Missouri NAACP vs Ferguson-Florissant School District Decision


On August 22, 2016, U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel ruled in favor of the Missouri NAACP and the ACLU in their lawsuit against the Ferguson-Florissant School District. The NAACP claimed that the school district violated the Voting Rights Act by holding at-large elections that effectively discriminated against African-Americans; in his ruling, Judge Sippel asserted that “the cumulative effects of historical discrimination, current political practices, and the socioeconomic conditions present in the district impact the ability of African Americans in FFSD to participate equally in Board elections” (see PDF of the full decision via ACLU, p. 117).

Colin Gordon, a member of our Deconstructing Ferguson working group, served as expert witness for the case, testifying to a century’s worth of practices that excluded African Americans from civic participation and representation.

You can find press coverage of the court’s decision here.

The Murder of Michael Brown

At Jacobin, Clarissa Hayward and Colin Gordon have published a new essay on the role of fiscal policy in creating inequality in Ferguson, Missouri. The piece helps us understand how local governmental decision-making led to the erosion of civic participation and, more visibly, the tragedy of August, 2014 in that city.


Building Democracy in the Brick City: How do social policy, law, and institutions shape civic life in Newark?

A panel discussion moderated by Tracey Meares

Please click for PDF version of this flier

It has been nearly two years since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, and Americans across the nation continue to grapple with the complex and troubling relations between people of color and local, state, and federal authorities. In this panel discussion, Newark leaders representing diverse aspects of city government and local communities will discuss what’s working, and not working, in the relationship between Newark citizens and their government. The conversation will be wide ranging. Our hope is to foster dialogue, build bridges, and generate new ideas and insights into the complex relationship between citizens and their government.

The Deconstructing Ferguson Working Group is a multi-disciplinary endeavor that aims to understand one of the key issues of our time: namely, how citizens experience state institutions and how that experience shapes identity, inequality, and membership. Our sponsors include the Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School, The ISPS Center for the Study of Inequality at Yale University, and the School of Criminal Justice and Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University, with generous support from the MacArthur Foundation.

Our panelists include:

–Amina Bey, Executive Director, Newark Workforce Investment Board

–Vivian Cox Fraser, President & CEO, Urban League of Essex County

–James E. Johnson, Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

–Hon. Victoria F. Pratt, P.J.M.C., Newark Municipal Court


May 5, 2016. 5:30pm to 7:00pm

Dana Room, Dana Library, 4th Floor

185 University Avenue. Newark, NJ 07102

Please RSVP for the event via email to kiran.lutfeali@yale.edu

Please click for PDF version of this flier

PORTALS: A Global Public Art Initiative, Connects Newark, NJ to Milwaukee, WI and the World

NEWARK, March 23nd, 2016  |   Project For Empty Space [at] Gateway Project Spaces is pleased to partner with Shared_Studios and Military Park, Newark to present Portals, a Global Public Art Initiative conceived by artist Amar Bakshi, which will take place for two months beginning April 16th, 2016. Portals Newark will be open to the public beginning April 18 at 9AM. Individuals can reserve 20-minute slots of time by visiting www.SharedStudios.com/Newark. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Portals are gold re-purposed shipping containers that are equipped with immersive audio-visual technology. The purpose of the project is to connect people globally to create dialogues and interactions that may not otherwise happen in the course of everyday life. Entering a portal is an experience unlike any other; upon entering the container, a participant is connected by life-size video and audio with another participant in an identical gold shipping container somewhere else on Earth. These individuals, who are more often than not complete strangers, are able to dialogue and connect in real time despite their geographical distances.


a Portal in New Haven, CT

Since its launch in December 2014, Portals has connected more than 12,000 people in conversation between Tehran, Havana, Herat, New York, New Haven, San Francisco, Miami, Washington D.C., a Syrian refugee camp, and Kigali, to name a few locations. Prior participants include U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power; journalists CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and FOX’s Chris Wallace; film directors Doug Liman and Morgan Spurlock; artists Mary Ellen Carroll and Titus Kaphar; and many more. Global media has covered Portals including the New York Times, the Washington Post, ABC, FOX,PBS, and NPR.

Part of the the Newark Portals project will address issues within the United States criminal justice system, as part of an ongoing research series. The Portal will connect to a site in Milwaukee, WI, which has the highest incarceration rate in America, and focus its conversations on this topic. In addition to that component, the Newark Portal also will connect to the broader Portals network to allow participants to interact with people internationally. Newark will be connected to sites in areas such as Afghanistan, Cuba, Honduras, Iraq, Iran, Kenya, Jordan, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe.

This project is made possible with support from The Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School, the ISPS Center for the Study of Inequality at Yale University, the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.


Shared_Studios is a multidisciplinary art, design and technology collective focused on carving wormholes across the world. More at www.SharedStudios.com.


About Project For Empty Space [at] Gateway Project Spaces

Project For Empty Space is a not-for-profit organization that creates socially engaging, multidisciplinary art exhibitions and programming that encourage social dialogue, education, and systemic change for cultural tolerance. This mission is achieved through a permanent project/gallery space inside of Gateway Project Spaces, an incubator program for artists addressing social change, and through collaborative and interactive programs in vacant and neglected spaces in cities around the world. The organization’s primary space is located within Gateway Project Spaces at 2 Gateway Center in Downtown Newark, New Jersey.


About Military Park Newark

As the most significant historic park in downtown Newark, the six-acre Military Park serves as the primary gathering space for surrounding residents, businesses, and visitors. Military Park was laid out in 1667 as the town commons and training ground, and for many years was used as a military training ground, campsite, and recruiting location in addition to acting as the town commons. Following several years of decline, Military Park was renovated and reopened in 2014. The park now offers free programming and amenities, including movies, yoga, children’s activities, and chess and board games. The park is once again a central community location for Newark.



Project For Empty Space [at] Gateway Project Spaces

973-818-2452 | info@projectforemptyspace.org

Deconstructing Ferguson: Spring ’16 Update

DECONSTRUCTING FERGUSON is gearing up for its annual conference this May in Newark, NJ. This is a two-day event in which group members will engage with the public and with Newark city leaders on civic issues; additionally the group will convene to share ideas and discuss current research.

Emerging research by DF scholars includes work on public perception of police authority, historical patterns of development around the Ferguson and St. Louis area, the effects of mass incarceration on gang development, discourses of citizenship in court procedure, and more…