Judge Victoria Pratt selected as keynote speaker for 38th Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon

Victoria Pratt in a library wearing her judge's robe
(Photo by Michael Appleton)

YPSILANTI — Join Eastern Michigan University for a week-long Martin Luther King Jr. celebration starting on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, where the university will welcome Judge Victoria Pratt as the keynote speaker during the luncheon from 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. Pratt is noted for her commitment to reforming the criminal justice system and was formerly a professor of practice at Rutgers Law School, in the school of Criminal Justice, in Newark.

Pratt is committed to reforming the criminal justice system. While a part of the Newark Community Solutions she provided alternatives to incarceration to low-level offenders. Knowing the extremities that poor, mentally ill, black, and brown people face in the criminal justice system, during her time as Newark’s Municipal Court’s chief judge, she learned how to deliver justice in a specific manner that increased individuals’ trust and changed behaviors for the better. 

Her TED Talk, “How Judges Can Show Respect” has impacted courts across the world. Pratt’s words have been translated into 11 different languages resulting in one million views on the TED Talk website and 28 million views on Facebook. Her work has been featured in The Guardian, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry Show, PBS, and NPR with Terry Gross. She is also a published author with her book “The Power of Dignity: How Transforming Justice Can Heal Our Communities,” including a foreword by Senator Cory Booker.

Pratt continues her journey of criminal justice reform with her current role as executive director at Odyssey Impact, a nonprofit focused on social justice issues, based in New York. She also has a consulting firm, Pratt Lucien Consultants, LLC, which advises federal, state and local governments in the United States and internationally on how to restore respect to their criminal justice processes.

To learn more about Pratt’s accomplishments and goals visit the website. Tickets for the luncheon are on sale now for faculty, students, staff, and the community retailing at $35. To purchase tickets, click here. To learn about more events taking place during the week-long MLK celebration, visit the webpage.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

December 06, 2023

Written by:
Caitlin Michael

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher