The relationship between race, crime and injustice to be examined at open forum

A panel of Lehigh experts will discuss crime, race and injustice at an open forum scheduled for 4:10 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22nd in STEPS 101. The event, which is free and open to the public, will focus on “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness,” which was written by award-winning author Michelle Alexander.

Alexander will deliver the keynote address for Lehigh’s MLK Celebration at 7 p.m. Wed., Jan. 28th, in Baker Hall of the Zoellner Arts Center.

A highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate and legal scholar, Alexander won a Soros Justice Fellowship in 2005, which supported the writing of "The New Jim Crow," her first book.  It held a spot on the New York Times best-seller list for 10 consecutive months, and was hailed by American philosopher, academic and activist Cornel West as a “secular bible for a new social movement in early twenty-first-century America."

Lloyd Steffen, professor of religion studies, University Chaplain, and co-chair of Lehigh’s MLK Committee, said he “looks forward to having a discussion with some Lehigh community members who have been deeply affected by Michelle Alexander's work.”

Steffen said the panel may be particularly useful for those who may not know with “The New Jim Crow” and want to learn more before Alexander's visit next week.

Steffen will moderate the panel, which will include James Peterson, associate professor of English and director of Africana Studies; Monica Miller, assistant professor of religion and Africana Studies and director of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies; Sharon Wiles-Young, director of Library Access LTS; and students Kara Falcone ‘15 and Brenda Martinez ’15.

Along with MLK Committee Co-Chair Tyrone Russell, director of Lehigh’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, Steffen and committee members have been planning a second year of programming that focuses on social justice issues. More information on related MLK events can be found at: