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The Justice Forum: Race and Justice—Past, Present, and Future

Public Humanities, Explorations in the Public Humanities, Arts, Humanities, and the Carceral State

  • The Center for Justice at Columbia University
  • Center for the Study of Law and Culture
  • Institute for Research in African American Studies
  • Free and open to the public
  • First come, first seated

The third in a series of roundtable discussions about criminal justice in the United States, the Center for Justice at Columbia presents Race and Justice: Past, Present and Future. The most recent incidences of police killings of unarmed Black men have ignited a national discussion about race and our justice system. However, drivers of America's current state of mass incarceration such as minimum mandatory sentencing, the war on drugs, and stop and frisk, have always disproportionately impacted people of color. This roundtable examines the history of race-based injustices in America, how those practices have informed the criminal justice system today, and what implications they have for the future.

The roundtable features Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a historian, author and media commentator who is the Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and Glenn E. Martin, a national leader and criminal justice reform advocate and founder of JustLeadershipUSA. Muhammad is the author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime and the Making of Modern America (Harvard University Press). Martin, who spent six years prison, has written for the New York Times, and is a frequent guest commentator on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry. They are joined by Columbia Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Laboratory of Intergroup Relations and the Social Mind, Valerie Purdie-Vaughns, and Human Rights at Home Campaign Director, Thenjiwe McHarris. The roundtable is moderated by Columbia Dean of Social Science and Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies, Alondra Nelson, who authored Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination (University of Minnesota Press).

About The Justice Forum

Issues of mass incarceration and justice are complex and cut across many systems, structures, cultures, and communities. As such, the efforts and dialogues around changing the current criminal justice system must also cross disciplines, structures, cultures, and communities. The Justice Forum provides a space for leading thinkers in justice work from a variety of disciplines and experiences to collectively examine some of the most critical justice issues today. The Forum seeks to create a space for cross pollination of ideas and perspectives and contribute towards the efforts to rethink our current policies and practices in criminal justice.

Visit the homepage for more information on Heyman Center Public Humanities Initiative programming.

  • Glenn E. Martin Criminal Justice Reform Advocate
  • Thenjiwe McHarris Human Rights at Home Campaign Director US Human Rights Network
  • Khalil Gibran Muhammad Executive Director Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
  • Valerie Purdie-Vaughns Director Laboratory of Intergroup Relations and the Social Mind
  • Moderator Alondra Nelson Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies Columbia University