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Conference Program

The final conference program is available here. 

Thursday Plenary Speaker

We Shall Overcome, but Who is We Exactly?


Ms. Collier, born and reared in northeast Mississippi, is a writer and advocate for those most often ignored and unseen—rural, southern black girls and women. She is the founder and director of The Lighthouse | Black Girl Projects. She was baptized in advocacy and leadership development work at a nationally recognized non-profit organization. While there, she served as the director of youth initiatives and directed the organization’s only young women’s leadership institute. Through her work, this program garnered attention beyond the region. Ms. Collier led the development and execution of high impact youth-centered curricula and programming, donor development, community organizing and advocacy primarily in the Black Belt of Alabama, Southwest Georgia and Mississippi Delta. A graduate of Millsaps College, she’s had fellowships at Northwestern University and with the National Juvenile Justice Network, Center for Research & Policy in the Public Interest and the Human Rights Institute. She’s also studied at studied at Poynter University and marriage and family therapy at Reformed Theological Seminary. Ms. Collier also serves board appointments and is project advisor and mentor to organizations and young women, respectively. She regularly guest lectures, keynotes and facilitates in her areas of expertise, which include women and girls’ rights, human rights, leadership development and creative non-fiction writing. It’s also important to note she loves shoes and bags.

Friday Plenary Panel

The Ethical Treatment of Juveniles and Solitary Confinement: The Kalief Browder Story

We are excited to introduce one of the plenaries for the conference, a panel discussing juvenile solitary confinement through the lens of the documentary, Time: The Kalief Browder Story, which is currently available to stream on Netflix. Kalief Browder was a 16-year old from the Bronx who spent three years in Rikers Island– two of which were spent in solitary confinement -- awaiting trial for allegedly stealing a backpack because his family could not afford bail. His case was never prosecuted and the charges were ultimately dropped; however, following his release, Kalief committed suicide. The six-part documentary is a first-person account of his story, including the negative impact solitary confinement had on his mental health. 

The panelists will discuss issues presented by the documentary Time: The Kalief Browder Story, including the legal and psychological issues surrounding solitary confinement within the context of juveniles. The panelists will include:



Jenner Furst, the director and producer of Time: The Kalief Browder StoryIn 2007,  Jenner Furst was on the ground floor of "Brick City" packaging and selling the acclaimed 11-Hour Docuseries for Sundance Channel. He went on to win a Peabody Award with Veteran Filmmakers Marc Levin, Mark Benjamin and Oscar-Winner Forest Whitaker. The team then developed "Chicagoland" an 8-Hour Docuseries for CNN, which Furst Senior Produced with Executive Producer Robert Redford. Furst founded The Cinemart in 2011 with Julia Willoughby Nason to create and produce signature, handmade work in a boutique setting. The company produced "Welcome to Leith" which premiered in competition at Sundance and went on to earn Furst and Nason Emmy Nominations. The Cinemart formed a partnership with Jay Z to produce "TIME: The Kalief Browder Story". Furst Co-Created, Executive Produced and Directed the 6-Part Series for Spike TV, drawing in over 40 Million viewers during it's broadcast and going on to earn an IDA nomination. Furst is currently Co-Directing "REST IN POWER: The Trayvon Martin Story" with Julia Willoughby Nason for Jay Z and the Paramount Network. Furst is set to direct several forthcoming projects from his Brooklyn-based studio, and continues to develop premium content with Nason and their team.



Marsha Levick, Esq., Deputy Director and Chief Counsel, co-founded Juvenile Law Center in 1975. Throughout her legal career, Levick has been an advocate for children’s and women's rights and is a nationally recognized expert in juvenile law. Levick oversees Juvenile Law Center’s litigation and appellate docket. She has successfully litigated challenges to unlawful and harmful laws, policies and practices on behalf of children in both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.  Levick also spearheaded Juvenile Law Center’s litigation arising out of the Luzeme County, Pennsylvania juvenile court judges' corruption scandal known as the “kids for cash” scandal, where Juvenile Law Center successfully sought the expungement and vacatur of thousands of juveniles’ cases before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and is pursuing civil damages for the children and their families in a federal civil rights class action.

Levick has authored or co-authored numerous appellate and amicus briefs in state and federal appeals courts throughout the country, including many before the US Supreme Court, and has argued before both state and federal appellate courts in Pennsylvania and numerous other jurisdictions. Levick co-authored the lead child advocates’ amicus briefs in key recent United States Supreme Court cases, including Roper v. Simmons (juvenile death penalty unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment); Graham v. Florida (life without parole sentences for juveniles convicted of non-homicide offenses unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment); J.D.B. v North Carolina ( a juvenile’s age is relevant to the Miranda custody analysis under the Fifth Amendment); and Miller v. Alabama (mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles convicted of homicide offenses unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment). Levick also served as co-counsel in Montgomery v Louisiana, where the Supreme Court ruled Miller retroactive throughout the country. 


Dr. Stuart Grassian of Massachusetts is a Board-certified psychiatrist who was on the teaching staff of the Harvard Medical School for almost thirty years. He has had extensive experience in evaluating the psychiatric effects of stringent conditions of confinement, and has served as an expert in both individual and class-action lawsuits addressing this issue. Dr. Grassian described a particular psychiatric syndrome resulting from the deprivation of social, perceptual, and occupational stimulation in solitary confinement. His observations and conclusions have been cited in a number of federal court decisions, for example: Davenport v. DeRobertis, 844 F.2d 1310 (7th Cir. 1988), and Madrid v. Gomez, 889 F. Supp. 1146 (N.D. Cal. 1995). His work was also cited in a recent Supreme Court concurring opinion by Justice Kennedy.

In his publications, Dr. Grassian described the extensive body of literature, including clinical and experimental literature, regarding the effects of decreased environmental and social stimulation in a variety of situations, and specifically, observations concerning the effects of segregated prison confinement.

Saturday Plenary Speaker

Using Our Research in the Struggle for Racial Justice: Pathways to Engaged Scholarship

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 Linda R. Tropp is Professor of Psychology. She received the 2012 Distinguished Academic Outreach Award from the University of Massachusetts Amherst for excellence in the application of scientific knowledge to advance the public good. Her research concerns how members of different groups approach and experience contact with each other, and how group differences in status affect cross-group relations. She has worked with national organizations to present social science evidence in U.S. Supreme Court cases on racial integration, on state and national initiatives to improve interracial relations in schools, and with non-governmental and international organizations to evaluate applied programs designed to reduce racial and ethnic conflict.  She is co-founder of the Public Engagement Project, which  was founded in 2007 by social, behavioral, humanities, and life scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who wanted to expand the engagement of scholars with the world outside the academy. Faculty from the Center for Public Policy & Administration, the Center for Research on Families, the Department of Sociology, and the Psychology of Peace & Violence Program in the Department of Psychology were involved from the beginning. She recently published an edited volume with APA books, Making Research Matter: A Psychologist's Guide to Public Engagement, which gathers a wide range of experts to discuss how researchers can impact a broader audience.

Thursday Night Welcome Reception

AP-LS Skyway and Rooftop Reception with music from The Jeremy Shrader Quartet

Image result for Jeremy Shrader quartet photographs                  Image result for peabody hotel rooftop

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