News

Columbia’s Heyman Center and The Center for Justice collaborate to present Justice Programming

Public Humanities, Justice-in-Education

February 2, 2015

Columbia’s Heyman Center for the Humanities and The Center for Justice

Collaborate to Present Justice Programming

Media Contact: Nick Obourn, 212-854-4870, [email protected]

January, 2015—This spring, the Heyman Center for the Humanities Public Humanities Initiative and The Center for Justice at Columbia University collaborate to present programming on justice through poetry, documentary film, and roundtable discussion.

Never before has there been a more pressing moment to discuss the subject of criminal and social justice in America. Spurred by the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, among others, the national conversation has turned to definitions of justice in relation to race, the rights of the accused, and racial inequities within the justice system. Three important spring events presented by the Heyman Center Public Humanities Initiative and The Center for Justice serve to further this discussion:

  • Justice Poetry: Readings and Discussion with Claudia Rankine, Dawn Lundy Martin, and Messiah Ramkissoon, February 24, 2015
  • “The Cooler Bandits”: Film Screening and Discussion, February 26, 2015
  • The Justice Forum: Race and Justice – Past, Present and Future, March 10, 2015

Event admission is free and open to the public. Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis. For more information, visit The Heyman Center Public Humanities Initiative events page.

Event Details
Justice Poetry: Readings and Discussion with Claudia Rankine, Dawn Lundy Martin, and Messiah Ramkissoon
Tuesday, February 24, 2015, 6:15pm
Schapiro Center, Davis Auditorium (500 West 120th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam)

This event features Claudia Rankine, award-winning poet and author of Citizen, finalist for the 2014 National Book Award and praised in The New York Times (December 24, 2014), The New Yorker (October 27, 2014 issue), and on The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC (December 18, 2014). Rankine will be joined by Dawn Lundy Martin, award-winning poet and activist, and Messiah Ramkissoon, poet, emcee, youth activist, and three-time winner at The Apollo. They will read from their work addressing issues of justice and discuss the events and experiences that inspire them as artists and activists. Joining the dialogue will be Columbia School of the Arts Professor Timothy Donnelly, award-winning poet and Poetry Editor of Boston Review.

Film Screening and Discussion: “The Cooler Bandits”
Thursday, February 26, 2015, 6pm
Jerome Greene Hall Room 106 Columbia Law School (435 West 116th Street at Amsterdam)

“The Cooler Bandits” documents the lives of four men from Akron, Ohio who were collectively sentenced to up to 500 years in prison for committing a series of restaurant robberies as teenagers, in which no one was physically injured. During the robberies the men locked employees in walk-in coolers, gaining them the moniker “the Cooler Bandits.” From 2006-2013, director John Lucas followed the lives of these men during their incarceration and their fight to reintegrate into society after their release. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Lucas, two of “the Cooler Bandits,” Donovan Harris and Richard Roderick, the film’s producer and editor, Sam and Jason Pollard, respectively. The discussion will be moderated by Columbia School of the Arts Professor Jamal Joseph: director, writer, producer, and author of Panther Baby (Algonquin Books).

Watch the trailer for “The Cooler Bandits.” Read coverage on Indiewire (September 10, 2014), The Huffington Post (July 13, 2012), and MacArthur Foundation (July 11, 2012).

The Justice Forum: Race and Justice - Past, Present and Future
Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 6:15pm
Jerome Greene Hall Room 104, Columbia Law School (435 West 116th Street at Amsterdam)

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. Participants include Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, author and Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and Glenn E. Martin, Founder of JustLeadershipUSA. Muhammad’s interview with Bill Moyers was recently featured in Moyers & Company “Racism in America: How did we get here?” (January 1, 2015). Martin, who spent six years prison, has written for the New York Times (January 13, 2014) and is a frequent guest commentator on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry (July 13, 2014, April 26, 2014 and July 13, 2013).

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About the Heyman Center for the Humanities
The Heyman Center for the Humanities provides the intellectual and physical space for interdisciplinary discussions among members of the Columbia community and the New York City public. It brings together faculty and students from across the university to share thinking, debate ideas, and collectively consider methodological, conceptual, and ethical issues of common interest and concern. It sponsors fellowships and public programming, fosters scholarly and artistic collaborations, and offers meeting spaces for its various affiliated members. In 2014, the Heyman Center for the Humanities established a Public Humanities Initiative. Its mission is to foster and enhance community engagement with the humanities at Columbia and university engagement with Columbia’s diverse neighboring communities.

About The Center for Justice at Columbia University
The Center for Justice at Columbia University is committed to reducing the nation’s reliance on incarceration and advancing alternative approaches to safety and justice through education, research and policy. Its mission is to help transform a criminal justice system from one that is driven by punishment and retribution to one that is centered on prevention and healing. The Center is interdisciplinary and built around community collaboration. It works in partnership with schools, departments, centers and institutes across Columbia, other universities, government agencies, community organizations, advocates and those directly affected by the criminal justice system.