Beyond Ferguson: Social Injustice and the Health of the Public

Illustration ©2015_Brian Stauffer c/o theispot

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

8:15 a.m.–2:35 p.m.
Instructional Building
72 East Concord Street
Hiebert Lounge
Full Agenda
#BUSPH40 #BUSPHSymposia

Sympoium Summary

Video of the symposium is available at BUniverse

The purpose of the symposium is to explore how we as a society can create conditions by which people are treated fairly by the criminal justice system. We will explore the intersection of race, criminal justice, and public health. The format will be a combination of keynotes; small-group dialogues with members of the affected community and the legal system; and a panel discussion to address sources of social supports (church, family, legal system) and to develop an action agenda to address the identified issues.


Mary Travis Bassett

Commissioner, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Mary T. Bassett was appointed commissioner of health of New York City in February 2014. Her focus is on ensuring that every New York City neighborhood supports the health of its residents, with the goal of closing gaps in population health across the diverse city. Additionally, she promotes continued use of innovative policy tools to reduce tobacco use, unhealthy food, and lack of physical activity that together drive contemporary mortality patterns. Originally from New York City, Bassett lived for nearly 20 years in Zimbabwe. Previously, she was a program director for the African Health Initiative and the Child Well-being Program at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. From 2002 to 2007, Bassett served as deputy commissioner of health promotion and disease prevention at the health department. She received her BA in history and science from Harvard University and her MD from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. She completed her medical residency at Harlem Hospital Center and has a master’s degree in public health from the University of Washington. 

Cornell William Brooks

President and CEO, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

Cornell William Brooks is the president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 2014, he became the 18th person to serve as chief executive of the association, whose members in the United States and worldwide are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.

A graduate of Head Start and Yale Law School, Brooks considers himself “a grandson, heir, and a beneficiary” of the landmark decision Brown v. Board of Education, argued by legendary NAACP litigator Thurgood Marshall. As a civil rights attorney, social justice advocate, fourth-generation ordained minister, and coalition-builder, Brooks’ life and experience exemplify the NAACP’s mission to secure political, educational, social, and economic equality for all citizens.

Reverend Jeffrey L. Brown

Founder, Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace (RECAP) 

Reverend Jeffrey L. Brown is a nationally recognized leader and expert in gang, youth, and urban violence reduction and coalition building. He is the founder of RECAP (Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace), a new national organization organized to assist cities build better partnerships between community, government, and law enforcement agencies to reduce gang violence. He is also one of the co-founders of the Boston Ten Point Coalition, a faith-based group that was an integral part of the “Boston Miracle,” during which the city experienced a 79 percent decline in violent crime in the 1990s, spawning countless urban collaborative efforts in subsequent years that followed the Boston Operation Ceasefire model. Brown serves as a consultant to municipalities and police departments on issues around youth violence and community mobilization, and provides expertise to Fortune 25 corporations and
the World Bank for the past 14 years on collaborative leadership and managing change.

He is the subject of a Harvard Business School case study on his efforts and is an integral part of three others from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Brown recently gave a TED Talk on his experiences, and it has since been seen by almost 1 million viewers. He is the recipient of numerous local and national awards and citations. His current project is to generate a national conversation on the importance of faith and community institutions in public safety prescriptions. He pastored the Union Baptist Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for 22 years, has spoken and lectured widely, and is known for his fiery and inspiring messages.

A resident of the Dorchester area of Boston, Brown is married and has three children of adult age.

Andrea J. Cabral

Former Secretary of Public Safety, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Andrea J. Cabral was sworn in to Governor Deval Patrick’s cabinet on January 23, 2013, as the executive secretary of public safety, where she served until February 2015. As secretary, she oversaw 14 public safety agencies, including the Massachusetts State Police, the State Department of Correction, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the State Parole Board, and the Massachusetts National Guard. From 2002 to 2013, she was the sheriff of Suffolk County and the first female sheriff in Massachusetts history. Initially appointed to the position in 2002, she won election in 2004 and re-election in 2010. She is a past president and past vice-president of the Massachusetts Sheriffs Association.

As an assistant district attorney in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office from 1993 to 2002, she specialized in prosecutions of domestic violence felonies and civil rights violations. As chief of district court and community prosecutions, she trained and supervised 48 prosecutors in Suffolk County’s eight district courts and the Boston Municipal Court. She also created and was chief of Suffolk County’s first major felony Domestic Violence Unit.

From 1991 to 1993, she was an assistant attorney general in the Trial and Civil Rights Divisions of the Attorney General’s Office and an assistant district attorney in the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office from 1987 to 1991.

From 2010 to 2015, she served as one of 18 national experts appointed to the Science Advisory Board (SAB) by United States Attorney General Eric Holder. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy, the Editorial Board of Massachusetts Lawyer’s Weekly, and the Governing Board of the Mass Mentoring Partnership.

She is a graduate of Boston College and Suffolk University Law School.

Harold Cox

Associate Dean for Public Health Practice, Boston University School of Public Health 

Harold Cox is associate dean for public health practice and associate professor of community health sciences at Boston University School of Public Health. He is a member of the Massachusetts Public Health Council and the Boston Public Health Commission and serves as chair of the statewide Regionalization Working Committee, which is exploring methods to improve public health service delivery in Massachusetts. At SPH, Cox manages the newly formed Activist Lab, which seeks to engage the school in real-world public health. Trained as a social worker, he has extensive practice experience with mental retardation, HIV/AIDS, and governmental public health.

Nazgol Ghandnoosh

Research Analyst, The Sentencing Project

Nazgol Ghandnoosh is a research analyst at The Sentencing Project who conducts and synthesizes research on criminal justice policies. She analyzes racial disparities in the justice system, public opinion about punishment, and the scope of reform efforts. Her report, “Race and Punishment: Racial Perceptions of Crime and Support for Punitive Policies,” was featured in outlets including the New York Times and WNYC’s On the Media. She has also co-authored “Can We Wait 88 Years to End Mass Incarceration?” and “Fewer Prisoners, Less Crime: A Tale of Three States.” She edits The Sentencing Project’s Race & Justice News newsletter.

Ghandnoosh earned a BA in economics at the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her dissertation, “Challenging Mass Incarceration: A California Group’s Advocacy for the Parole Release of Term-to-Life Prisoners,” examined resistance to severe sentences through an in-depth study of a South Los Angeles-based group.

The Honorable Leslie E. Harris

Associate Justice, Juvenile Court, Suffolk County, MA

Judge Leslie E. Harris is a retired associate justice of the Suffolk Juvenile Court, appointed September 10, 1994.Harris received his BA from Northwestern University, his MA from Boston University, and his JD from Boston College Law School. He has taught third and fourth grade as well as high school and college courses. He served as a street worker for the Chicago Community Centers, working with street gangs and as a camp counselor. He has been a probation officer for Suffolk Superior Court, a licensed social worker, a hearing examiner for the Brookline Rent Control Board, a public defender at the Roxbury Defenders Office of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, and chief of the Juvenile Division of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office for District Attorney Ralph Martin. He has served on many commissions, boards, and advisory groups for the courts and the community. He is the recipient of many honors and awards, including the Wendell Phillips High School Hall of Fame, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University, the David Nelson Public Interest Award from Boston College Law School, the Service Award from the Ten Point Coalition, the Hero Amongst Us Award from the Boston Celtics and the Boston Herald, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Boston College Law Student Association, and an award from the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps. Harris is a frequent speaker at community events and graduations. He and his wife Beverly are the proud parents of three wonderful children and make their home in Roxbury.

Steven L. Hoffman

Deputy Chief, Medicaid Fraud Division at Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office

Steven L. Hoffman is an assistant attorney general and deputy chief of the Medicaid fraud division of the Middlesex District Attorney General’s Office. He was a partner at Sugarman and Sugarman PC in Boston from 1983 to 1999 and an assistant district attorney with the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office from 1999 to 2005, and has been an assistant attorney general since 2005. A graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo (BA, magna cum laude, 1973) and Boston University School of Law (JD, 1976), he has been a frequent contributor and author for Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units, and Boston University School of Medicine Continuing Medical Education on “Opioid Prescribing for Chronic Pain.” He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and has served as chair of the Civil Litigation Section of the Massachusetts Bar Association, vice chair of the Joint Bar Committee on Judicial Appointments, on the Supreme Judicial Court Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Evidence Law, and associate editor of the Massachusetts Law Review.

Glenn E. Martin

Founder, JustLeadershipUSA

Glenn E. Martin is the founder of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), an organization dedicated to cutting the US correctional population in half by 2030. JLUSA empowers people most affected by incarceration to drive policy reform. Martin is a national leader and criminal justice reform advocate who spent six years in NYS prisons. Prior to founding JLUSA, Martin served for seven years as vice president of public affairs at The Fortune Society, and six years as co-director of the National HIRE Network at the Legal Action Center. Martin is co-founder of the Education from the Inside Out Coalition, a 2014 Echoing Green Fellow, a 2012 America’s Leaders of Change National Urban Fellow, and a member of the governing boards of the College and Community Fellowship, Prisoners’ Legal Services, the Petey Greene Program, the Reset Foundation, the New York Foundation, and California Partnership for Safe Communities. Martin also serves on Governor Cuomo’s Reentry and Reintegration Council, the advisory board of the Vera Institute’s Public Health and Mass Incarceration Initiative, the National Network for Safe Communities, and the Executive Session on Community Corrections at Harvard University. Martin regularly contributes his expertise to national news outlets such as MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, Al Jazeera, and C-SPAN.

Roy Martin

Director of Services, Partnership Advancing Community Together (PACT), Boston Public Health Commission

Roy Martin is a “born-and-raised” Bostonian who grew up in the Bromley-Heath housing development in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston.

Today Martin is employed by the Boston Public Health Commission. In his professional career at BPHC, Martin was hired initially as the lead advocate for victims of violence at Boston Medical Center, then was reassigned as one of the lead case managers for the Father Friendly Initiative, working to support low-to-no income dads reconnect with their children and to re-assume their roles and obligations as fathers. Martin’s role would then evolve into a re-entry initiative spearheaded by the Boston Public Health Commissions Bureau of Substance Abuse, working as the lead case manager at the South Bay House of Correction.

Currently, Martin is the Boston Public Health Commission’s program director for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ “Safe and Successful Youth Initiative,” a component of the City of Boston’s city-wide “Public Safety Initiative.” In this current capacity, part of Martin’s core responsibilities are to work collaboratively with city, state, and community agencies to increase and improve service delivery and capacity of service providers working with gang- and court-involved young men who are identified as either perpetrators of violence or persons injured (or likely to be injured) by an act of violence. Martin also remains directly connected to his client population by continuing to provide direct case management services to individuals and families who have been identified as most in need.

Denise McWilliams

Executive Director, New England Innocence Project

Denise McWilliams, executive director of the New England Innocence Project, is an attorney with more than 30 years of experience providing representation to disenfranchised communities who are unable to navigate the legal system. These communities reflect a population of people who have AIDS, developmental disabilities, or mental illnesses; who speak English as a second language; who have substance abuse issues; or who are members of the LGBT community. She has been the executive director of a policy organization as well as the general counsel for New England’s largest and oldest AIDS service organization. McWilliams also oversaw and was part of the team that authored “Until There’s A Cure” in 1997, the first comprehensive plan for delivering services to people living with HIV in New England. McWilliams is also a contributor to The Fenway Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health, published in 2008. McWilliams is a dynamic visionary who has spent her entire 35-year career committed to social justice issues. She has a demonstrated history of success in a variety of leadership roles encompassing strategy, policy development, advocacy, legal, and operations management.

Ronald D. Simpson-Bey

Alumni Associate, JustLeadershipUSA

Ronald D. Simpson-Bey is the alumni associate for JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA). He is also a national decarceration leader with the organization, committed to cutting the number of people in prison in the United States in half by 2030. Simpson-Bey is steering team member of the newly formed Collaborative to End Mass Incarceration in Michigan (MI-CEMI) Nation Outside organizations for returning citizens. Simpson-Bey is also a co-founder and advisory board member of the Chance For Life (CFL) organization in Detroit, Michigan. Simpson-Bey comes to this work from many dimensions. He served 27 years in the Michigan prison system as an engaged, thoughtful, and creative leader, founding many enrichment programs rooted in transformation, redemption, and self-accountability. Simpson-Bey regularly shares his work and his fascinating experiences with legislators, churches, schools, and conferences, as well as with any interested parties. Simpson-Bey was a jailhouse lawyer who got his conviction reversed by the courts and got himself out of prison. He attended Eastern Michigan University, Mott Community College, and Jackson Community College. He has worked as a staff paralegal at the former Prison Legal Services of Michigan.