In June 2020, the killing of George Floyd—along with the killings of Breonna Taylor and countless other black and brown people—sparked a national uprising and reckoning for racial justice and police reform in the United States. Dialogue, self-reflection, and new policies addressing systemic racism are occurring in social institutions across the country, especially our criminal justice system. Too often missing are the experiences and voices of Black women.
This Public Dialogue, co-sponsored by Georgetown University’s Women’s Center, Prisons & Justice Initiative, and Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, brought together five women to discuss how gender, race, and politics impact Black women’s involvement with and experience in the U.S. criminal justice system.
The panelists explored questions such as:
- How did we get to the current status quo regarding the criminal justice system’s treatment of Black women and women of color?
- Why should communities—and in particular faith communities—say “Black lives matter” when discussing women and incarceration?
- Why are the voices and experiences of women ignored in criminal justice conversations? What are the moral and human costs of failing to listen to the voices of Black women here?
- What do the principles of Catholic social thought (CST) have to offer in understanding and acting on these issues? What does CST say about upholding the dignity of women, families, the imprisoned, the oppressed, and the marginalized?
- What do our government, faith, and community institutions need to do in order to support women of color while they are incarcerated, on their reentry journey, or when they are left to support their families while other family members are incarcerated?
View a list of articles and other resources for this dialogue.
Anna Misleh, project manager of the Initiative, moderated the dialogue.