Black History Month to focus on prisons

Dr. Betty Shabazz.
AP Photo/Patrick J. Cunningham
AP Photo/Patrick J. Cunningham

City College will host an annual Black History Month symposium focusing on the criminal justice system and how it impacts on society. Hosted by the Black Studies Department, the Feb. 14 event is expected to highlight some of the concerns inmates face when confined to State prison facilities during two two-hour panel discussions.

Entitled “Confronting the Carceral State II” invited activists, scholars and exonerated individuals will discuss topics relevant to some of the most controversial trials in the USA.

Beginning 1:00 p.m. at Shepard Hall and the Great Hall at City College, Convent Ave. at 140th St. various panelists will spotlight specific topics and issues. The first will be moderated by Prof. Yohuru Williams, Fairfield University, who will speak on the theme “I am Troy Davis: The execution narrative and the politics of race in 21st century America.”

During that same period, Prof. Donna Murch, Rutger’s University will discuss “Towards a social history of crack: Drugs and youth culture in the age of Reagan.”

Also on the agenda, Prof. Heather Thompson, Temple University will speak on “Ending today’s carceral crisis: Lessons from history.”

And the topic of “Occupied Blackness: Urban policing and the inevitability of stop and frisk,” will be addressed by Khalil Muhammad, director, Schomburg Center for Research In Black Culture.

Later that afternoon, the historical perspectives of the initial theme will unite activists and exonerated individuals to recall the Central Park Jogger Trial, The on-going case involving Mumia Abu-Jamal and similar felonious trials.

Prof. Johanna Fernandez, Baruch College will discuss “The New Phase in the Struggle to Release Mumia.” Prof. Javier Cardona, arts & education director whose focus on rehabilitation through the arts will speak on the topic: “Doing Hope: Applying the Arts to Rehearse and Re-Create Life Within and Outside Prison.” Prof. Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Graduate Center, CUNY — “The Popular Front Against Mass Incarceration: Movement, Perils, Prospects;” Vanessa Potkin, Senior Attorney, The Innocent Project — “Addressing Wrongful Convictions;” King Downing, Program Analysts, American Friends Service Committee –“Doing Justice Work;” and Raymond Santana and Kairey Wise who were wrongly convicted in the controversial Central Park Jogger’s case are slated to speak.

Shabazz Center To Exhibit “Freedom’s Sisters”

Dr. Betty Shabazz is one of 20 women featured in a new exhibition slated to open on Feb. 2 at the cultural center named in honor of her martyred husband El Malik Shabazz AKA Malcolm X.

The national exhibit features 20 African-America women ranging from key 19th century historical figures such as Ida B. Wells to contemporary leaders such as poet and activist and Harlem native Sonia Sanchez. Their stories of courage, commitment and struggle in the name of freedom helped shape the spirit and substance of civil rights in America.

The exhibition is an extraordinary multi-media and interactive presentation celebrating the lives and contributions of 20 exceptional African American women of the late 19th and 20th centuries and, their contributions to the cause of Civil and Human Rights in the United States of America.

“It is our great privilege to bring the exhibition to the Shabazz Center. The women honored in Freedom’s Sisters are an inspiration to people of all ages and backgrounds” Pamela Alexander, director, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services said.

“Through this collaboration we celebrate the accomplishments of an outstanding group of women who profoundly impacted our country and our world.”

“The Shabazz Center is extremely honored to host this powerful exhibition,” Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, Zead Ramadan said.

“The life stories of these extraordinary women embody and exemplify the struggle for civil and human rights in late 19th and 20th century. These stories will come to life anew for people of all ages when visiting the center early in 2012.”

*who was widowed when her husband was slain in the south while working for the NAACP is also included in the exhibition.

“These 20 women left not a footnote but a footprint on American history,” Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service Director Anna R. Cohn said. “Many of their stories may not be well known, but their roles and contributions were monumental in shaping our country and its conscience.”

Catch You on The Inside!

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