This year, Northwestern students will read Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson as a part of the One Book One program. In the book, Stevenson chronicles his early work as a criminal defense lawyer in Alabama. He worked to advocate for those mistreated by the judicial system, including for Walter McMillian, an innocent man on death row. The book is just the starting point. Listen along as we explore national and local issues and themes connected to Just Mercy and the criminal justice system.
Support for One Book, One Northwestern: The Podcast is provided by the Northwestern Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, and One Book One Northwestern.
Andrea Ritchie: Why Abolition is the Solution
In Just Mercy, Stevenson shows us the inhumanity of the U.S. prison system. Today, we will discuss the road to dismantling that system with a leading abolitionist and One Books spring speaker: Andrea Ritchie.
Andrea Ritchie has over 30 years of experience in organizing, litigating, writing about the criminalization of women of color and LGBTQ people in the U.S. After last year's pandemic and economic recession collided with police violence, Ritchie explains why recentering the defund movement on the needs of these marginalized groups is more important than ever. Learn more at interruptingcriminalization.com
Xavier McElrath-Bey: The Fearless Youth Justice Advocate You Should Know
Xavier McElrath-Bey didn’t understand what it meant to be tried as an adult when he was 13. But after serving 13 years of his 25 year sentence, his mission has become to work on behalf the victim of his case and all the incarcerated youth handed extreme sentences. Now, at age 45, he’s the co-executive director of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, a national based organization fighting in courtrooms, legislatures and prisons across the U.S. He tells his story, hoping it will change people’s minds and our justice system.
To learn more about the campaign, visit cfsy.org. You can also learn more about Xavier's extensive advocacy and story, visit nochildisbornbad.com/
The Final 5: Closing Youth Prisons in Illinois
The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, founded in 2006, built eight youth prisons, or as they are formally called “youth centers.” Two closed in 2012, another in 2016. This August, The Final Five Campaign launched to close the last five youth prisons in Illinois.
In this episode, we got insight on how the effort is forming from Olivia Blocker, the campaign’s coordinator, and Ja’Vaune Jackson, a youth advocate who was incarcerated in two of the centers as a minor. They break down why prisons cause irreparable harm to entire communities and what alternatives to youth prisons may look like. thefinal5campaign.com/resources.
For more information on how you can support, visit the final5campaign.com/
Revealing Humanity: Inside the Northwestern Prison Education Program
Around two years ago, the Northwestern Prison Education Program started offering courses to incarcerated men at Stateville Correctional Center -- a maximum-security prison in Illinois. The program aims to give incarcerated men and women the opportunity to obtain a full liberal arts education.
In this episode, we explore NPEP more in-depth hearing from Jennifer Lackey, the founder and director of the program, about their work and from participants at Stateville about their experiences in order to understand the importance of education programs in prisons.
One Book One Northwestern: Just Mercy Podcast (Teaser)
This year's One Book One Northwestern Podcast will focus on the issues presented in Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. In future episodes, we will focus on national and local issues regarding the U.S. criminal justice system. Hear more about what you can look forward to in this trailer.
Written and Produced by Sophia Lo, Baylor Spears & Camille Williams
Edited By Dr. Ava Thompson Greenwell
Music: Uprising by Purple Planet Music from https://www.purple-planet.com**
Navigating the Pipeline: Dr. Heather Pinkett's Journey to Research
To wrap up this year's podcast, I brought it back to our main theme of this year, women of color in STEM, and a little closer to home. I talked to Dr. Heather Pinkett a professor and researcher in Northwestern's Department of Molecular Biosciences. In the first half of the episode, we discuss her background that shaped her research of proteins in her lab at Northwestern today. In the second half, we discuss what STEM research fields look like today for women and other underrepresented groups and how the field can continue to improve.