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April 14, 2022

3 Reasons You Can’t Miss TEDxSanQuentin on April 28

Checkr Editorial

Missed the transformative virtual premiere of TEDxSanQuentin featuring over 20 speakers challenging fears after prison? Watch all the sessions by clicking here.

At Checkr, we are honored to support the creation of TEDxSanQuentin: Challenging Fears After Prison, a virtual event to educate and inspire you. The virtual event will premiere on April 28th, 2022, featuring formerly and currently incarcerated speakers and performers, as well as experts at the forefront of reentry and fair chance hiring.

In America, one in three adults has an arrest or conviction history. Every year, over 600,000 individuals return to their communities and the workforce after being incarcerated. This population faces formidable challenges when applying for jobs, securing housing, and breaking down deeply-rooted stigmas. TEDxSanQuentin will illuminate the fears outsiders feel and push attendees to think differently about hiring and helping the formerly incarcerated rejoin society. 

The day will shine a light on what it’s like to transition from prison to free society through poignant, sometimes funny, sometimes gut-wrenching stories and performances. In turn, expect to walk away with a deep understanding of the struggles this resilient community faces, and see a vision for a brighter and fairer future where every person in the United States has a fair chance to join, contribute and thrive in society. 

Below are four reasons why you can’t miss this opportunity for learning, laughter, growth, and understanding. We hope to see you there!

1. Aaron “Showtime” Taylor to Host TEDxSanQuentin 


There are few people whose energy burns brighter than that of Aaron “Showtime” Taylor. Showtime developed a craft for sports announcing during his time at San Quentin State Prison. Following his release after 26 years, Showtime served as the Golden State Warriors guest public-address announcer and has been celebrated by Stephen Curry. Learn more about Showtime in ESPN’s recent story here.

Away from the bright lights of the court, he faced consistent struggles to balance public and private life, navigating reentry and establishing life after prison. He credits his current success in part to programs and resources that allowed him to process and manage his emotions.

Showtime will emcee TEDxSanQuentin, carrying us through the day with his captivating presence as we challenge fears surrounding reentry. 

2. The most diverse and inspiring lineup of stories you’ll ever come across 


TEDxSanQuentin features over 20 inspirational speakers and performers; innovators, storytellers, experts, and changemakers. Their stories are encouraging, heartening, energizing and provoking—each session offers a chance to evolve our thinking and open our minds to innovative solutions. Here are a few of the speakers you’ll hear from on April 28: 

Earlonne Woods, Co-Creator, Host & Producer at Ear Hustle

Earlonne Woods is an author, co-creator, producer and co-host of award-winning Ear Hustle, a podcast that brings the daily realities of life inside prison and stories from the outside post-incarceration.

In 1997, Woods was sentenced to 31-years-to-life in prison. While incarcerated, he received his GED, attended Coastline Community College, and completed many vocational trade programs. In November 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown commuted Earlonne’s sentence after 21 years of incarceration. Upon his release, Earlonne was hired by PRX as a full-time producer for Ear Hustle, and he continues to work with Nigel, contributing stories about reentry. 

In Earlonne’s session at TEDxSanQuentin, he shares his journey of personal transformation and sheds light on systemic injustices like the Three Strikes Law that has greatly limited the growth and success of so many justice-impacted individuals.

Dr. Annelies Goger, Fellow at Brookings Institution

Dr. Annelies Goger is passionate about closing the opportunity gap and recalibrating our economy and society so that it works for more people. She is currently working with Brookings Senior Fellow, Dr. Rashawn Ray, on a project to scale access to quality educational opportunities, job readiness, and experiential learning for people transitioning from prison to employment using virtual reality technologies.

In her session at TEDxSanQuentin, Dr. Goger shares three practical steps to improving reentry so that people coming home from prison can successfully transition back into our communities and break the cyclical nature of incarceration.

Xavier McElrath-Bey, Co-Executive Director at Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth 

Xavier McElrath-Bey serves as Co-Executive Director of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth (CFSY) and is a Co-Founder of the Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network. He has fought to abolish life without parole for children in America and has played a role in ending this practice in several states including Nevada, Utah, Arkansas, South Dakota, and North Dakota. 

At age 13, Xavier was arrested, charged with a gang-related murder, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. While incarcerated, Xavier decided to change for the better, and he was released after serving 13 years. 

Learn more about Xavier’s story in this video from the The Marshall Project.

In his session at TEDxSanQuentin, Xavier will speak on the ways our justice system fails the children in our country. 

Rudy Corpuz Jr., Founder and Executive Director at United Playaz

Rudy is the Founder and Executive Director of United Playaz, a longstanding violence-prevention organization that has served the children and families of San Francisco and the South of Market (SOMA) since the early 90s. A native of the SOMA, Rudy came up in the 70s and 80s surrounded by the difficult realities of the neighborhood: drugs, gangs, and crime. 

In his quarter century of service, Rudy has established himself and his dedicated United Playaz team as indispensable stewards of the SOMA community, providing safe and reliable year-round spaces for kids to learn and grow, while simultaneously working with former prisoners to build job skills and welcome them back into the community.

Learn more about Rudy’s story and United Playaz in this segment from CBS.

At TEDxSanQuentin, Rudy helps bring light to the truth that those closest to the problem are also closest to the solution. His experience growing up in the streets allows him to deeply understand and support others with similar backgrounds and environments.

And that’s just the beginning! Find the full list of speakers here to learn more about what you can expect on April 28. 

3. Facing fears to build a better future 

Whether you’re trying to build a fair opportunity hiring program, interested in learning about reentry, or just curious to find out what it means to challenge fears—there is something for everyone at TEDxSanQuentin

Our theme to showcase life in the prison system and the realities of reentry to the outside community covers many topics, including how the outside community can benefit from helping this population. 

Currently, in the US, we’re facing racially motivated police violence and a deeply rooted school-to-prison pipeline. We’re facing labor shortages and a complete reimagining of workplace diversity.

These are far-reaching themes that touch us all whether directly or indirectly. No matter your reasons for joining, you will walk away with new perspective and insight on the struggles one in three of our fellow citizens face, and see a vision for a fairer future that creates opportunities for all. 

Register today for the virtual premiere of TEDxSanQuentin: Challenging Fears After Prison


TEDxSanQuentin promises to pull back the curtain on societal failures while celebrating human resilience, growth and perseverance. Hear stories of implausible success, heartbreaking loss, and remarkable strength in the face of adversity.

Missed the event? Watch now and be inspired by the unbelievable hardiness and vigor of a community who dares to transform punitive systems into healing ones, and who defy the status quo to change the world for the better. Click below to see all TEDxSanQuentin sessions.

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Watch all TEDxSanQuentin sessions by clicking below.

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