Panel Discussion: Confronting Racial Injustice: The War on Drugs in Massachusetts: The Racial Impact of the School Zone Law and Other Mandatory Minimum Sentences
Sen. William N. Brownsberger; Abrigal Forrester, Center for Teen Empowerment; Rahsaan D. Hall, ACLU of Massachusetts; Deborah A. Ramirez, Northeastern University School of Law; and moderator Hon. Sydney Hanlon
In the 1980s, Massachusetts embraced the War on Drugs, enacting harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. It took decades to confront the reality that, in addition to being ineffective and costly, mandatory minimums resulted in the pervasive and disproportionate incarceration of Black and Brown people. Panelists will discuss this troubling history, recent reforms, and the prospects for implementing drug policies that are effective, fair, and just.
This program is in partnership with Northeastern University Law School Criminal Justice Task Force
Please note this program with be hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society. Please contact email@example.com with any questions.
The goal of this five-part virtual series is to explore historical events in Massachusetts history in order to probe how slavery, racism and their legacies have and continue to influence the criminal justice system.
June 9, 2021
The Charles Stuart Case: White Lies and Black Lives
Charles Stuart, a white man, murdered his wife and unborn child in Boston in 1989 and falsely blamed the attack on a nonexistent Black man. Believing Stuart’s lie, the police engaged in a massive manhunt that terrorized a Black community in Mission Hill with detention, public strip-searches, and the arrest of two innocent men. As some lawmakers demanded the death penalty, the media perpetuated this false story. The Stuart case exemplifies how the narrative of white supremacy continues to lead to the dehumanization and devaluation of Black lives. Widespread acceptance of white lies over Black lives persists today.
Northeastern University School of Law
Massachusetts Historical Society
Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston
Boston College Law School
Boston University School of Law
Dorchester Historical Society
Flaschner Judicial Institute
Jamaica Plain Historical Society
Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association
Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys
Massachusetts School of Law at Andover
Museum of African American History
New England Law/Boston
Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy at Boston College Law School
Roxbury Historical Society
Royall House & Slave Quarters
South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston
Suffolk University Law School,
The UU Urban Ministry
Trinity Church Boston
University of Massachusetts School of Law
West End Museum
Western New England Law School