Breonna Taylor's, Tony McDade's, and George Floyd's murders are recent examples of violence and police brutality directed at Black people. This month we will be exploring work that contextualizes the history and continual marginalization of Black people in the criminal justice system.
Dr. Charlene J. Fletcher, Dr. Nathan Stephens, Dr. Michael Schlosser, and Dr. Rebecca Ginsburg will join us for the discussion.
Charlene J. Fletcher, Ph.D., is the Postdoctoral Research Associate in Slavery and Justice at Brown University and a historian specializing in 19th century United States and African American history and gender studies. Prior to attending IU, Charlene led a domestic violence/sexual assault program as well as a large reentry initiative in New York City, assisting women and men in their transition from incarceration to society and served as a lecturer of Criminal Justice at LaGuardia Community College.
Charlene’s research and forthcoming book explores the experiences of confined African-American women in Kentucky from Reconstruction to the Progressive Era, specifically illuminating the lives of confined Black women by examining places other than carceral locales as arenas of confinement, including mental health institutions and domestic spaces. She seeks to explore how these women both defied and defined confinement through their incarceration, interactions with public, social, and political entities of the period, as well as how they challenged ideas of race and femininity. Charlene’s work is motivated by her personal and professional experiences — particularly her work with individuals and families impacted by domestic violence and incarceration — and these experiences continue to fuel her passion for her work today.
Nathan Stephens is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Illinois State University. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Social Work are from Columbia College and the University of Missouri (Mizzou) respectively. He is a Ph.D. candidate at Mizzou where his research utilizes Critical Race Theory to examine the impact of racialized stress, racial trauma, and complex trauma among Black men and boys. Professor Stephens teaches Social Justice with Diverse Populations, Generalist Practice III: Social Work with Groups, and Professional Practice. Previously he taught Working with Minority Youth, Social Welfare Policy, and Race and Ethnicity at Mizzou, the University of Illinois, and William Woods University. Believing that education can change lives, Professor Stephens created and taught the course Social Justice in Social Work to students residing in the Danville Correctional Center for the Education Justice Project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Nathan is certified as a social justice educator and has presented at several conferences across the U.S. including the American Educational Researchers Association (AERA), the Big XII Conference on Black Student Government, and the Association for Black Cultural Centers (ABCC) to name a few. He has also presented to Fortune 500 companies like State Farm Insurance and Yahoo!/Verizon. Nathan has collaborated with government leaders by presenting to the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus. He has also facilitated cultural competency training with the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Department of Public Safety, Bolingbrook Police Department, and Lincoln’s Challenge Academy. His training also includes the Veteran’s Administration (VA) Hospital’s Human Resources office on diversity, inclusion and Equal Employment Opportunities.
Dr. Michael Schlosser is the Director of the University of Illinois Police Training Institute (PTI). He holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Governor's State University, a Master's Degree in Legal Studies from the University of Illinois, and a PhD in Education from the University of Illinois. Dr. Schlosser is credited for his ground-breaking efforts toward police reform. Dr. Schlosser implemented additional innovative curriculum for improving the police practice that is not required by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. These courses include Policing in a Multiracial Society, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Questionable (LGBTQ) Ally Training, Understanding Victims of Sexual Assault, Police Officer Wellness, and Wrongful Convictions. Dr. Schlosser's vision and foresight of police reform, including these additional courses, were implemented pre-Ferguson. Post-Ferguson brought about many recommended and required courses for police training. The aforementioned courses, currently being offered by PTI, were all later recommended within President Obama's final report from the "President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing." These courses, combined with PTI's overall emphasis on non-escalation training, de-escalation training, and community policing, through intensive integrated scenario based training puts the Police Training Institute on the cutting edge of police reform and improving the police practice.Dr. Schlosser has authored dozens of articles, made numerous radio and television appearances, and given over 100 presentations across the country on topics such as community policing, police tactics, police training, use of force, de-escalation techniques, control and arrest tactics, the intersection of police and race, diversity, police officer wellness, police family wellness, and various police related topics.