Breaking Free: Creating transformative changes in policing for Minneapolis
What's Next? Roundtable Series
The College of Liberal Arts is hosting a series of roundtable discussions with community leaders that seeks to answer the question “What’s next for us to eliminate institutional and systemic racism in society in the wake of George Floyd’s death?”
How can we create transformative change in Minneapolis in the wake of the killing of George Floyd? This panel brought together community advocates, activists, and political leaders to discuss their visions for the future of policing.
Andrea Jenkins, Council Vice President, Minneapolis City Council
Jamael Lundy, Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Committee Administrator, Minnesota House of Representatives
Oluchi Omeoga, Co-founder, Black Visions Collective
Marquita Stephens, Director of Education Programs and Policy, Urban League Twin Cities
Michelle Phelps, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota
Andrea Jenkins is a writer, performance artist, poet, and transgender activist. She is the first African American openly trans woman to be elected to office in the United States. Jenkins moved to Minnesota to attend the University of Minnesota in 1979.She worked as a Vocational Counselor for Hennepin County government, for a decade. Jenkins worked as a staff member on the Minneapolis City Council for 12 years before beginning work as curator of the Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota's Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies. She holds a Masters Degree in Community Development from Southern New Hampshire University, a MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University and a Bachelors Degrees in Human Services from Metropolitan State University. She is a nationally and internationally recognized writer and artist, a 2011 Bush Fellow to advance the work of transgender inclusion, and the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships. In 2018 she completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University.
Jamael Lundy is an community activist, electoral organizer, and political staffer. He received his J.D. from Mitchell Hamline Law School and is interested in administrative law and how systemic biases effect the effectiveness of institutions. Jamael currently works at the Minnesota House of Representatives where he serves as the Committee Administrator for the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Committee where he helped coordinate the legislative response to the killing of George Floyd.
Oluchi Omeoga is a Minnesota-born Trans Igbo organizer who still lives and organizes in Minneapolis, Minnesota today. Oluchi is a co-creator and Core Team member of Black Visions Collective, a black-led local organization working in Minnesota. Prior to becoming the National Organizer, Oluchi was also co-founder/ steering committee member of the Black LGTBTQ+ Migrant Project, or BLMP. BLMP is focused on bringing most marginalized folks together to work toward liberation.
Michelle Phelps is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota. Her research is in the sociology of punishment, focusing in particular on the punitive turn in the U.S. Her primary lines of ongoing research are on mass probation, criminal justice transformation, and policing. Together with Philip Goodman (University of Toronto) and Joshua Page (University of Minnesota), Professor Phelps is the author of Breaking the Pendulum: The Long Struggle Over Criminal Justice (Oxford, 2017), which traces the history of U.S. criminal justice reforms from the birth of the penitentiary to contemporary struggles to end mass incarceration. Professor Phelps is currently affiliated with the Minnesota Population Center, Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, University of Minnesota Law School, and Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Marquita Stephens is originally from Pittsburgh, PA. and has been in the Twin Cities since 1999, working on behalf of children and families and the systemic structures that govern them. The former President and CEO of the African American Adoption Agency, and Community Engagement lead for the Roseville Area School district’s 21 st Century grant, she is now responsible for developing the program content and organizational presence of the Urban League’s Education Intersection. Marquita has developed the Parent Academy, a Summer STEAM program, and deepened the Minneapolis version of the National Urban League’s Project Ready as Black Gems. She is a lead producer of the Urban League’s Real Talk program and has moderated several community dialogues on subjects centering Black and other Women of Color. Marquita also served as the facilitator for the Community Conversations of the City of Roseville arising after the shooting of Philando Castile, tackling such subjects as police/community relations and immigration reform. She led the Urban League’s work in the project on policing with the Minneapolis NAACP.