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When Will It End? The Deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile Underscore Need for Sustained Action

The police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile this month have sparked nationwide protests as the nation once again struggles to confront the reality of racialized police violence against blacks in the U.S. We continue to support the Black Lives Matter Movement and calls for police accountability, community oversight and training of police officers in line with the science on implicit bias. We understand, however, that until Americans are willing to honestly address the ways that racism is embedded in our society and institutions, disproportionate killings of blacks and other people of color by law enforcement will continue. –>Full Story

Police Violence is a Public Health Issue (ThinkProgress.org)

IMG_2805In 2012, the American Journal of Public Health dedicated an entire issue to the public health inequities based on race, including the “psychological distress” of racial discrimination. And the American Public Health Association released a policy statement explicitly affirming that “police brutality and excessive use of force are widely reported and have disproportionate impact on people of color” and urging federal and state lawmakers to acknowledge and address the health consequences of police violence on people of color. “Being in a heightened state of awareness begins to deteriorate your body after a point,” said Judy Lubin, a sociologist and adjunct professor at Howard University. And this stress is often triggered by the videos of shootings of black men that keep going viral. Read More


In First Person

Growing Up in Ferguson: When Your Hometown Becomes a Symbol

We lived with racial tensions as children and adolescents in Ferguson, but also with fond attachment to our town. Many of my classmates return for reunions after all these years. But I found returning for my 60th reunion last September a weird experience. Ferguson is no longer my home, but a concept. Imagine what it is like to see Anderson Cooper on the streets of your home town, along with other national figures.


Statement on Grand Jury Decision in Shooting Death of Micheal Brown

We are deeply disappointed in the grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. The handling of the case by St. Louis County Prosecutor Attorney Robert McCulloch and the subsequent decision by the grand jury is another example of the all-too-common elusiveness of justice for communities of color.

Our thoughts are with Michael Brown’s family, friends, and community as they fight to be heard. We strongly support efforts to organize for systemic changes in policing across the nation.–> read more


1800+ Sociologists Demand Justice in Ferguson and Change in Policing of Communities of Color

We are an independent collective of sociologists troubled by the killing of Michael Brown. We are troubled by the excessive show of force and militarized response to protesters who rightfully seek justice and demand a change in the treatment of people of color by law enforcement. As the nation engages in another conversation on race and the criminal justice system, we are calling on law enforcement, policymakers, media and the nation to consider decades of sociological analysis and research that can inform the necessary conversations and solutions required to address the systemic issues that the events in Ferguson have raised.

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AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Ryan Garza

As one of the more than 1800 sociologists who have signed on to our statement has observed, “The public discourse around these events is badly wanting for a deep and nuanced discussion of the structural factors involved.” As a community of scholars, we hope to play a role in facilitating solutions that address the deeply embedded inequities that make communities such as Ferguson vulnerable to police abuse.


Add your name to the growing list of sociologists who are taking a stand against injustice and calling for reforms that address the racialized police practices that devalue and threaten black lives.  –> read more about this initiative


The events in Ferguson emerge from a nexus of issues that have long concerned sociologists including implicit, institutional racism, police brutality, economic inequality and civil rights. We have complied a list of readings to help inform conversations about these issues.

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