Press Release

Local, National Experts and Author to Discuss New Book, “Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation”


CHICAGO, IL- October 30, 2012— The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) will be hosting a conversation with author and activist Beth E. Richie and a panel of local and national activists about her new book, Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation, on Saturday, December 1, 2012, 4-7pm at Experimental Station in Chicago. 

In Arrested Justice, Richie chronicles the contemporary movement (1960-2010) to end violence against women and tells the urgent, courageous stories of Black women trying to survive violence within what Richie calls a prison nation, or a nation using “criminalization and punishment as a response to a whole range of social problems”. Through these compelling stories, she examines how America’s prison nation contributes to and complicates the violence that Black women experience. With her analysis, Richie offers a way to broaden our understanding of violence against women of color and to problematize the evolution of anti-violence work in the United States. 

At the discussion, Richie and the panelists will explore issues of sexuality, class, age, and criminalization alongside questions of public policy and gender violence.  

The program is co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality (CSGS) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture (CSRPC) at the University of Chicago, and the Institute for Race and Public Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

CSGS and CSRPC are currently hosting a speaker series such as this that focus on the theory and praxis of the feminist work of Angela Y. Davis, which will culminate in a major lecture by Prof. Davis in May, 2013. 

Beth E. Richie is The Director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy and Professor of African American Studies and Criminology, Law and Justice at The University of Illinois at Chicago.  Dr. Richie is also the author Compelled to Crime: the Gender Entrapment of Black Battered Women. She is currently working on an ethnographic project documenting the conditions of confinement in women’s prisons. Among others, she has been awarded the Audre Lorde Legacy Award from the Union Institute, The Advocacy Award from the US Department of Health and Human Services, and The Visionary Award from the Violence Intervention Project. Dr. Richie is a founding member of INCITE!: Women of Color Against Violence. 

About the panelists:

Mariame Kaba is an organizer, educator, and writer who lives in Chicago. She is the founder and director of Project NIA, a grassroots organization with a mission to end youth incarceration. Mariame has also co-founded several other organizations including the Chicago Freedom School, the Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team (YWAT) and the Chicago Taskforce on Violence against Girls and Young Women. 

Jane Hereth is an educator, organizer, and social worker. As a member of the Chicago Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) Teaching Collective, Jane facilitates workshops about the PIC for organizations around the city. She works for the Center on Gender, Sexuality and HIV Prevention at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, where she coordinates a behavioral research study on HIV prevention among transgender youth. 

Erica R. Meiners is a professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, Education, and faculty affiliate Latino/a and Latin American Studies at Northeastern Illinois University. She is the author of Flaunt It! Queers Organizing for Public Education and Justice (2009), and Right to be hostile: schools, prisons and the making of public enemies (2009). 

Andrea Ritchie is an attorney who has engaged in extensive work on the violence by law enforcement agents against women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of color. She currently coordinates Streetwise & Safe, a leadership development initiative aimed at sharing strategies for safety and visions for change among LGBT youth of color. She is also co-author of Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States (2011)

Sharmili Majmudar is the Executive Director of Rape Victim Advocates. She has worked for the liberation of communities from domestic violence for 20 years. She has been involved with Incite!, Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, and the Color Triangle and has served on the advisory committee for Transforming Silence Into Action, a national gathering of queer Asian Pacific Islander activists and advocates for addressing intimate partner violence in API LGBT communities.

Mary Scott-Boria has been involved in social movements since the late 60’s in Chicago. As the first director of the Chicago Sexual Assault Service Network Mary’s work involved bridging anti sexual assault initiatives with community based efforts. For the past 13 years Mary has engaged students in the city in this and other social justice initiatives through her teaching at the Urban Studies Program with the Associated Colleges of the Midwest.  

The event is part of the IHC’s program, The Public Square, which fosters debate, dialogue, and exchange of ideas about cultural, social, and political issues with an emphasis on social justice. 

Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation, will take place Saturday, December 1, 2012, 4-7pm at Experimental Station (6100 South Blackstone Avenue) in Chicago. There will be a reception from 4-5pm, with the discussion taking place 5-7pm. The event is free to the public, though reservations are required and can be made by emailing to, or visiting the IHC website, For more information on the event, please contact Alice Kim, Director of The Public Square, at (312) 422-5580, x238.


About the Illinois Humanities Council


The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. The IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.


Media Contact:

Carlos Velázquez

(312) 422-5580, x233 


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