The Ladies of Hope Ministries
Founder and Executive Director
Key Topics: The criminalization and incarceration of women and its impact on them, their families, communities and the nation. Alternatives to incarceration for women. The arbitrary use of parole and probation especially for women and how parole and probation is used as state control of individuals and communities most especially Black and Latino communities.
Bio: While in Federal Prison, Topeka K. Sam witnessed firsthand the epidemic and disparity of incarceration on women but most specifically women of color. She felt the urgency to bring the faces and voices of women in prison to the public in order to bring awareness to women’s incarceration and post-incarceration issues in order to help change the criminal legal system. In February 2016 she created the first of now 11 symposiums, Real Women Real Voices, “Where the People Meet the Policy” which focused on incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women, the children of incarcerated parents and the carceral state. This symposium sparked a wave of panels and discussions surrounding women in the criminal legal system around the country. In her prior role as national organizer for the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls she has met thousands of impacted women working on a common goal to end the incarceration of women and girls.
Ms. Sam is the founder and executive director of The Ladies of Hope Ministries – The LOHM – whose mission is to help disenfranchised and marginalized women and girls transition back into society through spiritual empowerment, education, entrepreneurship, and advocacy. She is also the founder of HOPE HOUSE NYC – a safe housing space for women and girls recently released from prison. Topeka serves on the board of directors for Grassroots Leadership and Operation Restoration. She is a Beyond the Bars 2015 Fellow and a 2016 Justice-In-Education Scholar at Columbia University, a 2017 Soros Justice Advocacy Fellow working on Probation and Parole Accountability, Director of the #Dignity Campaign for #cut50 and the host of “Last Mile Second Chances” on Sirius XM Urban View Channel 126 every Sundays 9am est.
Selected Speaking Experience
- John Legend Speaks With the Entrepreneurs of Unlocked Futures
- TEDxMidAtlantic 2017 by Topeka Sam
- In December 2017, Topeka was one of three women who met with Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Lee, Shelia Jackson Lee and 17 other members of the Democratic Women's Working Group where she spoke with them about the realities faced every day by incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women.
A December 31st, 2017 article in the NY Times, forcused on the challenges of opening Hop House (A House for Women Leaving Prison Sits Empty). Topeka's op-ed on the broken and the arbitrariness of probation and paroles was published widely, It's Time to Overhaul America's Broken Probation and Parole Systems.