On April 18th, Redeemer hosted another forum, as a part of the 12-month series on Race in collaboration with Westwood Lutheran Church and Edina Community Lutheran Church. This month's forum feathered the Chief Public Defender in Hennepin County, Mary Moriarty, on the topic of Race and Public Defense.
From my perspective, the presentation was compelling, eye-opening...and very hard to hear. I appreciated the "journey" that we, the audience were taken on by Mary. She conveyed not only the current state of affairs of race in the criminal justice system, but also uncovered HOW we arrived to this distressing place. Some of the topics discussed were the history of strategic racism and racist acts in society and government, bail reform and inequality within the criminal justice system - specifically in Hennepin County.
In some of the previous forums, I have felt that the information shared may have been directed toward a particular group - educating members of the dominant culture about the struggles and plights of marginalized groups in our society. In this most recent forum, however, I found that the forum offered something for everyone in attendance. As an African American woman and single mother, it was encouraging to know that there are people who take the time to learn and understand the roadblocks that marginalized groups face.
I definitely left with questions...but they were different questions than I have had in the past. This was certainly a conversation that I hope will continue. It feels to me like we need to be intentional about having more of these tough dialogues.
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