A More Human Dwelling Place: Reimagining the Racialized Architecture of America

A Michigan Journal of Race & Law Symposium

Ann Arbor, Michigan – February 16-17, 2018

 

About:

Presented by the Michigan Journal of Race & Law, “A More Human Dwelling Place: Reimagining the Racialized Architecture of America” was a symposium which took place on February 16 and 17 at the University of Michigan Law School.

Over two days, we examined five archetypal spaces in America: homes and neighborhoods, schools, courthouses, prisons, and borders. The symposium considered the ways in which these spaces have become increasingly racialized, diagnosed how that racialization impedes their basic functioning, and reimagined these spaces at their best, and our world as a more human dwelling place. James Baldwin gave us this name, embedded in his imperative “to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through vast forests, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.”

The symposium brought together individuals working to better these spaces, hailing from many disciplines, including law, history, sociology, journalism, literature, architecture, urban planning, and visual art. Together, we tried to conceptualize forgotten or not yet dreamed of alternatives. Through discussions of projects already realized and ideas not yet concrete, we collectively inched toward the world we wish to inhabit.

 

Schedule & Videos:

February 16, 2018

Registration

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Introductory Remarks

10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

Keynote Address

10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Michelle Jones, Historian, Advocate, Artist

1.

Homes & Neighborhoods: Policing & Community Development

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Harley Etienne, Assistant Professor, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan

Bryan C. Lee, Director of Design, Colloqate

Christy Lopez, Distinguished Visitor from Practice, Georgetown University Law Center

Moderated by David Thacher, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Associate Professor of Urban Planning, University of Michigan

Lunch

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

2.

Homes & Neighborhoods: Heightened Scrutiny of Parents & Households in Minority Neighborhoods

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Erin Cloud, Team Leader and Supervising Attorney, Family Defense Practice, The Bronx Defenders

Ubaldo Fernandez, Housing Attorney, East Bay Community Law Center; Clinical Supervisor, Berkeley School of Law

Tracy Green, Attorney

Moderated by Karyn Lacy, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Michigan

3.

Schools: School Resegregation & Police in Schools

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Jenny Egan, Juvenile Public Defender, Maryland Office of the Public Defender

DeRay McKesson, Civil rights activist

DeMar Pitman, Founder and Executive Director, Discriminology

Moderated by Derrick Darby, Professor of Philosophy, University of Michigan

Break

2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

4.

Courthouses: Over-criminalization & the Indigent Defense Crisis

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Stephen Hanlon, General Counsel, National Association for Public Defense

Eve Primus, Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

Jonathan Rapping, Founder, Gideon’s Promise

Moderated by Imran Syed, Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, Michigan Innocence Clinic

5.

Courthouses: Mass Justice

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Ingrid Eagly, Professor of Law, University of California, Los Angeles

Thomas Harvey, National Director of Strategic Partnerships and Advocacy, The Bail Project

Alec Karakatsanis, Founder and Executive Director, Civil Rights Corps

Moderated by Amanda Alexander, Assistant Professor and Postdoctoral Scholar in Afro-American Studies and Law at the University of Michigan

February 17, 2018

Registration

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

1.

Borders: Surveillance at the Border

8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Margaret Hu, Associate Professor of Law, Washington and Lee University School of Law

Julian Sanchez, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute

Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project

Moderated by  Jonathan Weinberg, Associate Dean for Research, Wayne Law

 

2.

Borders: Migration & Exclusion

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Astrid Dominguez, Director, ACLU Regional Center for Border Rights

Jenna M. Loyd, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Javier Zamora, Poet

Moderated by Sherrie Kossoudji, Associate Professor of Social Work and Adjunct Associate Professor of Economics, University of Michigan

 

3.

Prisons: Solitary Confinement, Mental Health, & Access to Healthcare in Prisons

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Dolores Canales, Co-founder of California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement

Rick Raemisch, Executive Director, Colorado Dept. of Corrections

jackie sumell, Artist, “The House That Herman Built” and “Solitary Gardens”

Moderated by Deborah LaBelle, Attorney and Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Juvenile Life Without Parole Initiative

Lunch

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

4.

Prisons: Education & Reentry

12:00 p.m. -1:00 p.m.

Marcus Bullock, Chief Executive Officer of Flikshop

Topeka Sam, Founder, The Ladies of Hope Ministries

Sherrill Roland, Artist, The Jumpsuit Project

Moderated by Amanda Alexander, Assistant Professor and Postdoctoral Scholar in Afro-American Studies and Law at the University of Michigan

Closing: Poems by Reginald Dwayne Betts, Poet and Lawyer

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Speakers & Moderators:

Keynote

Michelle Jones, historian, advocate, and artist

Michelle Jones is a first-year doctoral student in the American Studies program at New York University.  She is a Research Fellow at the Charles Warren Center for American Studies at Harvard University.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Ball State University.  Following graduation, Michelle completed a four-year seminary ministerial diploma from the University of the South.  Her interest in history, women, race, and prisons led her for the last four years to participate with a group of incarcerated scholars in challenging the narratives of the history of women’s prison. Incarcerated for twenty years, Michelle made the most of the academic platform given to publish and present her research findings and dispel notions of about the reach and intellectual capacity of justice-involved women.  Michelle’s advocacy extends beyond the classroom.   She is currently on the board of Constructing Our Future, a reentry alternative for women, created by incarcerated women in Indiana, wherein they are given access to rehabilitative programming, carpentry job skills and the means to earn their own home.  In addition, she has presented legislative testimony on a reentry alternative she created for long-term incarcerated people that was approved by the Indiana State Interim Committee on the Criminal Code.  Michelle is also an artist and is interested in finding ways to funnel her research pursuits into theater and dance, including writing an original play, “The Duchess of Stringtown,” which showed in New York City and Indianapolis in fall 2017.

 

Panelists

Marcus Bullock, Chief Executive Officer of Flikshop

Marcus Bullock is an entrepreneur, justice reform advocate, and public speaker. Following his 2004 release from prison, he launched a painting business and is now CEO of construction firm Perspectives Premier Contractors, which employs other returning citizens. Bullock is also founder and CEO of mobile app Flikshop, a free app that enables incarcerated people the ability to receive postcards in the mail from friends and support organizations. Flikshop ships postcards to over 2,200 correctional facilities around the country, connecting thousands of families to their incarcerated loved ones. Flikshop has become a leader in their industry, and led Bullock to co-found Washington, DC non-profit Flikshop School of Business, a program that teaches persons returning to their community from prison life skills, entrepreneurship, and mobile application development. He is a member of the Justice Policy Institute’s board of directors, has been appointed by Washington, DC’s mayor as a Commissioner for Reentry and Returning Citizens Affairs, and Aspen Institute Scholar. Notable awards that Bullock has won are the 2015 Innovator of the Year (The Daily Record) and 2016 Booz Allen Hamilton Aspen Ideas award (The Aspen Institute). Married with two children, Bullock has given a TEDx Talk and received coverage from CNN, TechCrunch, Black Enterprise, NPR, and the Washington Business Journal.

Dolores Canales, Co-founder of California Families Against Solitary Confinement

Dolores Canales is the co-founder of California Families Against Solitary Confinement (CFASC) that rose in response to the 2011 Pelican Bay- California prisoner hunger strikes. As a 2014 Soros Justice Fellow, she also founded Family Unity Network, an organization meant to advocate for the families of incarcerated people, who are often the silent victims of mass incarceration. Additionally, Dolores is a member of the Unlock the Box National Steering Committee Against Solitary Confinement, Board Member of the National Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, and Advisory Board Member of Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB). It was her personal experiences being formerly incarcerated for over 20 years, and witnessing her son’s participation in the 2011 and 2013 hunger strikes that moved her to become involved in anti-prison organizing. Dolores has largely focused on reconnecting and empowering families. She has sponsored multiple bus trips to Pelican Bay for family members that lack funds and/or have been unable to visit their loved one in prison – at times for over a decade. While prisons are designed to separate and destroy families, Dolores aspires to create strong communities by building powerful advocacy movements and support networks that are led by family members and formerly incarcerated people. Dolores was recently awarded by the Orangewood Children’s Foundation for her work as a youth coordinator with young girls 18-22 that have been raised in the foster care system. It is Dolores’s life passion to give back to communities affected by incarceration.

Erin Cloud, Team Leader and Supervising Attorney, Family Defense Practice, The Bronx Defenders

Erin Cloud is a Supervising Attorney and Team Leader at the Bronx Defenders, a holistic public defense office located in the South Bronx.  She specializes in Family Defense, representing men and women entrenched in the child welfare system.  She has published articles and given lectures on the racial disproportionality of the child welfare system, and its impact on black and brown women and children.  In collaboration with the greater fight for reproductive justice for all women of color, she works with Black Mamas Matters to increase equity in maternal outcomes for all black women. She is a graduate of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and Fordham Law School.

Astrid Dominguez, Director, ACLU Regional Center for Border Rights

Astrid works on state and federal immigration issues. She joined the ACLU of Texas in May 2012 as a Border Rights Fellow coordinating the U.S.-Mexico Binational Abuse Documentation Project at the Texas border. Until October 2016 she led the Lower Rio Grande Valley office as Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, focusing her work on border residents’ and migrants’ civil and human rights. She played a leadership role in a coalition of community organizations committed to bringing transparency and accountability to CBP (Customs and Border Protection), the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, and was at the front lines of ACLU’s response to the increased migration of children and families from Central America. Prior to joining the ACLU of Texas, Astrid worked for the Mexican Foreign Ministry at the Consulates of Brownsville, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona. During her time at the Mexican Foreign Ministry, Astrid worked on civil rights violations issues at the border and in detention centers; she worked closely with the Mexican Communities Abroad. Astrid also participated in negotiations leading to a local Memorandum of Understanding on the Safe, Orderly, Dignified and Humane Repatriation of Mexican Nationals between the U.S. and Mexico. In 2018, Astrid was appointed to serve as director of the ACLU Regional Center for Border Rights (RCBR).

Ingrid Eagly, Professor of Law, University of California, Los Angeles

Ingrid Eagly’s primary interests include immigration law, criminal adjudication, evidence, and public interest lawyering. Eagly’s recent scholarship explores access to counsel in immigration court, the treatment of non-citizens in the criminal justice system, the use of technology in the courtroom, and the changing role of institutional public defenders. Prior to joining the faculty at UCLA, Eagly served as a trial attorney for the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Los Angeles. Eagly’s recent scholarship has appeared in New York University Law Review, the Northwestern University Law Review, the UCLA Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal, among others.

Jenny Egan, Juvenile Public Defender, Maryland Office of the Public Defender

Jenny Egan is a juvenile public defender in Baltimore, MD where she focuses on school-based arrests and ending the school-to-prison pipeline. Jenny is a co-founder of the Baltimore Action Legal Team (BALT) which provides legal support to the local movement for Black lives in the fight against injustices rooted in structural racism and economic inequality. Prior to serving as a public defender, Jenny was a fellow at the National Women’s Law Center and the Advocacy Coordinator for the ACLU’s National Security Project. Jenny is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and Smith College. She lives in Baltimore with her wife and two kids. You can find her on twitter @jennylynegan.

Harley Etienne, Assistant Professor, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan

Harley Etienne teaches in the areas of urban community development, inner-city revitalization, neighborhood change, urban poverty, and qualitative research issues in planning. Etienne’s research focuses primarily on the intersection of social institutions and their relationship to processes of urban neighborhood change. He is keenly interested in the role that colleges and universities play in contributing to neighborhood-level change and regional economic development. In 2012, he released, Pushing Back the Gates: Neighborhood Perspectives on University-Driven Change in West Philadelphia on Temple University Press. After the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, he worked on several projects examining the role of land tenure policy and land rights in the post-earthquake recovery of Port-au-Prince. In 2014, he co-edited a volume, Planning Atlanta which surveys the history, challenges and successes of planning in that city from its earliest beginnings to the present day. His current projects include quantitative and qualitative studies of the adaptation and survival strategies of community development corporations (CDCs) in Baltimore, Cleveland and Detroit. He is also expanding on his work in West Philadelphia with studies that evaluate the long-term impact of college students on housing affordability and displacement in college and university-adjacent neighborhoods.

Ubaldo Fernandez, Housing Attorney, East Bay Community Law Center; Clinical Supervisor, Berkeley School of Law

Ubaldo is a Housing Attorney and Clinical Supervisor at the East Bay Community Law Center. He represents tenants in unlawful detainer actions and supervises Berkeley Law students completing their clinical education in EBCLC’s housing clinics. Previously, Ubaldo worked as a Staff Attorney at California Rural Legal Assistance, where he litigated housing and education cases, and as a Bridge Fellow at the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center, where he represented workers facing discrimination based on their immigration status, language, and national origin. Since 2015, Ubaldo has served as a Commissioner on the City of Oakland’s Housing, Residential Rent, and Relocation Board, which adjudicates appeals of landlord-tenant disputes under the Oakland rent and eviction control laws. Ubaldo is also lecturer at Berkeley Law where he teaches a course entitled “Housing: Law and Crises”.

Tracy E. Green, Attorney

Tracy Green has been a practicing attorney for 20 years. She has extensive experience in the areas of child protection, family law and criminal law.  Tracy served as managing attorney and legal director for the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy from July 2009 to July 2016.  At the beginning of her professional career, Tracy also worked as a foster care case worker — first for The Children’s Center of Wayne County and then for the State of Michigan. Tracy is a published author in the Michigan Child Welfare arena. She wrote “Navigating Murky Waters:  Handling Unadjudicated Parent Cases Post-Sanders,” which is widely regarded across the state as the seminal authority for the application of the landmark In re Sanders decision in child welfare law which declared Michigan’s “One Parent Doctrine” unconstitutional. In 2010, Tracy was honored by the Michigan Supreme Court’s Foster Care Review Board as its first “Parents’ Attorney of the Year” award recipient.

Stephen Hanlon, General Counsel, National Association for Public Defense

Stephen Hanlon began assisting and representing public defenders with excessive caseloads in the early 1990s. Prior to assuming his current role as General Counsel to the National Association for Public Defense, Hanlon was lead counsel for the Missouri Public Defender in tate ex rel. Mo. Public Defender Commission, which was the first state supreme court case to expressly uphold the right of a public defender organization to refuse additional cases when confronted with excessive caseloads. Hanlon was the Project Director for the American Bar Association in the critically acclaimed study of the workload of the Missouri Public Defender undertaken by Rubin Brown on behalf of the American Bar Association, known as “The Missouri Project.” He currently serves as the Project Director for similar studies in several states.

Thomas Harvey, National Director of Strategic Partnerships and Advocacy, The Bail Project

Thomas B. Harvey co-founded ArchCity Defenders, a non-profit civil rights law firm providing holistic legal advocacy to the poor and homeless in the St. Louis region and beyond.  ArchCity Defenders uses direct services, impact litigation, and advocacy through policy and public relations as its primary tools to promote racial justice and protect civil and human rights.  ArchCity Defenders represents more than 1000 people in civil and criminal cases and has filed federal class action challenges against debtors’ prisons and cash bail against 23 cities.  ArchCity recently settled its class action against the City of Jennings for $4.75 million. For his work to end cash bail and debtors’ prisons, Thomas was awarded Public Justice’s Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2017.  Thomas is the lead author of ArchCity’s white paper on the systemic abuses of St. Louis County’s municipal court system published in August of 2014 that brought context to underlying factors in the protests following the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson. Thomas’s work on these issues has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The New York Times, Democracy Now, MSNBC, and National Public Radio. Thomas currently serves as the National Director of Strategic Partnerships and Advocacy at the Bail Project.

Margaret Hu, Associate Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law

Margaret Hu is an Associate Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law.  Her research interests include the intersection of immigration policy, national security, cybersurveillance, and civil rights.  Previously, she served as senior policy advisor for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and also served as special policy counsel in the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), Civil Rights Division, U. S. Department of Justice, in Washington, D.C. As Special Policy Counsel, Hu managed a team of attorneys and investigators in the enforcement of the anti-discrimination provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and was responsible for federal immigration policy review and coordination for OSC. Margaret is a Truman Scholar, Foreign Language Area Studies Scholar, and recipient of a Duke Law School Merit Scholarship. She clerked for Judge Rosemary Barkett on U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and subsequently joined the U.S. Department of Justice through Attorney General’s Honors Program under Attorney General Janet Reno. Hu has served in various leadership positions, including vice chair, Kansas Commission for National and Community Service, by gubernatorial appointment; Board of Directors, Harry S. Truman Library and Museum; Board of Directors, University of Kansas Memorial Corporation; National Governing Board, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum; and Dean’s Advisory Council, Duke Law School.

Alec Karakatsanis, Founder and Executive Director, Civil Rights Corps

Before founding Civil Rights Corps, Alec co-founded Equal Justice Under Law, a non-profit organization dedicated to systemic litigation challenging injustices in the American criminal legal system.  Alec was also a civil rights lawyer and public defender with the Special Litigation Division of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and a federal public defender in Alabama, representing impoverished people accused of federal crimes. Alec is interested in ending human caging, surveillance, the death penalty, immigration laws, war, and inequality.  He is the author of The Human Lawyer, 34 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 563 (2010); Protecting Corporations Instead of the Poor, 121 Harv. L. Rev. 275 (2007); and Civil Disobedience: The Role of Judges, 120 Harv. L. Rev. 1988 (2007).  His most recent article is Policing, Mass Imprisonment, and the Failure of American Lawyers, 128 Harv. L. Rev. F. 253 (2015). Alec was recently awarded the 2016 Trial Lawyer of the Year by Public Justice for his role in bringing constitutional civil rights cases to challenge the American money bail system and the 2016 Stephen B. Bright Award for contributions to indigent defense in the South by Gideon’s Promise.

Bryan C. Lee Jr., Director of Design, Colloqate

Bryan is a Designer and Design Justice Advocate. He is the founder and Director of Colloqate Design, a nonprofit multidisciplinary design practice dedicated to expanding community access to design and creating spaces of racial, social and cultural equity. Lee most recently worked as the Place + Civic Design Director for the Arts Council of New Orleans and prior to that at the 2014 AIA National Firm of the Year, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple (Architecture) in New Orleans. Bryan is the founding organizer of the Design Justice Platform and organized the Design As Protest National day of Action. Additionally, he has led two award winning architecture + design programs for high school students through the Arts Council (local) and the National Organization of Minority Architects (national), respectively. He serves on several boards fellowships He was selected as the 2014 NOMA member of the year, 2015 Next City Vanguard Fellow, 2015 International British American Project Fellow. In 2016, Bryan was selected to give a TED Talk and to Keynote at SXSW Eco on Design Justice.

Christy Lopez, Distinguished Visitor from Practice, Georgetown University Law Center

From 2010 through 2016, Christy Lopez served as a Deputy Chief in the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. She led the Division’s group conducting pattern-or-practice investigations of police departments and other law enforcement agencies. Lopez also helped coordinate the Department’s broader efforts to ensure constitutional policing. She directly led the team that investigated the Ferguson Police Department and was a primary drafter of the Ferguson Report and negotiator of the Ferguson consent decree. She also led investigations of many other law enforcement agencies, including the Chicago Police Department, the New Orleans Police Department, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the Newark (New Jersey) Police Department, and the Missoula, Montana investigation.

Jenna M. Loyd, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jenna’s first book Health Rights Are Civil Rights: Peace and Justice Activism in Los Angeles, 1963-1978 (2014, University of Minnesota Press) investigates everyday understandings of health and violence and people’s grassroots mobilizations for health and social justice. She is the co-editor, with Matt Mitchelson and Andrew Burridge, of Beyond Walls and Cages: Prisons, Borders, and Global Crisis (2012, University of Georgia Press), which won the Past Presidents’ Award from the Association of Borderlands Studies. She and Alison Mountz have a forthcoming book (University of California Press, 2018) on the late- and post-Cold War history of United States migration detention and border deterrence policy entitled Boats, Borders, and Bases: Race, the Cold War, and the Rise of Migration Detention in the United States. Her current and recently completed research projects include Transforming Justice, a transdisciplinary project (with co-PIs Anne Bonds, Lorraine Halinka Malcoe, Jenny Plevin, and Robert Smith) documenting the harms of mass criminalization and efforts to redefine health and safety from the perspective of criminalized community members in Milwaukee. She is a co-PI on an NSF-funded research project entitled the Geopolitics of Trauma, which examines how the PTSD diagnosis is mobilized in making refugee status determinations and in the resettlement process for Iraqi refugees coming to the U.S. Her new research examines the health consequences of migration policing.

DeRay McKesson, civil rights activist

DeRay McKesson is a civil rights activist focused primarily on issues of innovation, equity and justice. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, he graduated from Bowdoin College and holds an honorary doctorate from the New School. DeRay has advocated for issues related to children, youth, and families since he was a teen. As a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter movement and co-founder of JoinCampaignZero.org, MappingPoliceViolence.org and OurStates.org DeRay has worked to connect individuals with knowledge and tools, and provide citizens and policy makers with commonsense policies to ensure equity. Spurred by the death of Mike Brown and the subsequent protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and beyond, DeRay has become a key player in the work to confront the systems and structures that have led to mass incarceration and police killings of black and other minority populations. He ls also the host of critically acclaimed Pod Save The People, a weekly podcast creating space for conversation about the most important issues of the week. The podcast is also about making sure people have the information they need to be thoughtful activists and organizers. DeRay was named one of the World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine in 2015 and as one of the Most Important People On The Internet by Time Magazine in 2016.

DeMar Pitman, Founder and Executive Director, Discriminology

DeMar Pitman is an educator, activist, and self-taught technologist who believes strongly in the power of technology to shrink long-standing equity and achievement gaps. As a Restorative Justice Coordinator and an advocate for culturally-responsive pedagogy, DeMar works tirelessly to remove the barriers that directly and indirectly deny Black and Brown children access to high-quality education. His current research focuses on better understanding the disproportionate and biased allocation of resources to students of color, and much of his research to date has been on leveraging technology to augment current efforts at addressing this problem. DeMar’s work has earned him several highly-competitive national awards, including the Echoing Green – Black Male Achievement Fellowship. He is the founder and executive director of Discriminology, a non-profit focused on increasing parent, educator and community understanding of educational equity issues. Discriminology’s pioneering data platform houses the first-ever educational equity index: a simple, easy to grasp composite score that evaluates schools and districts based on various factors like school discipline, special education, and student engagement.

Eve Primus, Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

Eve Brensike Primus teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, and habeas corpus at the University of Michigan Law School, and writes about structural reform in the criminal justice system. Her scholarship has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court as well as state appellate courts. Before joining the Michigan Law faculty, she was an attorney in the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. In that office, Primus worked both as a trial attorney and as an appellate litigator, appearing several times before the state’s highest court. Primus also has participated in the lawmaking process, giving legislative testimony and helping to draft proposed legislation on criminal justice issues. In addition to teaching, litigating, and writing about criminal justice issues, Primus also is the founder and director of Michigan Law’s MDefenders organization—a group designed to educate and support aspiring public defenders. Primus has won the L. Hart Wright Award for Excellence in Teaching on more than one occasion.

Rick Raemisch, Executive Director, Colorado Dept. of Corrections

Rick Raemisch was appointed as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections in July 2013. During his short time with the CDOC, Rick has successfully implemented prison reforms in Colorado resulting in a safe, dramatic reduction of offenders held in administrative segregation, now less than 1% of the population, and eliminating the use of administrative segregation for offenders suffering from serious mental illness. Releasing offenders from administrative segregation directly to the community has also been eliminated. Rick has testified on corrections matters before a U.S. Senate Sub-Committee involving the over use of segregation, and has participated in numerous forums on corrections. Rick has also assisted and been a member of the U.S. Delegation to the U.N. meetings in Cape Town and Vienna to re-write prisoner standards, now known as the Mandela Rules. Prior to joining the Colorado DOC, Rick was head of the Wisconsin DOC, where he was accountable for more than 96,000 inmates and individuals on probation or parole, including 1,000 juveniles. Under Rick’s leadership, Wisconsin built strong reentry initiatives and the state lowered its prison population three consecutive years in a row.

Jonathan Rapping, Founder, Gideon’s Promise

Jonathan Rapping is a nationally renowned criminal justice innovator and 2014 MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellow, who moved from Washington, D.C. to Atlanta, because he found the injustice within our criminal justice system – particularly in the South – to be unacceptable. In 2007, Rapping founded Gideon’s Promise and began an initiative to change the public defense landscape across America by grooming a generation of public defenders – many of whom are often so overwhelmed by crushing caseloads that they are unable to provide their clients the representation the Constitution demands – to rise up and fight against the injustice within our justice system. In his quest to train and equip public defenders with the resources necessary to ensure all citizens receive their Constitutional right of “equal justice for all,” Rapping and his organization have become symbols of a new civil rights movement. Professor Rapping received a J.D. from the George Washington University School of Law, a M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and a B.A. from the University of Chicago. He is currently a Professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

Sherrill Roland, artist, The Jumpsuit Project

The Jumpsuit Project is a socially engaged art project that was conducted at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro during the 2016 – 2017 academic year. The primary purpose of the project is to raise awareness around issues related to incarceration. This work grows out of Sherrill’s personal history. In August 2012, he was issued a warrant in Washington DC explaining that there was four felony counts against him pending indictment. After nine months an indictment was never found and the felony charges were dropped to misdemeanors. In October 2013, he went to trial and lost, and 10 months later he was released from state prison. Almost a year and a half after being released, he was exonerated of all charges and granted a bill of innocence.Sherrill Roland creates art that challenges ideas around controversial social and political constructs, and generate a safe space to process, question, and share. Sherrill is originally from Asheville, NC and now resides in Raleigh, NC. Sherrill is the founder of The Jumpsuit Project.

Topeka Sam, Founder, The Ladies of Hope Ministries

Topeka Sam is a founding member and National Director of Organizing of the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women. Ms. Sam is the founder and Executive Director of The Ladies of Hope Ministries, whose mission is to help disenfranchised and marginalized women and girls transition back into society through spiritual empowerment, education, entrepreneurship development and advocacy. She is also the founder of HOPE HOUSE, a reentry housing development for women and girls. While incarcerated in Federal prison, Ms. Sam envisioned “Real Women Real Voices-Where People Meet the Policy” symposiums, which have become central to Council programming, bringing the voices and ideas of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women to law students and faculty and the public. She has presented at the Prisons Training College in Arima, Trinidad and is the recipient of the “Women’s Championship” Award 2016 from The Go Get It Women’s Empowerment Conference, the “Phenomenal Woman” award from Masjidus Sabur, and the “Make it Happen” Community Service Award from The Kids League 2016. Topeka is pursuing her Certificate in Christian Ministry at New York Theological Seminary. Since her recent release from prison in 2015, Sam has been a Beyond the Bars 2015 Fellow, a 2016 Justice-In-Education Scholar at Columbia University, and a 2017 Soros Justice Advocacy Fellow.

Julian Sanchez, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute

Julian Sanchez studies issues at the intersection of technology, privacy, and civil liberties, with a particular focus on national security and intelligence surveillance. Before joining the Cato Institute, Sanchez served as the Washington editor for the technology news site Ars Technica, where he covered surveillance, intellectual property, and telecom policy. He has also worked as a writer for he Economist’s blog Democracy in America and as an editor for Reason magazine, where he remains a contributing editor. Sanchez has written on privacy and technology for a wide array of national publications, ranging from the National Review to he Nation, and is a founding editor of the policy blog Just Security.

Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project

The ACLU National Security Project is dedicated to ensuring that U.S. national security policies and practices are consistent with the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights. As Director, Hina Shamsi has litigated cases upholding the freedoms of speech and association, and challenging targeted killing, torture, unlawful detention, and post-9/11 discrimination against racial and religious minorities. Her work focuses on the intersection of national security and counterterrorism policies with international human rights and humanitarian law. She previously worked as a staff attorney in the ACLU National Security Project and was the acting director of Human Rights First’s Law & Security Program. Shamsi is the author and coauthor of publications on targeted killing, torture, and extraordinary rendition, and has monitored and reported on the military commissions at Guantánamo Bay. She is also a lecturer-in-law at Columbia Law School.

jackie sumell, artist, “The House That Herman Built” and “Solitary Gardens”

jackie sumell is a multidisciplinary artist and prison abolitionist inspired most by the lives of everyday people. Her work has been successfully anchored at the intersection of activism, education, and art for over a decade, and it has been exhibited extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe. She has been the recipient of multiple residencies and fellowships including, but not limited to, an A Blade of Grass Fellowship, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Artist as Activist Fellowship, Soros Justice Fellowship, and Eyebeam Project Fellowship. sumell’s collaboration with Herman Wallace (a prisoner-of-consciousness and member of the “Angola 3”) was the subject of the Emmy Award-Winning documentary Herman’s House. sumell’s work with Herman has positioned her at the forefront of the campaign to end solitary confinement in the United States.

Javier Zamora, poet

Javier Zamora was born in La Herradura, El Salvador in 1990. His father fled El Salvador when he was a year old; and his mother when he was about to turn five. Both parents’ migrations were caused by the US-funded Salvadoran Civil War (1980-1992). In 1999, Javier migrated through Guatemala, Mexico, and eventually the Sonoran Desert. Before a coyote abandoned his group in Oaxaca, Javier managed to make it to Arizona with the aid of other migrants. Zamora’s chapbook Nueve Años Inmigrantes/Nine Immigrant Years won the 2011 Organic Weapon Arts Contest, and his book Unaccompanied (Copper Canyon Press, Fall 2017) explores how immigration and the civil war have impacted his family. His poetry was featured in Best New Poets 2013 and has appeared in American Poetry ReviewPloughsharesPoetrymagazine, the Kenyon Review, the New Republic, and elsewhere. Zamora is a 2016-2018 Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and is a 2016 Ruth Lilly/Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellow. He holds fellowships from CantoMundo, Colgate University (Olive B. O’Connor), MacDowell, Macondo, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Yaddo. In 2016, Barnes and Noble granted him the Writers for Writers Award for his work in the Undocupoets Campaign.

Closing

Poems by Reginald Dwayne Betts, poet and lawyer

Reginald Dwayne Betts is a husband and the father of two sons. His memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison, was awarded the 2010 NAACP Image Award for non-fiction. He has also published two collections of poetry, most recently, Bastards of the Reagan Era. Betts is the recipient of fellowships from the Open Society Foundation, Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies, and the Poetry Foundation. He is currently a 2018 Emerson Fellow at New America.  In 2012, Betts was appointed to the Coordinating Council of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention by President Obama. Dwayne is currently enrolled in the PhD in Law Program at the Yale Law School. He has earned a J.D. from the Yale Law School.

Moderators

Amanda Alexander, lawyer and historian

Lawyer and historian Amanda Alexander is an assistant professor of Afro-American Studies and postdoctoral fellow in Law at the University of Michigan, and a member of the Michigan Society of Fellows. She is a 2017 Echoing Green Fellow and founding director of the Detroit Justice Center, a nonprofit law firm that works alongside communities to create economic opportunities, transform the justice system, and promote equitable and just cities. As a 2013–2015 Soros Justice Fellow, she launched the Prison & Family Justice Project at Michigan Law School to provide legal representation to incarcerated parents and advocate for families divided by the prison and foster care systems. Her writing on law and social policy has been published in The Globe and Mail, Michigan Journal of Race & Law, Review of African Political Economy, Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, Michigan Child Welfare Law Journal, and more. She serves on the board of the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership and as an adviser to the National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated. She holds a PhD from Columbia University and a JD from Yale Law School.

Derrick Darby, Professor of Philosophy, the University of Michigan

Derrick Darby, who works in social and political philosophy, is the author of Rights, Race, and Recognition (Cambridge), and the coeditor with Tommie Shelby of Hip Hop and Philosophy: Rhyme 2 Reason (Open Court). His recent scholarship combines empirical, historical, and legal research with philosophical analysis to produce insights about race, racial injustice, and racial inequality. His work has been supported by the Spencer Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. His newest book with John L. Rury, The Color of Mind: Why the Origins of the Achievement Gap Matter for Justice (Chicago), argues that American schools contribute to the racial achievement gap in ways that demean the dignity of black students. His recent law review article with Richard E. Levy,  Postracial Remedies, argues for a principled pragmatic approach to addressing racial inequality by pursuing non-race-specific legal remedies. In his 2016 TEDx talk, Darby argues that doing philosophy can create opportunity for ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Sherrie A. Kossoudji, associate professor in the School of Social Work and adjunct associate professor in the Department of Economics, the University of Michigan

Sherrie A. Kossoudji is an associate professor in the School of Social Work and an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Economics. Her principal research is on issues related to migration and immigration. She has written numerous articles on the legal status of immigrant workers in the United States and the incentives to cross the border clandestinely. Much of her work attempts to discern the link between legal status in the United States and economic outcomes—leading to papers on the impact of regularization or legalization programs on residents who are undocumented. Her teaching also emphasizes the importance of immigration policies.  Contested Borders, a mini-course that explores ‘policy on the ground’, takes place at the U.S./Mexico border area. She recently started a project on refugee movements and asylum policies around the world.  At the moment, there are more than 65 million forcibly displaced people whose lives are at risk.

Deborah LaBelle, attorney, professor, writer and advocate

Deborah LaBelle is an attorney, professor, writer and advocate who focuses on the application of human rights for marginalized communities. She has been lead counsel in over a dozen class actions that have successfully challenged policies affecting the treatment of incarcerated men, women and juveniles and their families. Ms. LaBelle is a Senior Soros Justice Fellow and, the first American recognized by Human Rights Watch as a Human Rights Monitor. In addition to her private practice, she is director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Juvenile Life Without Parole Initiative. Her publications include Women at the Margins, Neglect,Punishment and Resistance (Haworth, 2002). Ensuring Rights for All: Realizing Human Rights for Prisoners in Bringing Human Rights Home (Praeger Press, 2008); and Bringing Human Rights Home to the World of Detention (Columbia Human Rights Law Review Article, Vol. 40.1, Fall 2008). Ms. LaBelle is a recipient of Michigan’s State Bar Champion of Justice Award, recognized as one of Michigan’s top lawyers and received the National Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from the Public Interest Foundation (2008) and National Lawyer Guild’s Law for the People Award (2008). She received the Wade Hampton McCree Jr. Award for the advancement of social justice presented by the Federal Bar (2009) and the Susan B. Anthony Award from the University of Michigan (2010).

Karyn Lacy, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan

Karyn Lacy earned her PhD from Harvard University, is a Ford Fellow, and was a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. Her work focuses on race relations, residential segregation, identity, parental socialization, social stratification, and suburban culture. Her book Blue-Chip Black: Race, Class, and Status in the New Black Middle Class (University of California Press) received the Oliver Cromwell Cox Book Award, and she is a contributing writer to media outlets including the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Lacy’s current work explores the construction and reproduction of racial and class-based identities among members of an elite children’s organization. Lacy’s most recent book project is a study of the mechanisms contributing to social reproduction among members of an elite children’s organization. The study is an ethnographic analysis of the organization. Data collection also includes in-depth interviews with a subset of adult members and their respective children.

Imran Syed, Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

Imran Syed is a clinical assistant professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School. He is the assistant director of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, and teaches a seminar on forensic science. As part of teaching in the Innocence Clinic, Professor Syed has supervised students investigating and litigating a wide variety of cases, including several of the clinic’s forensic science-based cases. Having litigated several arson wrongful convictions that were based on outdated fire science, Professor Syed also has coauthored articles discussing the novel litigation strategies needed to address wrongful convictions based on scientific evidence that is valid when used, but later comes to be repudiated. He also has spoken and written about a variety of topics related to wrongful convictions. In 2014, Professor Syed wrote and produced a documentary film, The Price of Providence, about one of the Innocence Clinic’s wrongful conviction cases.

David Thacher, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Planning, the University of Michigan

David Thacher is associate professor of public policy and urban planning. His research draws from philosophy, history, and the interpretive social sciences to develop and apply a humanistic approach to policy research. Most of his work has focused on criminal justice policy, where he has undertaken studies of order maintenance policing, the local police role in homeland security, community policing reform, the distribution of safety and security, prisoner re-entry, and the control of criminal justice discretion. He is currently studying the rise of American drug laws in the late 19th century and the transformation of police authority in the 1960s. David received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Jonathan Weinberg, Associate Dean for Research, Wayne Law

Jon Weinberg is Associate Dean for Research at Wayne Law.  He has been a law clerk to then-Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg and to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall; a visiting scholar at the University of Tokyo; a legal scholar in residence at the Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Plans and Policy; a visiting scholar at Cardozo Law School; and a professor in residence at the U.S. Justice Department. His current research relates to surveillance and privacy, databases, and immigration law.