"After a century of attempts by Black activists and lawmakers, President Joe Biden signed the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act on the White House lawn, surrounded by Black politicians, clergy, and nonprofit leaders. The new federal law makes lynching a hate crime. Representative Bobby Rush, the bill’s sponsor in the House of Representatives, called the moment “a day of enormous consequence for our nation.” But I had questions. Doubts really. Do white supremacists kill Black people because we did not have a federal anti-lynching law? If not, then does Congress think that such a law will be a deterrent? Will federal prosecutors listen to Black families who say their children were lynched – or to police and coroners who call suspicious deaths “suicides”? Will this law punish civilians for violence but reward them if they join police departments?"
Their talk focuses on the remarkable life of AIDS activist Kiyoshi Kuromiya, who was born in an internment camp and was involved in Civil Rights, Black Power, queer and trans liberationist and AIDS activist movements. They argue that abolition — from closets to cages — is the thread that sutures together his participation in these social movements, which are so often historicized as discrete.
Saidiya Hartman, author if Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, and Farah Griffin, author of Read Until You Understand, were also celebrated at the ceremony on May 10th for receiving the same award in 2020 and 2022, respectively.
Critique & Praxis was published in paperback in April 2022.
Derecka Purnell publishes article on Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, in New York Magazine's special issue on the first ten years of Black Lives Matter
"Grief can stretch and collapse time like a Slinky. George Zimmerman killed Trayvon more than 3,000 days ago, yet only a handful of holidays have passed. Fulton still hangs a stocking for her baby. 'It’s so easy to just be depressed and be sad,' she says, 'but I have to remember I have another son, I have myself, I just have to keep pushing forward and just know that I do have a son in heaven. I’m making an extra effort to celebrate the holidays, to celebrate Christmas, his birthday, Mother’s Day, because all of those things remind me of him.'..." Read the full article here.
Che Gossett and David J. Getsy Publish "A Syllabus on Transgender and Nonbinary Methods for Art and Art History" in Art Journal
UPDATE: Che Gossett and David J. Getsy win College Art Association Award for Distinction
The authors write that the "syllabus is intended to introduce central topics and methods from transgender studies to art history. It proposes some ways that art and art history’s key themes might be reimagined."
After private security firm TigerSwan failed to produce key documents and materials requested by Plaintiffs and to provide adequate reasons for why production of these requested materials was not possible, Plaintiffs filed a motion to compel on September 7, 2021. On January 3, 2022, Judge Traynor of the District of North Dakota granted Plaintiffs' motion in part. The court ordered Plaintiffs to subpoena Energy Transfer Partners, who is in possession of the materials Plaintiffs requested, and TigerSwan will be responsible for the associated costs.
Plaintiffs are now planning on issuing a subpoena to ETP and moving forward with discovery.
On November 28, 2021, Doyle Lee Hamm died of lymphoma on Alabama’s Death Row at Holman Prison in Atmore, Alabama. The New York Times published an obituary for Doyle Lee Hamm on November 29, 2021.
On Friday, December 3, 2021, Doyle Lee Hamm was laid to rest beside his mother and father, Eula Mae Howell and Major Edward Hamm, his six older brothers, James, Ted, O’Neal, Horace, Jimmy, and David, his two sisters, Ruthie and Linda, his grandparents, and extended family, at the cemetery in Barton, Alabama, in the beautiful northwestern part of the state, near Muscle Shoals and the Tennessee Valley. The Associated Press published an article on Doyle's memorial service on December 4, 2021.
The lawsuit against the city of Little Rock and two former police officers over the 2019 fatal shooting of Bradley Blackshire ended after the court entered a dismissal order on November 9, 2021. Read the plaintiffs' motion to dismiss here.
IJS Practitioner-in-Residence Omavi Shukur, along with co-counsel at the NAACP LDF and Loevy & Loevy, represented the plaintiffs.
Dr. Gossett is writing a biography of Kiyoshi Kuromiya
Watch the video with Dr. Gossett on Kiyoshi Kuromiya here.
Legal Team Representing Bradley Blackshire’s Family Reaches Settlement in Lawsuit Involving Fatal Police Shooting
Today, plaintiffs represented by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), co-counsel Loevy & Loevy, and the Initiative for a Just Society reached a settlement – subject to the approval by the probate court – with the city of Little Rock, Arkansas for monetary and non-monetary relief. This lawsuit was filed in June 2019 on behalf of the family of Bradley Blackshire, a Black man who was repeatedly shot and killed by former Little Rock Police Department (LRPD) Officer Charles Starks. The suit brought forth several claims, including counts of excessive force, failure to provide medical attention, and wrongful death.
Derecka Purnell on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Derecka Purnell, Scholar-in-Residence at the Initiative for a Just Society, talks about her new book, Becoming Abolitionists, on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
Derecka Purnell joins Michelle Alexander for Book Talk at Politics & Prose
For recordings of Becoming Abolitionists book talks and other press, please visit the Becoming Abolitionists News page.
One less person on Rikers Island
As conditions on Rikers Island continue to deteriorate, IJS works to aid the release of individuals. On September 30, 2021, there was at least one less person on Rikers—seen here, crossing Foley Square, after being released from Rikers and state court, with all of the books he read while incarcerated.
The private security firm TigerSwan received over $17 million from Dakota Access LLC for its work related to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, recent court filings and documents produced in response to a judicial order in the ongoing litigation Thunderhawk v. County of Morton reveal.
Kenyatta Emmanuel performs at Wild Birds
Kenyatta Emmanuel Hughes, Artist-in-Residence at the IJS, performed live in Brooklyn on September 20, 2021. Here is Hughes in an earlier concert at Carnegie Hall:
Abdul Latif Nasser Released from Guantanamo Bay
"'He is ecstatic,' said Bernard E. Harcourt, a New York-based lawyer and law professor, who represented Mr. Nasser in federal court... He was particularly buoyed by being reunited with extended family members who had gathered for Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holy day known as the Feast of Sacrifice, Mr. Harcourt added." — "A freed Guantánamo Bay detainee is reunited with his family in Morocco," by Carol Rosenberg for The New York Times
Carol Rosenberg, A freed Guantánamo Bay detainee is reunited with his family in Morocco, New York Times, July 20, 2021.
Sacha Pfeiffer, "Biden Administration Transfers First Detainee Out Of Guantánamo," NPR, July 19, 2021.
Chuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, "Moroccan man held nearly 20 years without charges released from Guantanamo," ABC, July 19, 2021.
Carol Rosenberg and Charles Savage, "Biden Administration Transfers Its First Detainee From Guantánamo Bay," New York Times, July 19, 2021.
"After Almost 20 Years, Guantanamo “Forever Prisoner” Abdul Latif Nasser Returns Home to Morocco," Press Release, July 19, 2021.
RJAD Project Launched
"Racial Justice and Abolition Democracy Curriculum Project Established at Columbia University," Columbia University, January 27, 2021.