Structural Racism & Youth Violence

This symposium brings together two leading experts to discuss the impact of structural racism and youth violence. The speakers will examine how youth experiences of violence limit potential development, increase disadvantages in already marginalized communities and contribute to the increasing criminalization of young people based on race. Both speakers will also talk about the future research needs in the field and alternative policy solutions.

Speaker #1StructuralViolence_Nov4.2015

Concentrated Disadvantage and Youth Violence

Dr. Valerie Maholmes

Chief of the Pediatric Trauma and Critical Illness Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Abstract: The complex interplay of developmental factors, concentrated disadvantage and youth violence with a focus on NIH research priorities and future directions.  

About the speaker: Valerie Maholmes is currently the chief of the Pediatric Trauma and Critical Illness Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Prior to this appointment, she managed the Child and Family Processes/Child Maltreatment and Violence Research Program in the Child Development and Behavior Branch at NICHD. She serves on numerous federal interagency working groups including the National Institutes of Health Child Abuse and Neglect Working Group (co-chair), the Behavioral Health Coordinating Committee’s subcommittee on Trauma & Early Intervention, the Federal Interagency Working Group on Child Maltreatment, the Teen Dating Violence Working Group, and the PL 10995 Working Group on Children and Adversity, led by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Prior to joining NICHD, she was a faculty member at the Yale School of Medicine in the Child Study Center, where for nearly thirteen years she provided an array of educational, clinical, and technical support services to schools in low-income neighborhoods and communities around the country. In 1999, she was named the Irving B. Harris assistant professor of child psychiatry. In 2003, Maholmes was awarded the prestigious Executive Branch Science Policy Fellowship, sponsored by the Society for Research in Child Development and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  

In addition to her scholarly and clinical work, Maholmes served in leadership capacities on numerous committees and boards, including president of the board of directors for the Arnold Gesell Institute of Human Development. She also served two terms as a member of the New Haven Board of Education, where she was elected vice president/secretary and appointed chair of the curriculum committee.  

Maholmes holds a PhD in educational psychology from Howard University and has completed a certificate program of advanced study and clinical training in school psychology, concentrating in the neuropsychological assessments and psychosocial functioning of school-aged children.  

Speaker #2

Justice as Healing and Learning: Addressing Racial Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System Through Restorative Justice

Dr. Lauren Abramson

Bio-Psychologist and Founding Director of the Community Conferencing Center in Baltimore, Maryland

Abstract: Racialized mass incarceration in the United States has been well-documented and has a devastating impact on the ability of families and communities of color. To make matters worse, racial bias in school discipline has also been well-documented, giving rise to the so-called school-to-prison pipeline. Youth of color are subjected to the criminalization of their behavior at younger and younger ages, making it infinitely more difficult to become successful and thriving adult. Restorative justice, in contrast to the retributive justice model offered by our court system, provides for fair and inclusive ways to address crime and conflict that promote healing and learning in the wake of harm. With restorative approaches, crime and conflict are actually used as a stepping stone to building stronger communities.

For more than twenty years, the Community Conferencing Center in Baltimore has been using the restorative justice process called, “community conferencing,” rather than the court system, in cases of juvenile crime. The impact has been remarkable. Over eighteen thousand Baltimore residents have safely and effectively resolved their own crimes and conflicts using community conferencing. More than three thousand youth of color have been diverted from the court system, while being held accountable for their actions. Victims are included in deciding outcomes. Re-offending rates are 60 percent lower than those compared with youth who went to court, all at one tenth the cost of court. Restorative justice offers an effective, fair approach to justice that can help address racial disparities in the criminal legal system. All we are lacking is the will to use them to their full potential.
About the speaker: Dr. Lauren Abramson is a bio-psychologist and the founding director of the Community Conferencing Center in Baltimore—one of few and longest-standing programs of its kind working in disinvested neighborhoods in urban America. Established in 1995, the Center advances a restorative process as a way to transform our culture by doing the very radical thing of providing safe spaces for people to come together and talk with each other—be it as a way to address crime or conflict, or also to build community. Abramson has written extensively about transformative justice theory and applications and has trained and lectured nationally and internationally about the lessons experienced at the center. She sees restorative practices not only as a good way to combat the “Jerry Springer model” of dealing with each other, but as a way to build a just and caring society.    

Co-sponsored with the Department of Sociology's Critical Race Initiative 

This event will be held at 4 p.m. in the Atrium, Adele H. Stamp Student Union, University of Maryland.

Please fill out the RSVP form below for this free event:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - 4:00pm

The Bahá'í Chair for World Peace
University of Maryland
3101 Chincoteague Hall
7401 Preinkert Drive
College Park, MD 20742

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