He offered an overview of the ways the criminal justice system affects African Americans, starting by contrasting different definitions of the problems and moving on to describe a range of historical responses and current abolitionist strategies.
On January 24, 2019, Chicago-Kent hosted the 4th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Forum sponsored by the law school’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Multiculturalism & Professional Development as well as several faculty committees, departments, and student organizations.
After Professor Wilson’s discussion, other panelists gave their perspectives on the impact of legal racism in finance, education reform, and housing policy. An open question and answer session followed that addressed specific examples, terms, and trends from the presentation and the speaker discussion.
Over the spring and summer of 2018, Illinois Tech contributed to a collaborative project — involving the ABA Center for Innovation, the IIT Institute of Design, IIT’s Computer Science program and a Chicago-Kent student — that created an innovative new solution to convey Miranda warnings consistently and accurately across language divisions.
Since Miranda warnings started being used routinely more than 50 years ago, after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Miranda v. Arizona, no one has formally made uniform translations available to ensure that Miranda rights are being communicated accurately to non-English speakers. The ABA’s Hispanic Commission took on the project of creating a solution for Spanish speakers, and their work led to this project. Continue reading “Miranda Rights Warnings Project”
Our American Constitution Society hosted Texas Senator Wendy Davis on April 10, 2018. She spoke about her experiences filibustering for reproductive rights in the Texas Senate, the impact of gerrymandering, and other ways she has been fighting for voting rights and increased access to our democracy.
She emphasized the need for empathy in the law and for lawmakers, sharing the story of the impact Earl Warren’s role in the Japanese Internment camps had in his legal career and the Brown vs. Board of Education case. She encouraged students to look for opportunities to share their skills and experiences to increase civic participation and answered student questions after her talk.
This year the National Lawyers Guild’s 2nd annual event on mass incarceration focused on the intersection of mass incarceration with immigration. The panel discussion looked specifically at the targeting of immigrants for deportation using the Chicago Gang Database, officially known as the “Strategic Subject List.”
NLG Secretary Rosie O’Malley moderated the panel discussion with these speakers:
Irene Romulo from Organized Communities Against Deportation
Sheila Bedi from the MacArthur Justice Center
Claudia Valenzuela from the National Immigrant Justice Center
Professor Forman described how, while working as a public defender early in his career, he saw many of African-American prosecutors and judges using the same history that motivated him to become a public defender to instead justify incarceration of his clients, and he wanted to understand why.
For me, it was telling that story of the criminal system over the last 50 years through the lens of African-American prosecutors, police chiefs, judges legislators, citizen activists, everyday citizens – trying to figure out, through their voices, what was going on and how was it that at least some of them had come to think that these policies that the government, that the United States as a nation was pursuing made sense. Were they tricked? Were they coerced? What was the story?
What rules do the police need to follow when interacting with protesters? What are the privacy laws related to police body cams and protester-created videos?
“Public Protest and the Law,” a two-hour panel discussion among civil rights and advocacy experts held at Chicago-Kent College of Law on March 2, 2017, addressed First Amendment rights as they relate to protests, local protest permit laws and how they relate to spontaneous protests, issues undocumented immigrant and non-citizen protesters might face if arrested, proposed legislation to curb protester rights, and more.
Kofi Ademola gave some historical context for the Black Lives Matter movement, which was founded by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors. These three black queer women started the hashtag on social media in reaction to the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case.
The Black Lives Matter website helped build the movement when activists protesting the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson used it to start local chapters across the country.
Criminal Justice Reform in Chicago
In Chicago, Kofi Ademola noted there had already been 20 police shootings in 5 years with no convictions, so the issue of police violence has always been central. He said the goal of Black Lives Matter Chicago is to decentralize power and to centralize marginalized voices and communities.
Our Muslim Law Student Association hosted an “Ask Muslims Anything” event during our Diversity Week 2017, giving students a chance to submit questions about Islam or Muslims anonymously.
These questions covered a range of topics from historical Islam to understanding religious practices and challenges Muslims face in the United States due to common misconceptions or outright discrimination.
The panelists represented a range of different personal and religious backgrounds and offered contrasting perspectives throughout the discussion.