“WhatHappenedtoSandraBland?” Devising Strategies for Accountability in Combatting This Epidemic
Overview: On August 4, 2015, the Earl Carl Institute hosted a community forum regarding the event that was prompted by the death of Sandra Bland, while in custody of law enforcement in Waller County, Texas. This forum was hosted to devise strategies for proactive and preventive measures to ensure that “Sandra Bland” type incidents are less common. The event was in a plenary format with two panels of speakers.
Speakers: Moderators included James M. Douglas, Sarah Guidry, and Marlon A. Smith. Panelists included Congressman Al Green and Representative Senfronia Thompson.
Collaborators: included Black Greeks Speak, Department of Justice Community Relations, and the ACLU
Black Youth Matter: What Today’s Data Spells For Tomorrow’s Future”
Overview: On September 25, 2015, The Earl Carl Institute for Legal & Social Policy Inc., hosted a CLE and community discussion in light of the recent maltreatment of black youths by law enforcement, over disciplining in educational systems leading to the school to prison pipeline, overrepresentation in the foster care system and health disparities in the treatment of African American juveniles for mental illnesses.
The purpose of this forum was to provide attendees with a statement of the problem of disproportionality affecting youth of color through the use of statistical data, knowledgeable experts, and public discussion.
Speakers: Attorney James “Jay” Jenkins, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition; Windy Hill, Joyce James Race Equity Consulting; Tabatha Conway, Texas Department of Family & Protective Services; Professor Stephanie Ledesma, TMSL; Professor Dr. Vivian Dorsett, Prairie View A&M; Professor, Dr. Terrance Allen, University of Texas at Austin; Morgan Craven and Yamanda Wright, Texas Appleseed; Sarah Guidry, ECI Executive Director; Shondra Rogers McGary, HHSC Center for the Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparity Region 6 and Noel Pinnock, Houston’s My Brother’s Keeper.
Overview: In light of the recent $950,000 settlement of a lawsuit against Florida State University for their indifference in the investigation into a rape allegation involving NFL quarterback Jameis Winston, their then
all star quarterback who would win the Heisman Trophy, and in observance of Teen Dating Awareness Month, Texas Southern University, Thurgood Marshall School of Law TSU’s Women’s Resource Center, Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council and the Earl Carl Institute for Legal & Social Policy Inc. hosted a domestic violence continuing legal education seminar entitled “LOVE SHOULDN’T HURT: Recognizing, Understanding And Combating Dating Violence” on Thursday, February 18, 2016. The seminar was intended to bring awareness about the growing epidemic of dating violence that is prevalent in our communities and how it can impact the lives of teenagers and young adults. In addition the seminar was intended to provide practicing attorneys with information on legal alternatives that exist to protect clients who are victims of domestic violence.
Keynote Speaker: Actress and author Denisha Raychelle Hardeman. The Houston native, whileattending Southern Methodist University on a track scholarship, was cast as a background actress in the Oscar winning film, “Django Unchained.” Denisha starred and worked on many commercials, indie films, and television shows including “Glee” and “CSI.” Denisha also appeared in the record breaking film, “Straight Outta Compton.” Ms. Hardeman was a victim of dating violence and sexual assault as both a high school and college student. She recounts her experiences in her recently released book 8 Lanes based on her early years in college as a track star dealing with domestic violence, sexual assault, suicidal tendencies, addiction and depression.
Collaborators: The event was co-sponsored by the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council and the Texas Southern University Women’s Resource Center.
The 5th Annual Honorable Craig Washington and Senator Rodney Ellis: Excellence in Indigent Defense Series.
Overview:The 5th Annual Honorable Craig Washington and Senator Rodney Ellis: Excellence in Indigent Defense Series was held on February 24 and 25, 2016 and focused on one of the Center for Criminal Justice’s primary issues: exploring the reasons for race disparities in the criminal justice system. Racial disparities can be found across the criminal justice system, therefore the academic portion of the 2016 event explored the root causes of these disparities, including the question of police and prosecutorial discretion, the impact of general racial biases, the effect of cognitive bias, the use of statistics to examine the issues, and looking at why exposure of the disparate impacts have had little impact on slowing the system’s effect on African American men. The best practices day, aimed at improving the quality of indigent defense representation.
Collaborators: Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the Criminal Defense Lawyers Project.
Black Administrators in Child Welfare Community Forum- It’s Time! A Call to Action: Preserve Our Families –Bring Our Children Home
Overview: This program was a community convening to discuss methods for improving the child welfare system to create better outcomes for African Americans. This forum was prompted by discussions between the Earl Carl Institute and Black Administrators in Child Welfare as well as other stakeholder in leadership roles in systems involving African American children, youth, and families. The event was an interactive discussion between top child welfare professionals, other systems leaders and community advocates. The goal of the event was to provide
feedback for constructing implementable solutions that promote equitable outcomes in child and family services systems.
On February 26, 2016 the Earl Carl Institute hosted this community forum at the Barbara Jordan Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs McCoy Auditorium
Speakers and Topics: Overview of Black Administrators in Child Welfare, Mission and Catalystfor Change, Groundwater Analysis of Racial Inequities in Texas, Joyce James, Race Equity Consultant; Proposalfor ICWA-Like Burdens of Proof in Addressing African American Overrepresentation in the Child Welfare System, Sarah R. Guidry, Executive Director, Earl Carl Institute; Policiesand Practices that Impact on Kinship Placements, TDFPS Region 6 Director; Federal Court Finds that Texas Violates the Constitutional Right of Foster Children, Attorneys for the Children, Dori Goldman & Chris Porter, Yetter Coleman, LLP
The Earl Carl Institute’s 3rd Annual Child Welfare Forensics Conference
Overview: The Earl Carl Institute’s 3rd Annual Child Welfare Forensics Conference was held on April 14-15, 2016 at Thurgood Marshall School of Law. The purpose of the conference was to educate and inform attorneys, law enforcement, and case managers on issues related to forensics in child victim cases. Forensics in children’s cases can often involve issues different from an adult victim case. In order to improve practices in both civil child welfare cases and criminal cases involving child victims, ECI teamed with Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association to present this Children’s Forensic Conference CLE. Specifically, this series was designed to:
Collaborations: This CLE is a product of collaboration between the Earl Carl Institute, Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Barbara Jordan Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs Forensic Science Lab, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Harris County Public Defenders Juvenile Division, DePelchin Children’s Center, SBOT Committee on Child Abuse & Neglect, and the Harris County Protective Services for Children & Adults Region 6 Training Institute. Other sponsors/collaborators were charged with marketing and advertising this event.