Exploring Systemic Racism in Alexandria: Civil and Criminal Justice

Howard Thurman in his 1949 book Jesus and the Disinherited wrote that “the masses … live with their backs against the wall. They are the poor, the disinherited, the dispossessed. What does our religion say to them?” Our panel discussion will explore what our local legal leadership has said to them in the past and is saying to them now.

African American men, women, and children are 23% of the population of Alexandria, yet a greater percentage of the cases that come to civil and criminal court involve African Americans. In the 1990s a national effort to address the over-representation of African American youth in juvenile courts led to a lot of finger-pointing. When any effort to address the obvious challenges that face a system is met with blame or denial, it is difficult to make needed change. In Alexandria, as in other places, ensuring justice for the men, women, and children in Alexandria whose backs were against the wall has been an ongoing but imperfect effort since the early 1990s.

Please join us on Tuesday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m. for a panel discussion with distinguished jurists, attorneys, and a journalist/historian to learn how those in past and current legal leadership in Alexandria have made efforts to address these challenges and what remains to be done.

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUscemrpjgpH9ElMiutaMQS54FQ5qjC_ZmE

Our panel:
Honorable Judge Nolan B. Dawkins (Ret.), an equality trailblazer as a student and jurist
Honorable Judge Stephen Rideout (Ret.), a reform leader in juvenile and family justice
Alexandria Commonwealth Attorney Bryan Porter, a founding member of Virginia’s progressive prosecutors
Damon D. Colbert, a criminal defense attorney in Alexandria
Michael Lee Pope author, journalist, podcaster