Niagara University will present the fourth in its “Transformative Visions” presidential speaker series on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, at 7 p.m. Soffiyah Elijah, executive director of the Alliance of Families of Justice and the first Black woman to serve as executive director of the Correctional Association of New York, will address “Criminal Justice, Policing, and Prisons.” The presentation will be accessible to the community through Zoom: www.niagara.edu/speakerseries111720.
Elijah has focused her career on support for families of incarcerated people, criminal justice and police reform, and disrupting cycles of mass incarceration. She founded Alliance of Families for Justice in New York in 2016 to support families of incarcerated people and people with criminal records, empower them as advocates, and mobilize them to marshal their voting power to achieve systemic change. Prior to founding AFJ, Elijah was the executive director of the Correctional Association of NY, where she was the first woman and the first person of color to lead the 170-year-old organization. Earlier positions included director and clinical instructor at the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School; faculty member, director and supervising attorney of the Defender Clinic at the City University of New York School of Law; supervising attorney at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, and staff attorney at the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society. She is a frequent presenter at national and international forums on criminal justice policy and human rights issues
“As the 2020 U.S. presidential election approaches, the major party candidates have attempted to define the issues, and for better or worse, to offer a vision of how they would seek to transform America and the world,” said the series organizers, Kevin Hinkley assistant professor of political science, and Dr. Dave Reilly, chair of political science. “As Election Day approaches, we can expect to see and hear bold statements about the defining issues of our time and the power of the people to chart our future course. We believe that a fundamentally different approach is needed. The challenges facing America and the world are complex, magnitudinous, and recalcitrant to simple solutions. Niagara University’s ‘Transformative Visions’ series is intended to offer our students a model of inquiry, discourse, imagination, and action.”