Public Health Program Social Justice Speakers Series 2017

Session 6: 11/13/17 - Addressing the Prison Epidemic: Where do we go from here?


Matthew Pillischer, JD Matthew Pillischer, JD


Matthew Pillischer is an organizer, attorney, educator, and artist. He has approached his racial and social justice work from a holistic point of view, incorporating and teaching a historical perspective, trying to build new partnerships and connections, and bringing creative approaches to tackle barriers to justice.

Matt recently joined YWCA Delaware as their Director of Racial & Social Justice. He runs a wide variety of organizing campaigns and educational events through the Racial & Social Justice program, including building Local Emergency Action & Response Networks to combat incidents of hate and discrimination, partnering with other organizations to put on forums about criminal justice reform, and building coalitions to battle structural racism and oppression across Delaware.

Matt produced and directed the documentary, Broken On All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration & New Visions for Criminal Justice in the U.S., which has won praise from institutions across America. He also began the podcast project, The Thread: a podcast against mass incarceration. He has lectured and led workshops on racial justice and social advocacy at hundreds of schools, faith institutions, and community centers across the country. His educational programs focus on galvanizing audiences to become part of movement-building to take on oppression in society today. He works closely with and on the Advisory Board of The Center for Returning Citizens in Philly. Matt also has a history of consulting and working with startup social justice and service groups like Coalition Against Mass Incarceration Philly, Incarcerated Nation Corp., Campaigns to End the New Jim Crow, as well as criminal justice reform programs of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Goldring Reentry Institute, and Pendle Hill.

Matt also does extensive film and video work-- a combination of activist and nonprofit videos, horror films, and commercial work. Previously, Matt worked as a staff attorney at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, representing low-income Philadelphians who were having employment problems due to their criminal records. He also worked as an attorney-mediator and a training manager for new mediators at the Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation.

Matt majored in filmmaking at Bennington College in 2000, became an activist in 2003, which eventually led him to obtain a JD in 2010 from Temple University Beasley School of Law.