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Sparer Symposium 2019

This year’s symposium will examine the systems that contribute to and reinforce the carceral state. State systems and institutions external to prisons use the same mechanisms of control, surveillance, and punishment in order to maintain racial hierarchy. How does policing, public housing and benefit access, school policies and the child welfare system reproduce systems of control and racial dominance? We will examine how these systems, which purportedly increase public welfare and provide social benefits, often instead oppress and punish poor communities of color. Ultimately, we hope to convey that abolitionist movements must seek not only to dismantle the prison system but also to decriminalize the social safety net. Join us in re-imagining the state’s role in meeting people’s needs.


8:30 a.m. Continental breakfast and registration
9:00 a.m. Opening Remarks
9:30 a.m.

First Panel: “Policing in Everyday Lives: Routine Surveillance and Punishment in Poor Communities” (1.5 ethics)

  • Derecka Purnell, Attorney at the Advancement Project
  • Andrea Ritchie, Organizer and Author of Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color
  • Priscilla Ocen, Professor of Law at Loyola Law School and Co-Author of Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected

11 a.m.

Second Panel: “The Misedu(carceration) of Our Youth: Disrupting School-to-Confinement Pathways” (1.5 ethics)

  • Morgan Craven, Director of School-to-Prison Pipeline Project at Texas Appleseed
  • Maura McInerney, Legal Director of the Education Law Center
  • Monique Morris, Author of Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, Founder and President of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute
  • Anahi Figueroa, Youth Advocate, Juveniles for Justice
12:30 p.m. Lunch
1:15 p.m.

Third Panel: “Presumed Guilty: Parents of Color and The Child Welfare System” (1.5 ethics)

  • Dorothy Roberts, George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Vivek Sankaran, Child Advocacy Law Clinic Professor, University of Michigan Law School
  • Dinah Ortiz-Adames, Parent Advocate Supervisor, Bronx Defenders Family Defense Practice
  • Maggie Potter, Social Worker at Community Legal Services, Family Advocacy Unit
3:00 p.m.

Keynote Address: Elizabeth Hinton (1 ethics)

Associate Professor in the Department History and the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University and award winning author of From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America.

4:00 p.m. Closing Remarks and Reception