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BRIEF: International Pursuit of Justice Conference to be held at Gonzaga this month, features top speakers, scholars

Legal scholar Paul Butler and criminologist Jack Levin will headline “The Pursuit of Justice,” a three-day conference featuring nationally and internationally recognized scholars April 18-20 at Gonzaga University. Its theme is “Understanding Hatred, Confronting Intolerance, Eliminating Inequality.”

Butler, an award-winning Georgetown University law professor and former federal prosecutor, is a well-known figure on race and the criminal justice system, according to a press release. The author of “Let’s Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice,” he focuses on ordinary people’s encounters with the criminal justice system as jurors, witnesses, and through law enforcement. Butler has presented his insights on such matters as racial profiling and jury nullification in The New York Times, on 60 Minutes, and in other major media.

Levin is a leading authority on how to understand and address hate crimes, domestic terrorism, mass murder, serial killing and other violence, according to a press release. A Brudnick Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Northeastern University, Levin co-directs the Center on Violence and Conflict. He has authored 30 books and more than 150 articles and appears frequently in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Huffington Post, and major television news programs.

“The Pursuit of Justice” conference brings together scholars, members of law enforcement, the judiciary, leaders of nongovernmental organizations, experts on public policy and social change, human rights activists, award-winning filmmakers, clergy and community members, according to an announcement from Gonzaga. The event provides opportunities to understand and address fear and ignorance of the “other” as these conditions manifest in hatred, intolerance, and inequality, said John Shuford, director of the Gonzaga University Institute for Hate Studies, the university reports.

Other Conference Highlights

·       “The Pursuit of Justice – Judicial Perspectives,” a special panel of judges and justices from the federal, state, tribal, and local levels, including U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Richard Paez and Washington State Supreme Court Justice Steven C. González.

·       “Civil Liberties and the Politics of Hate,” a session with British extremism expert Jon Garland and Terri Givens, a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin.

·       “Hate Crimes and Justice: What Do Victims Want?” – a talk by “Critical Criminologist of the Year” Barbara Perry, a leading voice on hate crimes against indigenous and immigrant populations.

·       “Race and Criminal Justice” and “Smart Justice” sessions involving Ryan Haygood, director of political participation for the NAACP Legal Education and Defense Fund, Inc., and Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub.

·       “The World Is All Around Us,” a workshop with Lee Mun Wah, the internationally renowned documentary filmmaker, educator, and master diversity trainer.

·       A special screening of the award-winning documentary “Mr. Cao Goes to Washington,” and panel discussion with its director and producer, S. Leo Chiang.

Click here for a complete list of presenters, the conference schedule and registration information.

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Scholarly Assistant Professor at Washington State University.

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