A longtime advocate for children and families, Shelby County Commissioner Henri E. Brooks' quest for fairness and justice coincides with the mission of Mothers of the NILE, a group she will address Thursday, May 9, during the grassroots advocacy organization's annual Mother's Day Dinner at First Baptist Church-Broad, 2835 Broad Ave.
The dinner is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The theme is "Who Can Impact the Future of a Child? Look in the Mirror."
"Our annual dinner is held to recognize and honor those who work consistently and diligently to support our youth. Our key note speaker, Henri Brooks, will help us not only reflect on but also re-ignite our individual commitments," said Sondra Howell, chairwoman of Mothers of the NILE.
Brooks was a key force in triggering the ongoing overhaul of Shelby County Juvenile Court. That overhaul came after a complaint she filed with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2007 sparked an investigation followed by the DOJ's blistering report of the court.
The winner of the Mothers of the NILE's fourth Spoken Word Contest also will be recognized during the dinner. The contestants are children who attend Hope Academy while they are in the Juvenile Court Detention Center. Their theme is "Man in the Mirror: Who I Was, Who I am and Who I hope to Be."
As a project of the National Institute for Law & Equity (NILE), Mothers of the NILE was organized 9 years ago as a grassroots advocacy organization to address ways to reduce the growing numbers of children entering into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.
The most recent Annual Juvenile Court Report indicated that there were over 11,000 delinquency referrals and 2,000 unruly complaints made to the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County in 2010. Mothers of the NILE's Parent Partner Program seeks to reduce school truancy through parent education. Truancy is among the unruly offenses that often are a precursor to delinquency.
Mothers of the NILE is one of the participating agencies in the Memphis and Shelby County Crime Commission's initiative on reducing youth violence.