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Monmouth University Hosts Conference on Race

Race and justice continue to make headlines following the shootings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo. and New York City. Leading scholars and filmmakers will convene at Monmouth University to discuss this topic and the criminalization   of race in history and across global societies with an emphasis on social activism and justice during the University’s fourth biennial conference on race, April 16 through April 18.

Conference topics include   police brutality and racial profiling ,  race and the police state, mass incarceration, and the emergence of the prison industrial complex in modern world history.

“This conference promotes critical dialogue and scholarship about race and justice in today’s society,” said Hettie Williams, conference organizer and lecturer of African American history at Monmouth University.

Sarah Burns, co-writer, director and producer of the documentary film “The Central Park Five,” will give the keynote speech at the conference dinner on April 17 at 6:30 p.m. “The Central Park Five,” a powerful film about the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989, features groundbreaking interviews with city officials and the five pardoned men. Members of the Central Park Five, Raymond Santana and Kevin Richardson, will speak about their experience at 1 p.m. in Magill Commons Club Dining Room prior to Burns’ address. A free screening of the documentary will be held on April 16 at 4:30 p.m. in Pollak Theatre.

The conference is open to the public. Tickets are $100 per person or $30 for dinner only. For more information and full schedule of events, visit . This conference is held in conjunction with Monmouth University’s Global Understanding Convention .


  Thursday, April 16  

1 – 2 p.m., Pollak Theatre

Opening Ceremony

Donna Gore will perform “Precious Lord,” a tribute to Martin Luther King’s Legacy, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Selma and the death of an unarmed black man Jimmy Lee Jackson, and in memory of the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The opening ceremony will include introduction by Monmouth University Provost Laura Moriarty and Virginia State University Assistant Vice Provost Nicolle Parsons-Pollard.

4:30 – 6:30 p.m., Pollak Theatre

Documentary Screening – The Central Park Five – FREE

Friday, April 17

8:30 – 9:45 a.m., Magill Commons, Club 109             

American Public Schools and their Prison System Connections

Chair:    Tamara Richardson, Monmouth University, “The School to Prison Pipeline”

·       Danny Murillo, University of California, Berkeley, “Criminalization of Suspension: Black Male Students in Oakland’s California Public Schools”

·       Vincent Basile, University of Colorado Boulder, “Standin’ Tall: (De) Criminalization and Acts of Resistance among Elementary School Boys of Color in Science and Mathematics Education”

10 – 11:15 a.m., Magill Commons, Club 107

Using Popular Culture and Media for Accessing the Criminal System

Chair: Gilda Rogers, Brookdale Community College

·       Ruben Santiago-Hudson, actor, playwright, and director, “Race and the Criminal Justice System in Popular Media: How Theater Can Be a Catalyst for Social Change”

·       Aaron X. Smith, Temple University, “Don’t speak for me…Listen to me! Hip-Hop Music and Mass Incarceration; A Lyrical Legacy”

·       Thandisizwe Chimurenga, freelance journalist and author, “‘See You In The Streets’ Popular/Cultural HashTag and Human Rights Responses to Police Terror in the United States”

1 – 2:15 p.m., Magill Commons, Club 107

A Global View: Race and the Police State

Chair: Maryanne Rhett, Monmouth University

·       Kathleen Rahn, Universität Leipzig, Germany, “Racism and the Colonial Carceral Space. Prisons and Forced Labour in German South-West Africa (1884-1914)”

·       Elliot Ratzman, Temple University, “The Walls of Jericho: From the New Jim Crow to the Matrix of Control”

·       Adam Morris, University of Western Australia “Twenty Two Million, Four Hundred and Thirty Seven Thousand, Six Hundred and Ninety Three Shades of White”

·       Mariana Tepfenhart, Monmouth University, “Communist Romania- A Perfect Police State”

1 – 2:15 p.m, Magill Commons, Club Dining Room

Members of “The Central Park Five”

·                Raymond Santana

·                Kevin Richardson

6:30 – 9 p.m., Magill Commons, Club Dining Room

Keynote speaker Sarah Burns, co-director of “The Central Park Five”

Saturday, April 18

8:30 – 9:45 a.m., Magill Commons, Club 107

Police Brutality and Racial Profiling

·       Chair: Kenneth Jolly, Saginaw Valley State University

·       Donnetrice Allison, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, “Media Framing of Black Male Victims of Police Brutality and Racial Profiling: From Rodney King to Michael Brown”

·       Max Felker-Kantor, University of Indianapolis, “Police Discipline, Is it JUSTICE’: Excessive Force, the Coalition Against Police Abuse, and the Battleground of the Crime War in Los Angeles during the 1970s”

·       Kenneth Jolly, Saginaw Valley State University, “The Fight against Lynching and Police Brutality in the mid-20th Century: Historical Lessons and Praxis for Today”