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A'Jamal ByndonA’Jamal Byndon, a longtime advocate of social justice, poverty reduction and serving those in need in the Omaha area, starts with Douglas County on Feb. 26, 2018 as the county’s first Disproportionate Minority Contact and Compliance Coordinator.

Byndon, who most recently worked for PromiseShip (formerly known as Nebraska Families Collaborative) as its Diversity and Community Initiatives Coordinator, has more than 34 years of experience in social services and improving race relations in the community. He was one of seven founding members of Omaha Table Talk, which fostered a better understanding of racial issues and experiences of many in Omaha.

“He has been dedicated to fairness in the juvenile justice system for a long time,” said Douglas County Commissioner Chris Rodgers. “I'm glad to have him on our team to help solve this issue. He brings a fearlessness and a tact to this that I respect and I look forward to working with him.”

In this new role for Douglas County, Byndon will collect and analyze data to assist in identifying factors that contribute to Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC). He will also work with a variety of juvenile justice stakeholders and community members to guide and inform efforts leading to prevention and intervention strategies. Byndon will work with both law enforcement and judges to ensure proportional treatment for juveniles in the system.

“I’ve always wanted to work for the government as a change agent,” Byndon said. “My goal is to work with a coalition of different people to reduce the disproportionality of juveniles in the criminal justice system. We should not just throw the books at our kids. Many of these kids need mentoring, role models and institutions that support their families. We need to have some tough love and discipline, teach parenting skills to our families and get institutions and organizations to provide quality services to those in need.”

Fighting for social justice is a part of Byndon’s family history. His late mother, Lerlean N. Johnson, was one of seven women who sued Omaha Public Schools over segregation in the early 1970s and won. Byndon also served two years in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Botswana in southern Africa.

“Social justice is in my DNA,” Byndon said. “My whole career has been about serving others and I’m looking forward to this next chapter.”