Center will focus on policing and other racial justice issues

Dillard University will launch its Center for Racial Justice (CRJ) in July 2020 in response to the mounting police brutality cases in the United States. As a historically Black university, Dillard is set to become the leading educational conduit between law enforcement, community leaders, and citizens in New Orleans and the nation. 

The mission of CRJ is to bring systemic change to the way policing is done in communities of color and to promote partnerships with law enforcement including police departments and sheriff’s offices, graduate, and professional schools.

“Minority and ethnic communities have become increasingly competent in understanding the role of law enforcement, and the expectation for professionalism has been elevated from previous years,” said Dr. Ashraf Esmail, the inaugural director of the CRJ.

Kristen Clarke, President & Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is a member of the CRJ advisory board.

“Communities are demanding policing reform and racial justice now,” Clarke said in a statement. “I am excited to be a part of this important work with Dillard University which can bring about systemic change in Louisiana and across the country.”

Other members of the advisory board will include current and former law enforcement officers, judges, and law enforcement and criminal justice experts.  

The CRJ will be a reservoir for lectures, research, advocacy training, civic engagement, and political participation. It will also brand Dillard University as the top choice for undergraduates seeking meaningful careers in or related to law enforcement and a place for expanded public interest discourse, workshops, and distinguished lectures.

CRJ’s goal is to change the way people of color and their communities are policed through education, community relationship building, civic engagement training, services, partnerships, and utilization of relevant resources.

The center will develop a 30-hour certificate program, offering courses such as: Policing in Society, Sociology of Black Americans, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Social Welfare, Policy and Services and Leadership in Ethical Decision Making. 

There will also be a course focused on criminal justice and cultural diversity. This course will explore challenges in multicultural communities, changing law enforcement agencies, and the hiring practices of employing and retaining people with diverse backgrounds in law enforcement institutions.

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