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.
Criminal Injustice: Racial Disparities and the Criminal Justice System Wednesday, September 21, 2016 Mary Graydon Center, Conference Rooms 3-5 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.
The 2016 Election: What’s at Stake, Who Decides, and How We Get to Full Participation Wednesday, October 12, 2016 Letts Formal Lounge 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.
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.
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.
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.
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