Press Release


July 6, 2017

High-powered panel of legal luminaries, justice activists and celebrities include Georgetown U. Professor Michael Eric Dyson, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby and New Edition founding member Michael Bivins

BALTIMORE– In the face of an insidious strategy to stifle civil rights enforcement by the current presidential administration, the NAACP asks ‘can justice in these United States ever truly be served?’ Will there ever be a solution or approach to criminal justice that does not include the mass-incarceration of communities of color? How can law enforcement and our legal system move beyond racism and implicit bias in ways that generate trust in our communities? What needs to happen to replace poverty with economic opportunities that reduce crime and violence in our communities?

To debate these questions and more, the NAACP 108th Annual Convention’s opening plenary session will include the riveting criminal justice seminar, “New Voices, New Visions: Moving Beyond Mass Incarceration,” featuring a stellar lineup of panelists. The impactful seminar, sure to be a highlight of the five-day convention, is set for Monday, July 24th, running from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in Hall F of the Baltimore Convention Center. CNN political commentator and NPR analyst Angela Rye will moderate the panel.

Among those confirmed to appear on the panel are the Hon. Marilyn J. Mosby, Baltimore state’s attorney who made headlines with her handling of the infamous Freddie Gray case, along with outspoken author, critic and Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson, music industry mogul Michael Bivins, founding member of the vocal group New Edition, the Hon. Jewell Jones, state rep. of the Michigan House of Representatives and Ray Kelly, activist and director of Baltimore’s No Boundaries Coalition.

Other participants are Colin Warner, the real-life subject of the upcoming Amazon Studios film Crown Heights, Andrea James, executive director of the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls in Boston, and NAACP senior director of Criminal Justice Programs, Ngozi Ndulue.

“Our American criminal justice system is broken, and sentencing is disproportionately weighted against African Americans,” says Leon Russell, chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors.

“Rather than provide justice, our criminal justice system and law enforcement has often been the consistent purveyor of injustice. The NAACP believes in fair, results-based criminal justice policies and we’re hopeful that the experts being assembled for this engaging criminal justice seminar will bring forth dialogue that results in tangible strategies, despite the current political climate which devalues black lives while seeking to revive the same failed policies of the drug war which fueled mass incarceration.”

Learn more about “New Voices, New Visions: Moving Beyond Mass Incarceration” at