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Social Justice Institute

Social Justice, Race, and Profiling: An Intergenerational Think Tank

Social Justice, Race, and Profiling: An Intergenerational Think Tank

Social Justice, Race, and Profiling: An Intergenerational Think Tank

This is the first public program of the newly established, university-wide Social Justice Institute at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). The Institute aims to provide a space for promoting and supporting alliance-based social justice-related research, scholarship, and teaching; building trust with and improving our community and society; training social change leaders; and promoting broad-based conversations and solutions.

The Intergenerational Think Tank will provide such an opportunity by gathering national and local scholars, activists and corporate leaders for two days of intellectual exchange on the relationship between social justice and injustices manifested through the historic and ongoing profiling of racial and ethnic communities.

The CWRU Social Justice Institute Think Tank is organized in the spirit of Fisk University’s Charles S. Johnson Race Relations Institute.

Program Overview

FRIDAY, November 19

5:30 p.m.

Ford Auditorium, Allen Memorial Medical Library
11000 Euclid Ave., Cleveland

5:30 p.m.

Light Refreshments

6-6:30 p.m.


  • Dr. Rhonda Y. Williams, Director, CWRU Social Justice Institute
  • Dr. Sheila Peters, on behalf of Provost Chris Brown, Fisk University

6:30-6:45 p.m.

History of the Charles S. Johnson Institute, Fisk University

  • G. Regina Nixon, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, CWRU

6:45-7:45 p.m. 

Opening Plenary: Voices from the Past

  • Facilitator: Jacqueline Elaine Gillon, Director of Community Organization, Neighborhood Leadership Institute

History Makers:

  • Ms. Xernona Clayton, formerly of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Author of I’ve Been Marching All the Time, and President and CEO of Trumpet Awards Foundation.
  • Don Freeman, founding member, Revolutionary Action Movement; former director, League Park Community Center; Cleveland grassroots activist

SATURDAY, November 20

(The Plenary sessions run consecutively)

8:30 a.m.    

  • Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m. 


  • Barbara R. Snyder, President, Case Western Reserve University
  • Dr. Rhonda Y. Williams, Director, CWRU Social Justice Institute

9:30-10:45 a.m.

Plenary Session I: Immigration

  • Facilitator: Amrita Samaroo, Student Alumna, The Diversity Center; Junior, Cleveland State University


  • Chandra Bhatnagar, Staff Attorney, Human Rights Project, ACLU
  • Veronica Dahlberg, Co-founder and Executive Director of HOLA, Northeast Ohio
  • John Flores, Assistant Professor, Latino/Chicano/Social Justice History, CWRU

10:45-11:00 a.m.


11:00-12:25 p.m.

Plenary Session II: Criminal Justice

  • Facilitator: Shakyra Diaz, Education Director, ACLU of Ohio; CWRU Alumn


  • Heather A. Thompson, Author of Attica: Race, Rebellion, and the Rise of Law and Order in America (forthcoming), Associate Professor of History, Temple University
  • Lewis Katz, Professor, School of Law, CWRU
  • Ed Little, Criminal Justice & Re-entry Consultant, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio

12:30-2:00 p.m.

Lunch and Keynote Address

John A. PowellThwing Ballroom, Thwing Center 2nd Floor
Welcome and Speaker Introduction
CWRU Provost W.A. “Bud” Baeslack III

Keynote Speaker:

  • John A. PowellDirector, Ohio State University, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity 

2:15-3:30 p.m.

Plenary Session III: From Redlining to Housing Foreclosure

  • Facilitator: Randell McShepard, Chairman and Co-Founder of PolicyBridge


  • Gregory D. Squires, Professor of Sociology & Public Administration, George Washington University
  • Claudia Coulton, Lillian F. Harris Professor of Urban Social Research, Co-Director, Center on Urban Poverty & Community Development, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, CWRU
  • Anthony Houston, Program Manager & Economic Development, City of East Cleveland, Ohio

3:30-4:00 p.m.


  • Facilitator:  Marilyn S. Mobley, CWRU Social Justice Institute Leadership Team Member; VP Inclusion, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity

Special Evening Presentation

SATURDAY, November 20

6:30 PM

Church of the Covenant - 11205 Euclid Ave
An Intergenerational Evening of Art & Justice
(with support from the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women)
Evening Keynote Presentation & Conversation
Welcome & Introduction of Speakers

1960's Freedom Songs with Commentary

Singer/Composer and Cultural Historian
Post-performance Dialogue with Audience


Hip-Hop Cultural Critic and Author
Conference: Free and open to the public. Space limited; registration required.
Tickets for “An Intergenerational Evening of Art & Justice” featuring Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon and Bakari Kitwana: $25 Individuals, $50 Patrons

Think Tank Event Co-sponsors:

ACLU of Ohio CWRU Offices and Programs:

Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities
Center for Community Partnerships
Center for Social Justice at the Law School
Ethnic Studies Program
Flora Stone Mather Center for Women
Office of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity
Office of Multicultural Affairs
President’s Advisory Council on Minorities