“From the Inside Out: America’s Broken Criminal Justice System”
Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 3pm
St. Ann’s Church, 157 Montague Street, Brooklyn Heights

The United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any other nation in the world. What are we doing to help reform a criminal justice system where race and economic status reign?

Four of today’s most important voices speak out about our criminal justice system and the issues that plague our prisons and those incarcerated -- Yusef Salaam a member of the Central Park 5; Marlon Peterson former prisoner and current advocate for gun reform; Heather Ann Thompson winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2017; and James Forman Jr. former Public Defender, founder of the Maya Angelou School, and the son of James Forman a prominent civil rights leader and member of the Black Panther Party.

The program will be introduced, by Miles Hodges, a New York based spoken word poet, and a former ambassador for the New York Public Library. At NYPL, Hodges set-up workshops and performances of spoken word programs done by the inmates at Riker’s Island.

See attached page for additional information about participating speakers. And for more information about the event, please contact Jessica Strand at dearamericanow@gmail.com

Speaker Bios

Yusef Salaam was one of five young men labeled the “Central Park Five,” wrongly accused and later released after spending 8 years in prison. Salaam is an advocate for social justice, an educator, activist and family man. His advocacy focuses on the effects that incarceration has on the disenfranchised, the economically disadvantaged and most importantly, young men of color.

Marlon Peterson was incarcerated for ten years for his role in a gun related crime. After being released, he became a prominent voice in efforts to stem gun violence. He is a member of the New York City Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, the founder of Precedential (a social justice consulting firm) and a preeminent voice in social and criminal justice and founder of the Precedential Group and host of the podcast Decarcerated.

Heather Ann Thompson is an American historian, author, activist and speaker. Her book Blood in the Water: The Attica Uprising of 1971 won the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2017. She is also known for Whose Detroit: Politics, Labor and Race in a Modern American City (2001). Thompson writes extensively on the history of policing, mass incarceration and the current criminal justice system for numerous publications including New York Times, Washington Post, the Atlantic, and others.

James Forman Jr. is a professor of law at Yale Law School and is the author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America (2017). He was a law clerk as well as a public defender who represented juveniles and adults charged with crimes. In 1997 Forman, Jr. cofounded of the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, an alternative school for dropouts and youths who had been incarcerated.

Miles Hodges is an internationally acclaimed writer and performance poet. Miles is a founding member of The Strivers Row and was the inaugural artist-in-residence at The New York Public Library. He is the creator of the Live from Rikers series.