Youth and Justice Forum

Youth and Justice Forum

Washington State Supreme Court Justice to Speak at Heritage University Youth and Justice Forum

Washington State Supreme Court Justice Steven Gonzalez will deliver the keynote speech during the annual Yakima Valley Youth and Justice Forum at Heritage University. The forum for middle, high school and college students takes place Friday, April 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Local law enforcement agencies, including the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office and several police chiefs from cities in the Valley as well as those from the state and federal level will participate in the forum.

The Youth and Justice Forum has three goals. The first is to educate students from under-represented communities about professions and employment opportunities in the legal system; second, to enhance students’ knowledge and education of law; and third, to help build trust between youth and those in the justice system.

New this year will be a panel of lawyers and law school students talking to college students about law school applications, attending law school, and providing information about law careers. The panel will be moderated by Federal Court Clerk, Francisco Carriedo.

Kimberly Bellamy-Thompson, Heritage University assistant professor of criminal justice says the forum is a unique opportunity to introduce young people to the personal and professional sides of justice system leaders. “These personal connections are meaningful. The Youth and Justice Forum will give students a better understanding of the justice system and the wide range of career opportunities the entire system has to offer.”

Steve González was appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court effective January 1, 2012, and subsequently won a contested race for a six-year term. Before joining the Supreme Court, Justice González served for ten years as a trial judge on the King County Superior Court hearing criminal, civil, juvenile, and family law cases. In 2015, Justice González and the other Washington Supreme court judges heard oral arguments for three cases at Heritage University visited Heritage University as part of the “traveling court” program.

For more information, contact Kimberly Bellamy-Thompson at or (509) 865-0748.