African American judges will address Race and the Criminal Justice System in Delaware, a public forum at the First Unitarian Church of Wilmington. The Hon. Joshua Martin, former Superior Court Judge and the first African American President of the Delaware State Bar Association, will serve as moderator of the forum, which will feature all the African American judges currently sitting on the courts of Delaware. The timely forum reprises an event held 12 years ago. The current audience will be encouraged to submit questions for discussion including what has changed in the intervening years.
The event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow, a joint project of the Interdenominational Ministers Action Committee (IMAC) and the Interfaith Coalition Building Blocks for Wilmington. Spearheaded by the Rev. Dr. Lawrence Livingston of Mother African Union Church and the Rev. Paula Maiorano of First Unitarian Church, the coalition grew out of study groups from local churches that read and discussed Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness.
Over 80 people from nine congregations participated in the study groups led by Rev. Livingston, Rev. Maiorano, and other trained facilitators. After reading the book, participants were invited to join four Action Committees–the Community Forum group to raise awareness, the first Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom School® in Delaware, “Ban the Box” eliminating the box on job application forms that screens out former felons from the hiring process, and a committee advocating expansion in the pardon and/or expungement of criminal records. Coalition members meet as a group for education and collaboration on the second Tuesday of each month.
The First Unitarian Church is located at 730 Halstead Drive, just off Concord Pike. More information about the Forum and the Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow may be found on the website, www.dismantlenjc.org.