And Justice for All

‘And Justice for All’ Series Looks at Charlottesville’s Aftermath on Nov. 7

And Justice For All Charlottesville PosterThe popular Muskegon Community College “And Justice for All…” series continues with a panel discussion of “Charlottesville: Race, Religion and Justice” on Tuesday, Nov. 7, from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Carolyn I. and Peter Sturrus Technology Center, 388 W. Clay, in downtown Muskegon.

The public is encouraged to attend and participate in this free event, which will be held in the building’s Student Center on the first floor.

“The increasing number of hate incidents around the nation has generated attention on how public policy makers should respond,” explained MCC President Dale K. Nesbary. “This solution-focused panel of nationally respected scholars and practitioners will provide their perspective on how we move forward.”

The panelists are:

  • Dale K. President, who is in his ninth year as president of Muskegon Community College.
  • Heather J. Garretson, a professor of law and a member of the State Bar of Michigan’s Criminal Issues Initiative;
  • Erik Love, the author of Islamophobia and Racism in America (NYU Press, 2017) and an assistant professor of sociology at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania;
  • Morris Jenkins, a professor of criminal justice and former dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Southeastern Missouri State University; and
  • Andy Wible, an instructor of philosophy at MCC, will moderate the panel discussion.

Dr. Dale K. Nesbary previously held academic and administrative positions with Adrian College and Oakland University. The Research Director and Technical Services Director with the Boston Police Department, he worked as an administrator with the City of Boston, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency. His research agenda includes over 30 academic books and papers primarily focusing on corrections spending, police behavior, and police technology. At Oakland University, he directed the Master of Public Administration Program and launched the Criminal Justice Leadership Concentration. He holds a Ph.D. in Law Policy and Society from Northeastern University, a Master of Public Administration from Western Michigan University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University.

Heather Garretson, J.D. is an experienced litigator and former law professor who researches and consults on criminal justice reform issues and the collateral consequences of a conviction. Her professional background gives her a unique perspective on the criminal justice system and its impact. She is currently the ACLU of Michigan’s Campaign Manager for the Smart Justice Campaign which seeks to cut incarceration in half and eliminate racial bias from the criminal justice system. As a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Kansas City, Garretson prosecuted federal narcotics cases and argued before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Following her work with the U.S. Attorney’s office, she practiced white-collar criminal defense then moved into academia. As a Scholar in Residence at CUNY Law School in New York, she published her research on legislation aimed at reducing barriers for people with criminal records.

Dr. Erik Love, a sociology professor who also served as chair of Middle East Studies at Dickinson College, has had his research on civil rights advocacy receive support from several places, including a grant from the National Science Foundation and a fellowship from the James Weldon Johnson Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His writing has appeared on Al Jazeera English, Jadaliyya, and in peer-reviewed academic publications.

Dr. Morris Jenkins, who joined Southeastern Missouri State University in 2013, has been an associate professor and assistant professor of criminal justice at the University of Toledo, associate director of SOS Community Services in Ypsilanti, Mich., adjunct professor of business law and American government at Terra Community College in Fremont, Ohio, and assistant professor of administration of justice program at Penn State University, Abington College.

For more information on the “And Justice for All…” series, contact the MCC Office of the Provost at (231) 777-0266.

 

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Origins of “…And Justice For All” at MCC

In early 2015 when tensions between law enforcement and minorities were escalating in places like Ferguson, Cleveland and New York City, MCC took a proactive approach and launched its “…And Justice for All” series of community discussions.

“Now is as good a time as ever to engage our students in a larger societal issue that is worth talking and educating our students beyond the normal classroom discussions,” said MCC Vice President John Selmon in announcing the series. “Our students and others need helpful information about how to navigate the criminal justice system.”

  • February 24, 2015 – “Rights, Race and the Police”
    The inaugural event in Collegiate Hall brought together college and high schools students, community members, with faculty, local law enforcement and a Grand Rapids lawyer who had represented police officers sued for civil rights violations. The momentum created by that first discussion propelled MCC to coordinate five subsequent “…And Justice for All” events funded by the John G. Thompson College and Community Fund.
  • April 23, 2015 – “After the Ferguson Report: A Dialogue on Race and Police”
    Panelists included: D.J. Hilson, the Muskegon County Prosecutor; Lynne Gill, the Muskegon Heights Chief of Police; Darnell Blackburn, Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCLOES) District Field Representative; Jeffrey Lewis, the Director of Public Safety for the Muskegon Police Department; Nicholas Budimir, an MCC instructor; and Andy Wible, MCC Arts and Humanities Department Chair, the moderator.
  • September 24, 2015 – “Explore Your Bias”
    MCC faculty members Papa N’jai and Nicholas Budimir, along with Institute of Healing Racism Director Floyd R. Cook, led a discussion on various topics related to bias, such a structural racism, and engaged the audience with questions designed to provide greater insights into their perceptions and potential biases.
  • November 30, 2015 – “Engaging Others: Race Class and Gender”
    Participants viewed short videos and then randomly were divided into small groups, where MCC faculty and staff facilitated discussions about the complicated divisions of race, class and gender within society.
  • February 23, 2016 – “Mass Incarceration: Balancing Justice and Public Safety”
    With more than 2.2 million people incarcerated in U.S. jails or prisons in 2013 – a 400 percent increase since 1980 – a panel talked about criminals, rehabilitation and deterrence, the effectiveness of prisons and jails, and alternatives. Panelists included: Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler; Muskegon Correctional Facility Warden Sherry Burt; Muskegon Community College Psychologist Dr. Sherri Deboef Chandler; and former prisoner and rehabilitation expert Cliff Washington.
  • April 20, 2016 – “Political Engagement: Influencing Change”
    Academics, politicians and activists talked about opportunities and ideas for influencing change in the way police, courts, and prisons function. Increasing public awareness around criminal justice and policing allows the opportunity to discuss and debate new directions and ideas for reform.Panelists included State Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright (D-92nd District), State Rep. Jon Bumstead (R-100th District), Muskegon County Equal Opportunity Employment Officer Tim Bracey, MCC Board of Trustees Treasurer Sean Mullally and MCC Instructor Kurt Troutman. MCC Social Sciences faculty members Papa N’Jai and Nicholas Budimir facilitated the discussion.
  • September 20, 2016 – “Defamation: the Play”
    MCC hosted the nationally acclaimed Todd Logan show, “Defamation: The Play,” a riveting courtroom drama that explores the highly charged issues of race, religion, gender, class and the law with a twist – the audience is the jury. More than a play, the show is a unique opportunity for the community to engage in civil discourse about the most pressing social issues of our day.
  • November 3, 2017 – “the 13th Amendment: From Shackles to Prison Bars?”
    An open discussion of the Netflix documentary “13th” by Ava DuVernay and the deleterious legacy of that Constitutional amendment upon African-Americans was held. Michelle Loyd-Paige, the Executive Associate to the President for Diversity and Inclusion at Calvin College, was the panelist and MCC faculty member Gretchen Cline served as the facilitator. The 13th constitutional amendment was ratified in 1865 and stated: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The film charts the explosive growth in America’s prison population; in 1970, there were about 200,000 prisoners; today, the prison population is more than 2 million. Although the U.S. has just 5% of the world’s population, it has about 25% of the world’s prisoners, and about one in three prisoners are black men. More than 60% of the people in U.S prisons are people of color.
  • March 20, 2017 – “What to Do When Stopped by the Police”The presenters included Jeffrey Lewis, the director of public safety for the Muskegon Police Department; Sgt. Marvin Petty of the Muskegon Heights Police; and Charles Ayres, an assistant public defender and trial attorney for Muskegon County. MCC sociologist Nicholas Budimir facilitated the discussion. The two law enforcement officers shared insights and informative materials and conducted role-playing with students. They shared personal experiences to educate the audience on best practices and how the police are trained to approach routine stops. Ayres talked about the individual’s legal rights in those situations.
  • April 20, 2017 – “Too Poor to Pay: Debtors Prison”  The panelists addressed the consequences of bail, tickets, fines, and plea bargaining sentences on the poor in the American court system. MCC instructor Andy Wible moderated the panel discussion featuring the Hon. Raymond J. Kostrzewa, 60th District Court; D.J. Hilson, the Muskegon County Prosecutor; Heather Garretson, an experienced litigator and former law professor who researches and consults on the collateral consequences of a conviction; and Chad Catalino from the Muskegon County Public Defenders Office.
  • September 19, 2017 – “Economic Injustice: The Empowerment Experiment” Margarita “Maggie” Anderson, the CEO and founder of the Illinois-based Empowerment Experiment Foundation and author of Our Black Year, led a discussion about her family’s much-publicized, year-long stand living exclusively off businesses, professionals, and products from the Black community. This real-life case study in self-help economics was called The Empowerment Experiment and led to a landmark study conducted by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business. T