Illuminating (In)Justice

 Illuminating (In)Justice Series

Proximity Matters: Undoing Mass Incarceration and the Critical Role of People most Affected

Saturday, October 22, 2016, 5 - 7 pm

University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration
969 E. 60th St. Chicago, IL  60637 

Click Here to Register 

Signs are pointing toward an emerging era of decarceration - actively reversing the prolonged era of mass incarceration. As decarceration policies and practices take shape, those closest to the problem of mass incarceration are essential to developing meaningful and just solutions.

The Smart Decarceration Initiative invites you to a panel discussion with individuals directly impacted by incarceration who are leaders in local, state, and national decarceration efforts. Panelists will discuss how their experiences shape and advance their advocacy work, and they will highlight strategies for advancing leadership among formerly incarcerated people and building a decarceration movement.  


Glenn E. Martin: Founder and President of JustLeadershipUSA and member, Independent Commission on NYC Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform

Maya Schenwar: Editor-in-chief of Truthout and author of Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn't Work and How We Can Do Better  

Colette Payne: Visible Voices Coordinator, Cabrini Green Legal Aid and 2016 JustLeadershipUSA Fellow


Matt Epperson: Associate Professor, University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and Co-Director, Smart Decarceration Initiative 

This event is part of the Illuminating (In)Justice series and is co-sponsored by UChicago Urban.  

Free and open to the public. Light refreshments served. 




Illuminating (In)Justice Series

This is the second event of this new series, hosted by the School of Social Service Administration and Professors:
Gina Fedock, Matt Epperson, and Deborah Gorman-Smith.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 4:30 – 6:00 pm
SSA Lobby, 969 E. 60th St. Chicago, IL 60637

Click here to register.  

Bridging the Divide: 
Vanessa Westley, Chicago Police Department and Eddie Bocanegra, AM '15, 
Co-Executive Director of the YMCA Chicago Metro Youth Safety and Violence Prevention Team.

Bridging the Divide is a collaboration of the YMCA Youth and Violence Prevention Team and the Chicago Police Department designed to build relationships between youth, law enforcement officials, and other community members by offering opportunities for dialogue through cafes, peace circles, storytelling, and other community-building activities. Bridging the Divide has four primary goals: 1) to foster positive youth leadership around the issue of community safety; 2) to train police officers in the area of trauma and trauma-informed policing; 3) to educate family and community members around the impact of trauma and trauma-informed policing strategies; and 4) to use creative methods and positive messages to strengthen local community relationships.

Join us January 27th as Bridging the Divide trained police officers and YMCA Youth Safety and Violence prevention staff and youth participants share information about the program and experiences and impact of participating, as well as demonstrate and lead peace circles with event attendees.

For any questions or if you need assistance, please call 773-702-9700.


Social justice is a core value of our profession. Our obligation to vulnerable and oppressed populations is not negotiable. This past year of repeated tragedies underscores the historical and current reality that access to opportunity, safety, resources, and legal protection is far from equal. As social work and social welfare scholars, teachers, and practitioners we are compelled to deepen our commitment to ending racial inequities in exposure to crime and violence, law enforcement, and judicial processes. Our values and convictions—and our professional and academic training—mean little if we do not resolve to continue to advance the science and translate what we believe and what we know into concrete actions for positive change and social justice. Through continued research and scholarship, community education, social work practice, public protest, and self-reflection, we dedicate ourselves to doing our work well and with urgency and purpose. We invite attendees within and outside of the field of social work to this event as we recognize the value of social justice efforts that are collaborative and interdisciplinary.

As one part of that commitment and following the Illuminating (In)Justice event held last quarter, SSA’s Chicago Center for Youth Violence Prevention (funded by the Centers for Disease Control) and its faculty and community partners are organizing a series of events focused broadly in the area of criminal justice, crime, violence, and exposure to violence. Events will be held (at least) monthly, with scheduled days of the week and time and day varying to provide opportunities for participation over time.

Illuminating (In)Justice

Wednesday, December 2, 2015,  5 pm
University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration Lobby
969 E. 60th St., Chicago, IL

We invited all members of the University of Chicago community to participate in Illuminating (In)Justice –  an event being held, Wednesday, December 2 at 5 pm at the School of Social Service Administration. Registration was not required.

By joining in this event, we came together as a community to:

  • Express outrage at the killing of Laquan McDonald, the absence of transparency and full accountability related to his death, and the all too common unjust patterns of police violence in communities of color
  • Give voice and action to the urgent need for racial justice in our city and beyond

Illuminating (In)Justice will serve as a visible demonstration of our continued intention and commitment to build community in ways that promote equality and justice. The event will include brief remarks from members of the University of Chicago community, recognition of victims of police violence, and discussion of opportunities for continued involvement.

Illuminating (In)Justice is organized by SSA faculty members Gina Fedock, Deborah Gorman-Smith, and Matt Epperson.

For questions, please contact SSA's Dean of Students office at 773.702.1135. Persons with a disability who may require special assistance should call 773.702.9700.