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A Discussion on Race, Justice

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April 2017


The unbalanced incarceration of African Americans in Iowa was one topic discussed Tuesday during a panel discussion on racial profiling and judicial outcomes hosted at St. Ambrose University.

Davenport Progressive Action for the Common Good and the St. Ambrose University Diversity Office teamed up with Quad Cities justice professionals to educate the community, launch a conversation and seek new ideas to address inequalities.

The panel also discussed current initiatives.

Betty C. Andrews, president of the Iowa-Nebraska National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, moderated the discussion that was attended by SAU students and many Davenport citizens.

"Andrews was dynamic with her ability to create a non-threatening atmosphere where we typically have a lot of finger pointing going on. We stayed on point with the facts surrounding racial profiling and mass incarceration and their long-term generational effects in many black and brown communities," said Ryan Saddler, SAU's director of diversity and director of student disability services.

"There is a lot of work that needs to be done, but we must first educate ourselves on the issues," Saddler said. "It is my desire for the St. Ambrose Diversity Office to continue working in collaboration with the St. Ambrose community and other community partners like Progressive Action for the Common Good to educate and challenge systemic racial-oppression in America."

The panel included Grant Tietjen, PhD, a St. Ambrose assistant professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice; Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski; 7th District Court Judge Joel Barrows; Waylyn McCulloh, director of the Iowa Department of Corrections 7th district; Scott Hobart, chief officer of the 7th district Juvenile Court; Dave Triston, 7th district Juvenile Court officer; Phil Ramirez, Scott County public defender; and Jeff Wallace, PhD, a social services expert with a doctorate in public policy, criminal justice and justice administration.

See this WHBF-TV4 story about the event.

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