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Aug 14 - Aug 18 - Faculty Duty Days - Offices Open

Faculty Duty Days - Offices Open

Aug 14 - Aug 18

Aug. 14Faculty Duty Day 1 - Offices Open
Aug. 15Faculty Duty Day 2 - Scheduled & Directed by Admin. - Offices Open
Aug. 16Faculty Duty Day 3 - Offices Open
Aug. 17Faculty Duty Day 4 (Assessment) - Scheduled & Directed by Admin. - Offices Open
Aug. 18Faculty Duty Day 5 - Offices Open

Aug 21 - New Student Orientation

New Student Orientation

Aug 21

Orientation begins at 9:00am

Evening (4 PM or later) Classes (Fall Semester and First Block) begins.

Aug 22 - Daytime Classes Begin

Daytime Classes Begin

Aug 22

Daytime classes (Fall Semester and First Block) begins.

Aug 25 - Last Day to Add/Drop

Last Day to Add/Drop

Aug 25

Fifth Day of Classes - Last Day to Add/Drop Full Semester Classes

Aug 25 - Due Date for Tuition & Fees

Due Date for Tuition & Fees

Aug 25

Due Date for Tuition & Fees

Sep 4 - Labor Day Holiday - Campus Closed

Labor Day Holiday - Campus Closed

Sep 4

Labor Day Holiday - No Classes - Offices Closed

Sep 11 - We Are All Criminals Program

We Are All Criminals Program

Sep 11

1:00pm - 2:00pm
Chucker Auditorium, Davies Hall

Featured speakers include Emily Baxter of We Are All Criminals (WAAC) with Otis Zanders and Richard McLemore II of Ujamaa Place about the WAAC project and Ujamaa Place as one model of a successful program that is empowering people coming out of the criminal justice system.

SUMMARY

 

In September 2017, MacRostie Art Center and its organizational partners will present “We Are All Criminals,” a series of programs that seeks to challenge society’s perception of criminal records and what it means to be a criminal. The programs will include art exhibits, presentations, theater performances, and educational displays that emphasize personal stories of crime, privilege, justice, and injustice to inspire empathy and ignite social change.


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The Problem: Crime and Punishment in Minnesota

Minnesota has one of the lowest incarceration rates in the country, yet we also have the 8th highest rate of people currently under some form of correctional control –in jail, in prison, on probation, or on parole. Nationally, one in every 31 adults is in the system, but in Minnesota it’s one in every 26. More than 150,000 people are under correctional control in this state, and these numbers have skyrocketed over the last few decades. In 1982, there were about 5,000 felony convictions in Minnesota, by 2008 that number swelled to 15,000.

 

The heaviest burden of our ballooning criminal justice system falls upon poor communities of color. In Minnesota, nonwhite residents make up less than 15% of the total population, but more than 46% of our prison population; African Americans alone make up less than 5% of our general population and 35% of our prison population. In Itasca County and much of northern Minnesota, the effects of patterns of bias in policies, policing, prosecution, and sentencing are seen in a disproportionate number of Native American people in the jail populations.

 

But the punishment doesn’t end with the sentence. The data age has changed the realities of second chances and reentry. In the 1980s, when many of the criminal laws and sanctions were first enacted, paper records of criminal histories were only accessed in person in the county the offenses occurred; now, rap sheets from around the state and nation are only a keystroke away. Additionally, changes in law and in information-sharing have made records for both juveniles and adults widely, freely, and indefinitely available.

 

In fact, when it comes to employment, housing, benefits, schooling, and countless other life necessities and opportunities, it doesn’t matter whether or not someone was incarcerated – it matters whether or not someone was caught. It’s the record that matters, and 1 in 4 people in the United States has a criminal record.

 

The Problem: We Are All Criminals

This project is inspired by, and operating in partnership with the nonprofit organization “We Are All Criminals,” which was created by Emily Baxter, a former public defender, 2011 Bush Leadership Fellow, and former Fellow at the U of M Law School’s Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice. WAAC  takes a different approach to the conversation about the criminal justice system by looking not at the 1 in 4, but at the other 75%: those of us who have had the luxury of living without an official reminder of a past mistake. Through narrative and photography, the project works with participants to collect stories of crimes they got away with. The participants are doctors and lawyers, social workers and students, retailers and retirees who consider how very different their lives could have been had they been caught. Their stories are privately held memories without public stigma; they are criminal histories without criminal records.

 

We Are All Criminals challenges what it means to be a criminal, and it is also a commentary on the disparate impact of our nation’s policies, policing, and prosecution. We Are All Criminals questions the wisdom and fairness in those policies. It takes the conversation beyond background checks and “Ban the Box” to a deeper discussion of how we view others and how we view ourselves.

 

The Opportunity: Bringing WAAC to Northern Minnesota

Inspired by the work of We Are All Criminals, MacRostie Art Center invited the organization to exhibit in September 2017 and convened a collaborative group of organizations to plan additional community programming to take place in conjunction with the art exhibit.

 

A group of eight organizations began meeting in the fall of 2016. What began as a plan to have a few guest speakers deliver community presentations at MacRostie Art Center has grown into a full month of events designed to reach diverse audiences throughout the community. The suite of performances, exhibits, panel discussions, and presentations will deliver education about the challenges and inequalities in the criminal justice system along with a message of empathy and a call to action.

 

Our collaborators include the organization We Are All Criminals along with local partners: Circles of Support, Grand Rapids Human Rights Commission, Grand Rapids Police Department, Itasca Community College, Itasca County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Itasca County Probation, Itasca County Wellness Court, Department of Corrections, Grace House, Grand Rapids Area chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Hibbing Community College, North Homes Children and Family Services, and Northland Counseling Center.

 

Project Goals

We have identified three goals for this project.

1)     Educate and raise awareness about challenges and inequalities in Minnesota’s criminal justice system, and the ways in which a criminal record impacts an individual’s ability to access services and opportunities. 

2)     Encourage empathy and challenge perceptions of what it means to be a criminal by sharing personal stories through We Are All Criminals.

3)     Inspire community action around positive changes in employment, housing, and programs that support individuals and families impacted by the criminal justice system.