Africana Studies Against Criminal Injustice
Conference: Panelists’ Biographies


















































Biko Agozino is a native of Nigeria. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminology and the Interim Coordinator of the Pan African Studies Program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland in 1995.

Patricia Allard is a lawyer by training and a Black feminist activist and policy analyst in practice. She works at The Sentencing Project in Washington D.C., where her research and advocacy efforts focus on the impact of criminal justice policy on low-income women and women of color. In the last few years, she has examined the different ways in which legislative actions reveal the intersection of the drug war, criminal justice system, welfare reform, and other socioeconomic policy arenas.

Karima Amin is an educator, author, educational consultant, and storyteller who uses the art of storytelling to teach about the people of the world, especially those of African descent. She has provided thousands of performances and workshops for adults and children in large and small groups in the US, Canada, and Senegal. She has received numerous awards for her dedication and contributions to education, the community and the arts, which was noted in the book Who’s Who Among African Americans.

Frankie Bailey is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Albany (SUNY). Her specialty is crime and culture, crime history and crime and media/popular culture. She has co-authored several books, most recently Social History of African American Responses to Issues of Crime and Justice (1999). Her forthcoming book is entitled Blood on Her Hands: The Social Construction of Women, Sexuality, and Murder. She also authored a mystery novels series.

Lumumba Bandele is a hip hop DJ and National co-Coordinator of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. He is co-Founder of the Black August Collective, a hip hop project using culture as a tool for political education and activism, and a founding member of the New York Coalition Against Police Brutality.

Ludovic Blain is the Associate Director of the Democracy Program, an organization that focuses on democratic reform efforts in regional and state networks. He has more than a decade of advocacy, organizing and communication experience helping to shape local and national government reform, environment justice, and consumer protection policies. He co-founded and chaired the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance and the East Coast Office of Anti-racist media training and strategy center. He has led community capacity building in Northern Ireland, Haiti, Gambia, Denmark and Canada.

Robert Boyle is an attorney who has represented various political prisoners in the U.S., including Dhoruba bin Wahad and the “New York 3”: Jalil Mutaqim, Herman Bell and Albert Washington. He is currently on the executive committee of the New York chapter of the National Lawyers’ Guild. He is a contributing author in COINTELPRO: The Untold American Story.

Ramona Brockett is a Professor of Political Science and Afro-American Studies at Northern Kentucky University. She received her Ph.D. from Rutgers University Graduate School of Criminal Justice and is a graduate of Boston College Law School. She served as a legal consultant and an on air commentator for CBS New Radio 88 in New York, WHYY 91.6 and National Public Radio in Philadelphia.

Elaine Brown is a former leading member of the Black Panther Party and author of A Taste of Power and the Condemnation of Little B. She established Fields of Flowers, a nonprofit education center for black and other poor children. She organized the Michael Lewis Legal Defense Committee to support the legal appeal of Lewis (Little B) who was arrested at age 13 for a murder he did not commit, convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1997. She serves as board member of Mothers Advocating Juvenile Justice and is the Director of Political Affairs for the National Alliance for Radical Prison Reform. She sits on the board of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation and lectures at colleges and universities throughout the country on New Age Racism, and on eliminating racism, gender oppression and class disparity in America.

Mark Christian is a native of Liverpool, England. He is a professor of Sociology and teaches in the Black World Studies Department at Miami University in Ohio. His latest book is an edited volume that brings together Black British and African American scholars entitled: Black Identity in the 20th Century: Expressions of the US and UK African Diaspora (2002).

Todd R. Clear is a Distinguished Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, (CUNY), and Executive Officer of the Program of Doctoral Studies in Criminal Justice, at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is currently involved in studies of religion and crime, the criminological implications of “place” and the concept of “community justice.” Clear has been elected to the national office in the American Society of Criminology and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. He has served as a programming consultant to public agencies in over 40 states and 5 nations, and his work has garnered several awards notably from the Rockefeller School of Public Policy, and the American Probation and Parole Association.

Jeanette Covington is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Her research focuses on the social ecology of crime, neighborhood change and crime, and the links between drug use and crime. Her current work calls attention to the ways in which African Americans are constructed as “problem people” in criminology theory and research and how these constructions are used to justify intrusions by the criminal justice system into the lives of black folks. At present, she serves on the National Research Council Committee on Law and Justice.

Angela Davis is known internationally for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the U.S. and abroad. She is a tenured professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Presidential Chair in African American and Feminist Studies. She has been active as a student, teacher, writer, scholar, and activist/organizer and has lectured in 50 states and aboard. Her long-standing commitment to prisoner’s rights dates back to her involvement in the campaign to free the Soledad Brothers, which led to her own arrest and imprisonment. She remains an advocate of prison abolition and has developed a powerful critique of racism in the criminal justice system. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Prison Activist Resource Center and currently is working on a comparative study of women’s imprisonment in the U.S., the Netherlands and Cuba. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She is the author of five books, including Angela Davis: An Autobiography (1974): Women, Race and Class (1981), Women, Culture and Politics (1989), Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday (1998); and the Angela Davis Reader (1998), and coedited If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance (1971).

pattydukes is a writer, actress and hip-hop activist. As a writer, her work has appeared in Girls: Ordinary Girls and Their Extraordinary Pursuits and The Hunter Envoy, Reyna Magazine, and Rag Magazine and the anthology Vinyl Donuts. As an actress, her recent theater credits include Till Da Break of Dawn, Chump Change, At Risk, Evelina’s Heart, and El Bronx Remembered. Currently, she is working on a solo piece entitled Stakes is High, which uses hip-hop to tell the story of young females in a juvenile detention center.

Edwin (Eddie) Ellis is president of the Community Justice Center, Inc., a New York criminal justice advocacy organization and is a consultant for the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute, Criminal Justice Initiative. He served 25 years in prison for a crime he did not commit and has always maintained his innocence. He is a writer, lecture, community activist and former leader of the Black Panther Party. While in prison he acquired his Masters Degree from New York Theological Seminary and a B.S. in Business Administration from Marist College. He hosts “On the Count” a 90-minute weekly public affairs program on WBAI-FM in NYC. He holds numerous policy administrative positions and is a board advisor for several human rights and criminal justice organizations.

Stephanie (Mecca) Franklin is a Baltimore attorney and activist who represents children in abuse and neglect proceedings and parents in termination of parental rights cases. She speaks nationally and locally about the Adoption and Safe Families Act and its affects on individuals, families and communities of color, specifically African Americans. She recently created a specialized project with her firm entitled: “Project Independence to Empower Young Women.”

Julius Debro is a Professor of Society and Justice in the political science department at the University of Washington. He served as the Associate Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Washington, Seattle from 1991-1999. He was the principal investigator on numerous research projects on juvenile justice and other race-related criminal justice studies. His most recent publication is an article entitled, “Race, Class, Gender and Justice in the United States” in Reason, Conley and Debro (2002).

Shaun L. Gabbidon is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of Criminal Justice in the School of Public Affairs at Pennsylvania State University, Capital College. His areas of research include minorities and crime, private security, inner city crime, African American studies and criminal justice education. Gabbidon coauthored African American Criminological Thought (2000) and is the coeditor of African American Classics in Criminology and Criminal Justice (2002). His forthcoming book is entitled, W.E.B. Dubois on Crime and Justice: Laying the Foundations of American Sociological Criminology.

Camille Gibson is a native of Jamaica, West Indies. She is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Juvenile Justice at Prairie View A& M University. She authored Being Real: The Student-Teacher Relationship and African American Male Delinquency (2002)-based on her study of public education in the Bronx. She has published on learning disabilities and delinquency, school suspensions, Japanese organized crime and pre-sentence investigation reports. Her other research includes early childhood intervention programs, Jamaican posses’ organized crime in the US, African American and Hispanic juvenile relations with law enforcement and gambling and crime.

Lewis R. Gordon is Chairperson of the Department of Africana Studies and Professor of Africana Studies, Modern Culture and Media, and Latin American Studies at Brown University. He is an Ongoing Visiting Professor of Government and Philosophy at the University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica and President of the Caribbean Philosophical Association. He has written several works on scholar Frantz Fanon. His book, Her Majesty’s Other Children: Sketches of Racism from a Neocolonial Age, published in 1997, won the Gustavas Myer Award for Outstanding Book on Human Rights in North America. His forthcoming works include: In an Age of Disciplinary Decadence: Essays on Philosophy and Culture, and What Fanon Really Said: A Study of His Life and Thought (Knopf).

Angela Hilton is a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies/Literature at Purdue University. Her doctoral research focuses on African American literature and history. She uses fiction to explore the ways in which black mothers with incarcerated sons are affected by the criminal justice system. She completed her B.A. in American Studies/Literature at Stanford University in 1992.

Baba O.S.A.S Jayiasura has been incarcerated for twenty-five years. During his years of incarceration, he has consciously and consistently worked to improve himself through education at the Medgar Evers Bronx Community College, Mercy College and The New York Theological Seminary and through activism with the NAACP, and the Urban League. He teaches African, African American, Latino, Asian and European Studies as a part of helping others develop a true sense of themselves in the world. Upon his release from prison, he intends to work in community service. His wife, Karima Amin, is presenting a conference paper on his behalf.

Karl Ellis Johnson is an Assistant Professor of African American History at Ramapo College of New Jersey. He received his Ph.D. in History at Temple University. His dissertation was titled “Black Philadelphia in Transition: The African American Struggle on the Homefront During World War II, 1941-1963.” He specializes in African American History and Urban History.

Anthony K. “Van” Jones is the founder and Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (EBC). In 2002, he was the recipient of the World Economics Forum’s “Global Leader of Tomorrow Award.” He received his JD in 1993 and joined the legal staff of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights as its Thurgood Marshall Law Fellow and worked on environment racism, employment, educational equity and homelessness issues. In 1995 he founded Bay Area Police Watch, northern California’s first and only police misconduct legal referral panel.

Michael Lindsey holds both a JD, and a PhD in clinical psychology. He is an adjunct professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Arlington, a lecturer at the Texas Wesleyan School of Law and an adjunct faculty member for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges in Reno, Nevada. In 1985, he founded Nestor Consultants, Inc., an organization providing consulting and training services in organizational management, cultural competency program audits, and juvenile justice staff development. His most recent publication is entitled, Cultural Diversity Strategies to Reduce Disproportionate Minority Confinement in Secure Juvenile Detention Facilities (2002).

Lawrence Mamiya is the Paschall-Davis Professor of Religion and Africana Studies at Vassar College. He coauthored The Black Church in the African American Experience. He is currently working on a book on African American Muslim movements. As an activist scholar, he has done volunteer work at the Green Haven maximum security prison for 24 years.

Marc Mauer is the Assistant Director of the Sentencing Project, a national organization which develops alternative sentencing programs and conducts research on criminal justice issues, and has directed criminal justice programs for 25 years. He authored Young Black Men and the Criminal Justice System, and the Americans Behind Bars Series. His book on criminal justice policy, Race to Incarcerate (1999), was named the semifinalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He also co-edited, Invisible Punishment, a collection of essays on the social costs of imprisonment.

Tonya McClary is a criminal defense/civil rights lawyer and activist. She is the current National Criminal Justice Representative for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). Prior to joining AFSC, she served as the Domestic Program Director at the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty in Washington, D.C. In 1997, she was the Director of Research on the Criminal Justice Project for the NACCP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Currently, she serves as the Vice Chair of the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Committee and is the Chair of the Women’s Steering Committee for Amnesty International USA.

William McIver, Jr is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information Science and Policy at the University of Albany, SUNY. He specializes in database systems and social informatics. His current research projects include the semantic web, information needs and uses, and communication rights. He serves as the civil society delegate to the preparatory process for the UN-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society. He is co-editor of Advances in Digital Government: Technology, Human Factors and Policy (2002).

George Derek Musgrove is a graduate student in the Department of History at New York University. He is currently working on his dissertation entitled: “The Harassment of Black Elected Officials: Race Citizenship and State Power in Post-1965 America.”

Lisa N. Nealy is a Ph.D. candidate in the field of Political Science at Howard University and is the 2003 Patricia Robert Harris Fellow. Her specializations are Black Politics, American Government and Political Behavior. Her interdisciplinary research interests include religion, gender and criminal justice.

Janai S. Nelson is an Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., where she litigates voting rights and redistricting cases on behalf of African Americans and other underserved communities, and actively pursues her interests in criminal justice issues. In addition, she is currently serving as Vice President of a charter school in Queens, New York. She received her JD in 1996 from the UCLA School of Law.

Ahmed Obafemi was sentenced in 1972 on a gun charge engineered by the F.B.I.'s COINTELPRO program. The F.B.I. succeeded in framing this key leader and officer of the Republic of New Afrika. At the time, he was doing political work at the Democratic National Convention in Miami, Florida. Sentenced with him was Tarik Sonnebeyatta, of Camden, New Jersey. Mr. Obafemi was jailed and served 10 years. He is currently a human rights organizer in Birmingham, AL.

Khalil Osiris is the Executive Director of the National Alliance for Radical Prison Reform, based in Atlanta, Georgia. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Boston University while serving a 15-year prison sentence. During his prison term, Osiris, under the aegis of the All African Peoples Revolutionary Party, organized prisoner study groups and coordinated a series of lectures for prisoners by community leaders. Osiris is an Adjunct Professor at Wright State University (Dayton, Ohio) teaching the courses, “Psychology of Incarceration” and “Circle of Courage.” He is also co-authoring the book, Psychology of Incarceration.

Tony Platt is a Professor of Social Work as California State University, where he has taught since 1977. He has served as a member of the Editorial Board of Social Justice since its inception in 1974. He has published several books and articles in the areas of U.S. history, race relations, criminology, sociology and social policy and is currently doing research on California’s historiography. In addition to his academic work, he is a reviewer for the Los Angeles Times Book Review.

Everette B. Penn is the Masters’ Coordinator for the School of Juvenile Justice and Psychology at Prairie View A&M University. His teaches courses on juvenile justice, crime prevention, ethics and community building. He is currently working on a book and recently coauthored with Shaun Gabbidon a forthcoming article entitled: “Careers Choices and Characteristics of African American Undergraduates Majoring in Criminal Justice at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”

LaShawnDa Pittman is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at Northwestern University. She has worked as an activist in the African American community, specifically with children and juveniles. Her interests include the intersectionality of race, class, gender and sexuality, as well as urban sociology, juvenile justice and policy, and qualitative methods.

Andrea Ritchie is a recent graduate of Howard University School of Law and has completed research on the issue of police brutality against Black women for a forthcoming journal article entitled, “Invisible Crimes, Inadequate Remedies: Police Brutality Against Black Women in America.” As a progressive Black lesbian feminist, she has worked in the anti-police brutality, women’s, civil/human rights and environmental justice movements in the U.S. and Canada, over the past 10 years, as an advocate, policy analyst and researcher.

Katheryn Russell Brown is an Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland, College Park, (UMCP). She received her law degree from Hastings Law School in 1986 and her Ph.D. in criminology at UMCP. Her teaching, research, and writing has been in the areas of criminal law, sociology of law, and race and crime. She has held teaching positions at American University School of Law, CUNY Law School, Howard University and Alabama State University. She is a member of the American Society of Criminology and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

Rosemary Sarri is a Professor of Social Work and a Senior Research Scientist, Emeriti at the University of Michigan. She is a widely published author on child welfare, the justice system, and the impact of social policy on families. Her research focuses on: the overrepresentation of youth of color in the justice and child welfare systems, programs for at-risk and delinquent female adolescents, and a study of juveniles tried as adults. She recently edited Women at the Margins: Neglect, Punishment and Resistance (2002).

Carla Shedd is currently a third year doctoral student in the Sociology Department at Northwestern University. She is a Pre-Doctoral Fellow for the National Consortium on Violence Research (NCVOR) and a Certificate Fellow in Law and Social Sciences at the American Bar Foundation. At present, her work deals the intersection of race, perception of injustice, and delinquency among Chicago Public School students.

Heather Schoenfeld is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Sociology Department at Northwestern University. Her research interests include: social inequality, race, the criminal justice system and social movements. She worked as the Coordinator of Operations for the Midtown Community Court in NYC, and was responsible for managing the Court’s staffing, budgeting, research and programs, including its on-site job training and placement program for ex-offenders.

Natalie J. Sokoloff has been a Professor of Sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY), for the past 30 years. She has team-taught in the interdisciplinary Thematic Studies Department on Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, and the Criminal Justice System. She is on the doctoral faculty at CUNY in Sociology, Criminal Justice and Women’s Studies. A past scholar at the Institute for Teaching and Research on Women at Towson University, she has worked in the research unit on the NY State Division for Youth and is a faculty member at Mt. Sinai Medical School’s Department of Community Medicine in NYC. She has published widely in the areas of women and work; race, gender and work; and women, crime and justice.

Bryan Stevenson is the Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabamy in Montgomery, Alabama, and an Associate Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law. His representation of poor people and death row prisoners in the deep south has won him national recognition. He and his staff have been successful in overturning dozens of capital murder cases and death sentences where poor people have been unconstitutionally convicted or sentenced. He has garnered much recognition and awards as the top public interest lawyer in the country. He has published articles on race and poverty, and the criminal justice system, and manuals on capital litigation.

Julia Sudbury is a native of England and an Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at Mills College in California. She authored Other Kinds of Dreams: Black Women’s Organization and Politics of Transformation. She serves as the Coordinator of Osaba Women’s Center for African Caribbean Women and children and Director of Sia: The National Development Agency for the Black Voluntary Sector. She is active in the prison abolitionist movement, and serves as a board member of Critical Resistance, Prison Activist Center and National Board Member of Incite!: Women of Color Against Violence. She is also active in feminist and queer activism.

Robin Templeton is the Executive Director of the National Campaign to the Restore Voting Rights, a collaboration among eight national civil rights and public interest organizations. The Campaign’s mission is to secure the right to vote for the 4.65 million people in the US denied access to the ballot because of felony conviction. Previously, she was the Communications Director at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, was the founding member of the organizing committee for Critical Resistance, and has worked with the acclaimed writing program for youths in detention, the Beat Within.

Chris Uggen (pronounced You-Gun) is an associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota. He studies crime, law, and deviance, with an emphasis on how former criminal offenders adopt new work, family, and civic roles. His other research interests include: crime and drug use over the life course, discrimination and sexual harassment, and workplace crime and victimization. His work has been widely published in academic and mainstream publications, and he is currently writing a book and article series on felon disenfranchisement and American democracy.

Peter Wagner is Assistant Director of the Prison Policy Initiative and a fourth-year law student at Western New England College School of Law. In 2002, he published “Importing Constituents: Prisoners and Political Clout in New York”, the first systematic state analysis of the impact of prisoner enumeration policies on legislative redistricting. His most recent publication is “The Prison Index: Taking the Pulse of the Crime Control Industry.”

Sean Wheeler is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. His research interests include entrepreneurship, race and ethnic relations, criminal justice and sociological theory. He recently published the article “Self Employment, Criminal Victimization and Community Organization: Formulating Effective Policies for Urban Development” in the Review of Black Political Economy. He received his Ph.D. for the University of Texas at Austin in 2001.

Laura Whitehorn was released from prison in 1999 after serving fifteen years. Since the 1970s, when she helped lead a building occupation at Harvard University, Laura has been active in anti-racist and anti-war organizing, and the women's liberation movement. Along with Linda Evans, Marilyn Buck, Susan Rosenberg and others, she was convicted in the Resistance Conspiracy to attack the U.S. Capitol, the Navy War College, and other government and corporate targets. She was in the federal women's prisons at Lexington, Kentucky and Dublin, California, where she was active in AIDS support work and where, with the other political prisoners, she helped organize the Bay Area art show for Mumia Abu Jamal.

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