Today, there are more African-Americans under correctional control than were enslaved in 1850. And more than five decades after Jim Crow laws were abolished, a different kind of subjugation now puts impoverished black Americans behind bars at disproportionately high numbers.
This is the focus of "Broken On All Sides," a documentary by Matthew Pillischer that discusses the incarceration rate in the United States and its connection to race and poverty. The film will be screened at Synod Hall in Oakland on Sunday at 2 p.m., followed by a discussion on the criminal justice system.
The forum is free to the public and is the first of two forums about the criminal justice system organized by the Race and Reconciliation Dialogue Group of St. Paul Cathedral.
Dorothy Miller, chair of the Dialogue Group, said the film will help to spread awareness about an issue that is often overlooked.
"Most people know very little about the criminal justice system. They don't realize all the ramifications," Ms. Miller said.
The film is based on Michelle Alexander's book, "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness," which delves into issues such as racial profiling and the repercussions of the "drug war" policies.
"This book is a very interesting new theory. It brought up the fact that so many black men are incarcerated," Ms. Miller said. "This is a real crisis."
After the film, a discussion will be held with Martha Conley, chair of Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, and Bret Grote of Pittsburgh's Human Rights Coalition.
The second forum will be held at the same time and place Nov. 18.
Discussions will be held on racial profiling, the impact of incarceration on families and the community, education, and solitary confinement.
Emily Petsko: email@example.com or 412-263-1468.