Lorenzo Jones is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director at the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice. He has more than 25 years of experience mentoring community leaders and organizing communities to make systemic change. As a trainer, strategist, and coach, Jones is sought after by groups across the United States and globally. Over the past 15 years, he has served as a strategic advisor and consultant to criminal justice and drug policy reform organizers and campaigns across the country. Jones’s leadership strategy focuses on teaching everyday people that they can make the change they want to see, and helping organizers understand the political terrain on which they operate.
Most recently in 2015, with gabriel sayegh and Melody Lee, Lorenzo founded and launched the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice with offices in Brooklyn, NY, Hartford, CT, and Albany, NY. Since its launch, Katal has continued to work towards justice and public health reform in both New York and Connecticut - including the decarceration of human beings in NYC jails and prisons, expanded public health services for people who use drugs, and increasing the diversion of people from arrest and the criminal justice system.
Always committed to the development of youth community organizers, Jones continued a 2013 partnership with the Perrin Family Foundation in Connecticut to build and launch BLOC. BLOC, Building Leadership and Organizing Capacity, is training small cohorts of young community organizers in Connecticut. BLOC is now the flagship organizing training program at Katal. Today through BLOC, Katal provides a one-year Community Organizing Apprenticeship to provide an on-ramp for people exploring a career in community organizing and those young people wanting to do system change and social justice work.
He lives in Hartford, Connecticut with his wife Kimberly. They have three children – Jordan, Lorenzo Jr., and Loren. Born and raised in Chicago, Jones is an avid fan of the Bears, Bulls and the Blackhawks.
Kenyatta Thompson is a Senior Community Organizer with the Katal Center for Health, Equity and Justice. Her experiences in her native Brooklyn, New York exposed her to disparities in police surveillance, access to educational opportunities and overall outcomes for those in her neighborhood. These early experiences remained with her, and propelled her to challenge the justice system.
Prior to joining Katal, Kenyatta worked as a Workforce Developer at Roca Inc. in Springfield, MA. There, she facilitated Workforce Readiness groups with young people who had been incarcerated. The disparities that existed in Brooklyn were present in Springfield, which in turn, shaped Kenyatta’s path towards justice. Previous internship experiences have also shaped her path. Kenyatta has worked with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on prison suicide prevention strategies, the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services on statewide suicide prevention policy and with State Senator Eric P. Lesser (D-Longmeadow, MA) on criminal justice reform and constituent cases in his district.
A self-described east coast nomad, Kenyatta also holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work in Hartford, CT. Outside of work, Kenyatta enjoys long walks on the beach, skateboarding through her neighborhood and re-runs of MTV’s Daria.