News Details

Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice to address racial tensions, host two-part discussion on post-Ferguson society

Authored by: Jessica Bautista

Faculty & Research, Student Life


In the wake of heightened racial tension, civil unrest and the events that unfolded in Ferguson, MO, Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) Dean John L. Jackson, Jr. was faced with the question, “How does SP2 respond?”

The short answer is “Discussions on Prejudice, Privilege, and Policing in a Post-Ferguson America,” a two-part series of panel discussions concerning the shooting of Michael Brown, the role of law enforcement and the aftermath in communities across the nation.

Both events will offer an opportunity for difficult, yet constructive conversations to take place and will highlight members of the SP2 community in the process.

The panels will consist of SP2 alumni and faculty, and other subject matter experts, including Hannah Zellman from Philadelphia FIGHT’s Institute for Community Justice, Dr. Kirk James, founder of EVOLVE, Keethia Griffiths from the Defender Association of Philadelphia, and Lawrence Krasner, Esq., of Krasner & Long LLC. Dean Jackson and SP2 Associate Professor Toorjo Ghose, PhD, will serve as moderators at each event.

“The pursuit of social justice and impact is at the heart of SP2’s vision, which should make it abundantly clear why we can’t afford to be silent about the troubling state of race relations in Ferguson and around the country. It is our responsibility to examine what is and isn’t, what should and shouldn’t be,” Jackson said.

“As we prepare our graduates to lead society into a brighter future, we must discuss and think critically about the social challenges we have and will continue to face. We want our SP2 community to look back one day and know that we were on the frontline of social change; that we were on the right side of history.”

The first of two events in the series will take place on Monday, March 30 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will include a look at race and the criminal justice system. Other items to be examined are racial profiling, police brutality, incarceration rates and more.

The second series installment will take place on Friday, April 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. and will focus on race and violence as presented and perpetuated by mainstream media.

Both events will take place on Penn’s campus in Stiteler Hall, located at 208 S. 37th Street, Phila., PA and are free and open to the public.

For more information, please send an email to Jessica Bautista at or call 215-573-8408.