After each workshop produces a working paper, we will close our time together with a plenary focused on Reparations & Structural Change. In this final work, our time will be focused on:
I. Redistributive/Restorative justice: how might egregious wrongs committed against communities of color be rectified through processes of reparations, restorative and redistributive justice?
II. Religious communities: how might communities of faith play a more active and vital role in preventing judicial violence and providing healing for the damaging impact of judicial violence?
III. Policy changes: what explicit steps can be taken at the local and regional levels, in neighborhoods and in whole communities, to transform unjust systems and provide more agency for those who remain over-policed yet under-protected?
A professional writer working on behalf of the Symposium will be responsible for collating all workshop productions to develop, edit and produce a final report and workbook/curriculum that will be used to assist churches, communities, and policy makers in addressing through further planning and strategic direct actions for deconstructing judicial violence in all its forms.
We will host a two and a half-day multidisciplinary symposium that will focus on the structural issues of systemic judicial violence against African Americans, other people of color and citizens in general. Judicial violence is defined as the State using its magisterial, law-enforcement, and judicial arms to inflict immoral, illegal, unwarranted, and deleterious actions upon its citizens, particularly those of color. This conference is to address the moral and ethical foundation needed not only to focus attention on these urgent human rights issues, but also to galvanize action, particularly among communities of faith, to address the systemic nature of the current problem of judicial violence and race.
Recent events in Chicago, including a year-long cover-up by the Chicago Mayor's office and Police department to conceal the murder of Laquan McDonald at the hands of law enforcement, bring home the urgency of this matter. This urgency is built on the blood of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Aiyanna Jones, and Tamir Rice, to name a very few of the many young, predominantly African American men, boys, young women and girls who have been brutally killed by the state, via the local police forces, which are comprised overwhelmingly of white males pulling the triggers with the knowledge that they face no consequences.
The Symposium is designed to expose the judicial violence and race problems and to develop specific action steps for strategic structural remediation. Nationally respected, multi-disciplinary presenters will delineate the judicial violence phenomenon in its entirety, e.g., sociologists, psychologists, historians, educators, theologians, as well as lawyers and judges.
The major goals of the conference:
To develop a clear and comprehensive understanding of the historical, multiple-layered, and unethical problem that has destroyed and continues to destroy hundreds of thousands of lives of color.
To facilitate workshops designed for focused, salient information-sharing, for clear and sustained multidisciplinary and policy follow-up.
To create a published paper of the Symposium’s findings that will be a blueprint for focused action-steps to address the nation-wide issues unveiled during the Conference.
In order for our work together to be as concentrated as possible, workshops and presentations will examine five (5) key areas of focus
I. HISTORICAL FOCUS
Deconstructing the history and understanding the legacy of the connection between judicial violence and race, with a particular focus on the function of the judicial system as a state-sanctioned, corporate profit-making enterprise.
II. STRUCTURAL FOCUS
Unveiling systemic violence at every level of the judicial process, including the complicity of law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, magistrates and defense attorneys.
III. TRAUMA/PSYCHOLOGICAL FOCUS
Examining the intergenerational trauma inflicted due to judicial violence and the ensuing psychological and physiological damage that results from living in a system of structural violence and oppression.
IV. ECONOMIC FOCUS
Exploring and dismantling the economic causality for involvement in the judicial system with a focus on the international profit-making by the American judicial system, as well as the various economic systems which benefit from judicial violence directed against people of color.
V. ETHICAL AND MORAL FOCUS
Discussing the universal human rights, ethical and moral elements of the present crises in the context of theological, sociological and philosophical analysis. The role of religions, politics, grass roots advocacy and non-violence options will be thoroughly explored as a counter to judicial violence, based on moral and ethical foundations and definitions of justice.