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Exploring Social Justice

Exploring Social Justice

The Exploring Social Justice Series, a program cosponsored by the American University Library, the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, and the Kay Spiritual Life Center, brings to campus exemplary leaders from diverse backgrounds who have advocated for various human rights and social justice issues.

All events are free and open to the public. 

#ExploreSocialJustice

2016-2017 Events

Monica Hopkins-Maxwell

Criminal Injustice: Racial Disparities and the Criminal Justice System
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
McDowell Hall Formal Lounge
11:00am-12:30pm
Speaker: Monica Hopkins-Maxwell
RSVP Here

Racial disparities in the criminal justice system have been exacerbated over the last forty years leaving us with a criminal “injustice” system. Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, Executive Director of the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital, will discuss how policing, unnecessary incarceration, and sentencing produced this result – and what is and can be done to reduce disparities.


Allegra Chapman

The 2016 Election: What’s at Stake, Who Decides, and How We Get to Full Participation
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Mary Graydon Center, Room 3-5
11:00am-12:30pm 
Speaker: Allegra Chapman
RSVP Here

A truly functioning democracy is one in which all eligible citizens participate.  But the U.S. Is far from that goal, reaching 60% turnout on a good day.  Allegra Chapman, Director of Voting and Elections at Common Cause, will take a look at what laws and systems are keeping us from a robust democracy, what reforms are changing that, and how we collectively change the culture to encourage all Americans to get and stay involved.


David Mariner

Building Community: Making Change
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Letts Formal Lounge
11:00am-12:30pm
Speaker: David Mariner
RSVP Here

There are now more than 140 LGBT community centers in the United States, and more abroad. LGBTQ centers serve over 43,500 individuals in a typical week and refer nearly 6,000 individuals to other agencies for services and assistance. Our local LGBT Community strives to educate, empower, celebrate, and connect, our diverse local LGBTQ Communities. While DC is generally thought of as a good place for LGBTQ people to live, much work remains. Our local LGBT community center works to address health disparities & employment disparities, and works for populations with special needs like LGBTQ seniors, LGBTQ youth, and Queer Asylum Seekers and Refugees.  David Mariner, Executive Director of the DC Center for the LGBT Community, will discuss why this work is so important, and about the Center's model for building community and making change locally.

  

Yasmin Vafa

Achieving Justice for Girls: Ending the Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline for Young Women and Girls in the U.S
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
McDowell Formal Lounge
11:00am-12:30pm
Speaker: Yasmin Vafa
RSVP Here

In this presentation, Yasmin Vafa, Cofounder and Executive Director of Rights4Girls, will describe the pervasiveness of gender based violence in the U.S. and how for marginalized girls and young women, the experience of sexual violence too often leads to criminal justice involvement. The presentation will map key points in the pipeline—the detention of girls who are victims of sex trafficking; the criminalization of girls who run away from home or become truant; and those who cross from the child welfare system into juvenile justice — to create an understanding of the ways that girls, especially girls of color, are unfairly punished after their experiences of sexual and physical abuse. The presentation will also talk about ways to dismantle this unjust pipeline for girls by offering policy recommendations at both the state and federal levels as well as describing a national campaign we have launched to combat one aspect of the pipeline-- the criminalization of child sex trafficking victims for prostitution offenses. Finally, the presentation will address how confronting sex trafficking must be understood as a social, gender, and racial justice issue.


Past Events

View videos of past events on our You Tube page here.

Race, Violence, and the Police
April 7, 2016
Presented by Paul Butler

Paul Butler, Professor of Law at Georgetown University, discussed race relations, cutting edge law, sociology and legal theory on race and crime.

Justice Without Jails: Building Community-Based Alternatives to Incarceration for Criminal Justice-Involved Women
March 3, 2016
Presented by Georgia Lerner

Women's Prison Association's Executive Director, Georgia Lerner, will presented on its unique, home-based alternative to incarceration (ATI) program, JusticeHome, and how it differs from other common ATI models. Ms. Lerner identified the components of the JusticeHome model that help women achieve sobriety, increase family stability, and reduce the risk of recidivism, while avoiding incarceration and remaining in the community.

Testing: An Evidentiary Approach to Advancing Modern Civil Rights
October 29, 2015
Presented by Melvina Ford 

Melvina C. Ford, Executive Director of the Equal Rights Center in Washington, DC, discussed how her organization uses civil rights testing–where "real people" are trained as testers and placed in situations to see how they are treated in comparison to someone else–to identify and remediate discriminatory practices.

Fighting for Food Justice in a Recession
September 24, 2015
Presented by Alexander Moore

Alexander Moore, DC Central Kitchen's Chief Development Officer and author of The Food Fighters, discussed the practical and philosophical struggles faced by an iconic organization as it took on a series of generational challenges. 

The Political Culture of Forgiveness and Reconciliation
April 9, 2015
Presented by Father Leonel Narvaez

Father Leonel Narvaez, Founder and President of the Foundation for Reconciliation in Bogata, Colombia, led a discussion about overcoming political conflict with forgiveness, promoting the idea that the act of forgiveness has the power to build political spaces of respect.

New Beginnings…Building Multicultural Communities of Healing, Hope, and Joy
March 4, 2015
Presented by Deborah Drennan

Deborah Drennan, Executive Director at Freedom House has a long history working for social justice. Drennan discussed her experience working with Freedom House, an organization that offers refuge to political asylum seekers from around the world.

Red Lines
February 18, 2015
Film Screening and Presentation by Andrea Kalin

Red Lines tells the story of two Syrian activists on a mission to save their country. More information is available from www.redlinesfilm.com. Andrea Kalin (SPA/BA '82) is an Emmy Award Winning filmmaker and founder of Spark Media, a production company dedicated to producing films with a social conscience. She has worked in over 25 countries, from disaster zones to remote tropical rain forests, bringing gripping human stories to the screen.

The F Word: Images of Forgiveness
September 15- 26, 2014

The Images of Forgiveness exhibition is a thought-provoking collection
of arresting images and personal narratives exploring forgiveness in the face of atrocity. First launched in London in 2004, it has since been displayed in over 300 venues worldwide. Drawing together voices from South Africa, America, Israel, Palestine, Northern Ireland and England, the exhibition examines forgiveness as a healing process, a journey out of victimhood and, ultimately, a journey of hope.

Dead Man Walking: The Journey Continues
September 30, 2014
Presented by Sister Helen Prejean (@helenprejean)

Sister Helen Prejean discussed her experiences working with death row inmates as well as her role in sparking national dialogue on the death penalty and helping to shape the Catholic Church's newly vigorous opposition to state executions.

The Quest for Justice: An International Perspective
October 29, 2014
Presented by Reed Brody

Reed Brody is Counsel and Spokesperson for Human Rights Watch. Brody discussed his experience working with victims of dictatorships around the world, as well as other global human rights issues.

Have a question? Want to receive information about upcoming events?

Contact:
Danea Freeman
Library Programming Coordinator
202-885-3847
LibEvents@american.edu

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