The Town of Normal is in the middle of its first annual Daring Diversity: A Racial Equity Summit. Day 1 of the conference included speakers who defined and traced the roots of racism.
Illinois State University Criminal Justice Professor Miltonette Craig was a keynoter on Thursday. She cited data from The Sentencing Project that shows 1 in 17 white men will be incarcerated at some point in their life.
"(For) Latino men it's about maybe 1 in 9, and for black men it’s 1 in 3,” Craig stated. “So thinking about that, (out of) every three black men you see one is going to be incarcerated at some point in his life."
According to Craig, incarceration rates in the U.S. are 10 times higher today than they were in the in the late 1960s. She argues that there are parallels between what was going on in that decade with Jim Crow Law and segregation and what is seen in present day through discrimination.
"Our population in Illinois is about 14.5% African American, and then in Illinois state prisons, the population is over 55% black," she said.
She said that some states like Florida have provisions that current and former incarcerated persons are not allowed to vote, which only furthers the disenfranchisement of blacks.
Craig’s presentation Thursday called "The New Jim Crow" was inspired by a book of the same name written by Michelle Alexander.
The Town of Normal's "Daring Diversity" summit continued Friday.
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