginia, Prisoner Re-entry and Family Reintegration
  • Dr. Mark Beliles – President, Global Transformation Network
  • Minister Mercedies Harris – Executive Director, Hollaback & Restore Project
  • Michael Wade – Sheriff, Henrico County
  • Reverend Dr. Leonidas Young – Founder & Pastor, New Kingdom Christian Ministries & Former Mayor, City of Richmond
  • Clovia Lawrence – Radio One, “Miss Community”
  • Heather Rice-Minus – Senior Policy Advisor, Justice Fellowship
  • Reverend Mark Gonzales – Executive Director, National Black Robe Regiment
  • Timothy Head – Executive Director, Faith & Freedom Coalition

Panel 1  Sheriff Michael Wade Rev. Dr. Leonidas Young Dr. Mark Beliles Rev. Dr. Owen CardwellPanel 1 Sheriff Michael Wade Rev. Dr. Leonidas Young Dr. Mark Beliles Rev. Dr. Owen Cardwell

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 Panel 2  Timothy Head Martin Brown Mark Gonzales Heather Rice-MinusPanel 2 Timothy Head Martin Brown Mark Gonzales Heather Rice-Minus


Martin Brown Rev. Dr. Mark Beliles Minister Mercedies Harris Rev. Dean NelsonMartin Brown, Rev. Dr. Mark Beliles,
Minister Mercedies, Harris Rev. Dean Nelson
Congressman Dr. Dave Brat Don Blake Rev. Leonidas YoungCongressman Dr. Dave Brat, VCA Chairman Don Blake,
Rev. Leonidas Young
Clovia Lawrence Sheriff Mike WadeClovia Lawrence and Sheriff Mike Wade Emmett Bailey at Alice PattersonEmmett Bailey at Author Alice Patterson’s Table
 LaJFA Heather Rice-Minus 7035Heather Rice-Minus – Senior Policy Advisor, Justice Fellowship  Pastor Harold WilsonPastor Harold Wilson, Victory Life Fellowship Church
 LaJFA Tim Head 7026Timothy Head – Exec. Dir. Faith and Freedom Coalition  Panel 3 Rev. Dr. Owen Cardwell Don Blake Mercedies HarrisPanel 3 Rev. Dr. Owen Cardwell, Don Blake, Mercedies Harris

The next program is slated for Norfolk.

The time is right for prison reforms that aren’t just evidence-based, but values-based, reflecting our beliefs in the God-given dignity, value, and potential of every human being. Justice can be restorative when we make sure that the opportunity for both accountability and redemption are balanced at the core of our criminal justice system.

Why should justice be restorative? At its heart, crime isn’t about law-breaking; it’s about violating the peace and wholeness of the entire community. Public safety may require that we lock someone up, but that alone will not heal victims or the community or change the conditions that help breed crime. When the responsible party has the opportunity for redemption and restoration — by making amends to his victims, changing his thinking, and earning back the public’s trust by living a law-abiding, constructive life upon release—the community can find healing and move beyond the vicious cycle of crime and incarceration. – Chuck Colson


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views the Virginia Christian Alliance

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Virginia Christian Alliance
The mission of the VIRGINIA CHRISTIAN ALLIANCE is to promote moral, social and scientific issues we face today from a Biblical point of view. In addition we will refute and oppose, not with hate, but with facts and humor, the secular cultural abuses that have overridden laws and standards of conduct of the past. We will encourage Christians to participate in these efforts through conferences, development of position papers, booklets and tracts, radio/TV spots, newspaper ads and articles and letters-to-the editor, web sites, newsletters and providing speakers for church and civic meetings.