Final 'Unequal Justice' Forum Tonight Explores Solutions

May 12, 2015

The War on Drugs in the United States, coupled with unequal policing and sentencing practices, is contributing to a disproportionate number of people of color behind bars, says Tim Ready of WMU's Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations.

Tonight wraps up the "Unequal Justice" series of forums sponsored by Western Michigan University's Institute for the Study for Race and Ethnic Relations. For the last two months, the series has sought to raise awareness and generate solutions to America's high incarceration rate, particularly of people of color. The forum at 7 p.m. today, the fourth and final installment, is titled "Re-Imagining Kalamazoo With Justice for All." Officials will present several proposals for input.

Tim Ready, director of the race institute, says America's War on Drugs, along with unequal policing and sentencing practices, have led to people of color being imprisoned at higher rates than other races. Ready said that citizen comment and completed evaluations at the "Unequal Justice" forums, the first of which was on March 30, have brought forth proposals for addressing what he says is likely bias in the criminal justice system and getting at the root causes of poverty that leads to some individuals resorting to a life of crime to survive. Organizers have also met behind-the-scenes to develop further solutions. 

Ready said that the most popular of those proposals will be presented tonight for feedback. 

The forum takes place at 7 p.m. at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, at 120 Roberson in Kalamazoo.

The Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations is co-sponsoring it with the City of Kalamazoo's Shared Prosperity Kalamazoo anti-poverty initiative, with which the race institute is a partner.