California Institute for Integral Studies Presents a Lecture by Michelle Alexander.
Michelle Alexander is breaking the silence about racial injustice in the American legal system. In her book, The New Jim Crow, she explores the cultural biases that still exist, and how segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration. Currently there are more African Americans in prison than were enslaved in 1850. She blames the drug war for many of these, as people are then labeled as felons and stuck in an endless cycle of discrimination. How can they improve their lives when they can’t get a job, housing, or health benefits? This acclaimed civil rights lawyer explores the myths surrounding our criminal justice system from a racial and ethical standpoint, and offers solutions for combating this epidemic.
Michelle Alexander is a highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, and legal scholar who currently holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University. Prior to joining the Kirwan Institute, Professor Alexander was an associate professor of law at Stanford Law School, where she directed the civil rights clinics.
In 2005, she won a Soros Justice Fellowship, which supported the writing of her first book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (The New Press, 2010). The book has been featured on national radio and television media outlets, including NPR, The Bill Moyers Journal, The Tavis Smiley Show, C-Span Washington Journal, among others. The New Jim Crow challenges the conventional wisdom that with the election of Barack Obama as president, our nation has “triumphed over race.” Alexander argues that the sudden and dramatic mass incarceration of African American men, primarily through the War on Drugs, has created a new racial under-caste-a group of people defined largely by race that is subject to legalized discrimination, scorn, and social exclusion. Alexander challenges the civil rights community, and all of us, to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.
For several years, Professor Alexander served as the Director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Northern California, where she helped to lead a national campaign against racial profiling by law enforcement. She is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Vanderbilt University. Following law school, she clerked for Justice Harry A. Blackmun on the United States Supreme Court, and for Chief Judge Abner Mikva on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Net proceeds from this event will go to the California Institute of Integral Studies Arc of Justice Bachelor of Arts Completion Scholarship Fund for formerly incarcerated students.