Invited Speakers and Events Series


During the summer of 2020, as a result of the nationwide protests spurred by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many others at the hands of police, Keilah Shaw, president of the Criminal Justice Club and Alpha Phi Sigma, led a group of registered student organizations and academic departments at WSU in organizing a speaker series on the topic of racism in the criminal justice system. The events were facilitated in collaboration with the Foley Institute, and co-sponsored by the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, the Department of Sociology, the School of Languages, Cultures, and Race, the School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs, and the Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Students from the Criminal Justice Club, Alpha Phi Sigma, the Black Student Union, the Black Women’s Caucus, and the Criminal Justice and Criminology Graduate Student Association all came together to bring the series to life.

The first of the two-event series looked at the resilience of Black families in the face of disproportionate incarceration rates. Drs. Shenique Thomas of the City of New York University – Borough of Manhattan Community College and Bahiyyah Muhammad of Howard University presented their research on the impacts of incarceration on communities, families, and children. You can watch “The impact of incarceration on Black families” event hereThe impact of incarceration on Black families poster.

The second event, titled “From Where I Sit,” presented a dialogue from two opposing perspectives in the criminal justice system: those of a formerly incarcerated person, author, and advocate Omari Amili, and of former Newark, NJ Municipal Court Chief Judge Victoria Pratt. You can watch the second event hereFrom where I sit poster.

We did not stop at this series though: Earlier in the fall, we co-sponsored the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies’ InQueery Symposium, which virtually brought to campus Andrea Ritchie as the keynote speaker. Ritchie is the author of Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color (2017) and co-author of Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States (2011). InQueery poster.And during spring 2021, we co-sponsored a talk by Marcus “Big Herc” Timmons, host of the podcast Prison Talk, organized by a faculty in the School of Languages, Cultures, and Race.

Big Herc: Marcus Timmons poster. During the spring semester, the Criminal Justice and Criminology Graduate Student Association hosted a prison dictionary drive and collected 28 dictionaries and one thesaurus.

Webster's dictionaries.