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A Workshop: "Ending the New Jim Crow"
Saturday, July 19th, 2014

Workshop Logo

In this workshop, we looked at how we can have fair and just law enforcement in our communities.
How can we shut down the "pipeline to prison"?  How can we create a more just society?

Bob Ray Sanders

Bob Ray Sanders

Keynote Speaker:

Bob Ray Sanders

"Color of Justice"

Long-time journalist and Ft. Worth native Bob Ray Sanders talked about how in America, and particularly in Texas, one's color played a part in how they were treated by the criminal justice system - from arrests, to charges, sentencing, incarceration and even parole after prison time. Included would be the application of the death penalty, in which race played a huge role for so much of American history.


Our Presenters Included:

Mothers Against Teen Violence, Dallas Communities Organizing for Change, Texas ReEntry Services, the North Texas Civil Rights Project, and representatives of the Dallas District Attorney's Office and the Ft.Worth Police Department.

The complete program schedule as well as workshop details
and information on our presenters is included below.

Please join our Social Action blog to continue this discussion and keep up with other cluster-wide social action projects:

SA Blog

Here are some "takeaway" thoughts from the keynote presentation delivered by Bob Ray Sanders:

  • White snow in a black world – some of us have been immobilized
  • Felony drug convictions make a person permanently ineligible for food stamps
  • Privatization of prisons:
    • encourages convictions and sentences in order to increase profits
    • should not be an industry
    • incarceration is a business
    • Law unequally applied:
      • those with money have advantages
      • shows disrespect for human life
      • Dreams deferred affects the community
      • Prejudice against poor people has an impact on minorities

A number of "Action Ideas" emerged from the Panel Discussions:

  • Reconnecting with civil rights project
  • Talk to re-entry program, making space for the program
  • Reaching out of community around our church to see how we could be of service (e.g., in schools)
  • Texas Re-Entry Services: 46,000 released in Texas next year – things are needed – they leave prison with no IDs, 10 days of medication and it takes longer than that to qualify for health benefits
  • NTUUC could coordinate actions
  • Most of our churches share the plate on Sunday – do so for these groups – it’s a start
  • Re-entry services needs major statewide changes – that means we need to vote for change
  • Re-connecting with people who came today to put pressure on police to write citations for ROR, rather than arresting
  • NTUUC to take a lead and find other organizations to partner with
  • Take illegality of drugs away
  • We need to encourage all members of congregations to support the organizations that were here today
  • There is a meeting in Selma in March 2015 in connection with equal rights
  • We need legislation favoring medical marijuana and educating the public regarding drug abusers
  • Child-based intervention/education – education for kids 3+ to 12th grade; TCU has a remedial program in writing;
  • We need to be a presence in front of city councils, school boards and counter commissioners – they are not used to seeing voters taking a stand at their meetings
  • End the death penalty – press Obama to appoint a National Commission on Mass Incarceration to expand the conversation
  • Re-entry is more important – some re-entry programs are being picked up by profit sector – do your due diligence when getting involved.
  • Supporting the Annie E Casey Foundation as they work on issues that negatively affect children, e.g., poverty
  • There is a FaceBook Page – UUs Resisting New Jim Crow & Mass Incarceration
  • Offer folks re-entering an apprenticeship program via the Feds - $20,000 for each to be trained
  • Grass roots – political change from bottom up is needed
  • Dismantle the prison industry

Ending the New Jim Crow

Wrongful convictions happen much too frequently, as part of a Pipeline to Prison. Under District Attorney Craig Watkins, Dallas County has led the way in reviewing cases and DNA evidence to reverse injustice.

book cover
Michelle Alexander's book, The New Jim Crow, was the UUA's Common Read for 2012-2013, for staff, trustees, and other leaders. Wikipedia's description: Alexander discusses the social consequences of various policies for people of color, as well as for the US population as a whole. The majority of young black men in large American cities are "warehoused in prisons," their labor no longer needed in the globalized economy. Many young black men, once they are labeled as "felons," become trapped in a second-class status that they find difficult to escape. The conventional point of view holds that discrimination has mostly ended with the Civil rights movement reforms of the 1960s. However, Alexander claims the U.S. criminal justice system uses the “War on Drugs” as a primary tool for enforcing traditional, as well as new, modes of discrimination and repression.
Inspired by Alexander's book, delegates to the 2013 UUA's General Assembly passed an Action of Immediate Witness (AIW) condemning racist mistreatment of young people of color by police. The resolution calls on congregations to condemn practices such patterns through practices like 'stop and frisk' and asks them to work to stop this practice.

In this workshop, we will look at how we can have fair and just law enforcement in our communities. How can we shut down this pipeline? How can we create a more just society?

Ending the New Jim Crow Workshop

Saturday, July 19th

Welcome & Announcements


Opening Worship


Keynote: Bob Ray Sanders


Discussion Groups
Reflecting on the keynote presentation


Fifteen Minute Presentations:


Dallas Communities Organizing for Change
Mothers Against Teen Violence
North Texas Civil Rights Project
Texas ReEntry Services

Lunch with Discussion
Questions at the Tables


Reports from the Lunch Tables


Panel with Police Officers &
Other Law Enforcement Representatives


Cynthia Garza, Dallas Assistant District Attorney,
Convictions Integrity Unit

Assistant Chief Abdul Pridgen
Ft. Worth Police Dept.

Breakout Groups for Specific Actions


Reports from Breakout Groups


Closing worship



Bob Ray Sanders' journalism career has spanned four decades and three media: newspaper, television and radio. He currently is Associate Editor and Senior Columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the newspaper where he began his professional career. As a young journalist with the paper, he served as courthouse reporter and political writer before leaving to begin a distinguished career in broadcasting.

Bob Ray Sanders Photo

Bob Ray Sanders

Bob Ray Sanders joined KERA-TV in 1972 as a reporter for the station's innovative Newsroom program. Sanders later served as vice president of KERA-TV and host and producer of the station's award-winning program, News Addition.

A 1969 graduate of North Texas State University, Sanders is past president of the Press Club of Fort Worth. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Dallas/Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists. He currently serves on the board of the Mental Health Association of Tarrant County, the board of Community Hospice of Texas, the advisory board of the AIDS Outreach Center in Fort Worth and the advisory board of Goodwill Industries.

He has served as “Professional in Residence” in the Journalism Department of Texas Christian University, where he taught the course, “Race, Gender and Mass Media.”

Sanders has received some of journalism's most prestigious awards, among them: five awards from the Houston, New York and Chicago film festivals, five Dallas Press Club KATIE Awards, three Corporation for Public Broadcasting Awards; a regional Emmy Award; a National Association of Black Journalists award for Best TV Sports Feature, and a National Headliner Award for outstanding investigative reporting.

Other honors include: "Ethics Award" from the TCU Journalism Department; Distinguished Alumni Award, Fort Worth Independent School District; induction into the "Hall of Honor," University of North Texas Journalism Department; induction in the Texas Literary Hall of Fame; and the "Thomas Jefferson Liberty Award" from the Dallas Civil Liberties Union.

He is married to Dorothy Brown-Sanders. They have one son, Chandon.

Cynthia R. Garza

Cynthia R. Garza

Cynthia R. Garza is an Assistant District Attorney assigned to the Conviction Integrity Unit of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. She graduated from SMU Dedman School of Law in 2004 and subsequently practiced trial and appellate criminal defense at Sorrels, Udashen & Anton. Ms. Garza joined the District Attorney’s Office’s Appellate Division in 2008 and later joined the Conviction Integrity Unit in 2010. Ms. Garza has handled a variety of cases, ranging from post-conviction death penalty cases, to the exonerations of innocent men.

Ms. Garza was named a Rising Star in 2008 and 2009 by Texas Super Lawyers Magazine, has been a guest lecturer in the various areas of her practice, including Spanish-language lecturing at an at-risk youth program. Ms. Garza has served on the Board of Directors for various bar associations, including the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association (DHBA) and Dallas Association of Young Lawyers (DAYL). She has also co-chaired committees with the Dallas Bar Association, DHBA, and DAYL.

The first of its kind in the United States, the Conviction Integrity Unit of the Dallas County District Attorney's Office was established by District Attorney Craig Watkins in July of 2007, and reviews and re-investigates legitimate post conviction claims of innocence in accordance with the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Chapter 64 (Motion for Forensic DNA Testing).


Assistant Chief Abdul Pridgen

Assistant Chief Abdul Pridgen

Assistant Chief Abdul Pridgen was born and raised in The Bronx, NY. He enlisted in the United States Navy following his senior year of high school and attended Cryptologic Technician Maintenance School. He was stationed in Yokosuka, Japan and served in Desert Storm. He was honorably discharged 1991 and transitioned into the United States Navy Reserve. Assistant Chief Pridgen is a retired United States Navy Chief Petty Officer.

Assistant Chief Pridgen was commissioned as a Fort Worth Police officer on December 11, 1992. He has served in a variety of assignments during his tenure including Narcotics, Zero Tolerance, Traffic, Operational Analysis, S.W.A.T., Intelligence, Homicide, Public Information Officer, Internal Affairs, Criminal Investigations, West Division Commander, and his current position as assistant chief of the Patrol Bureau. Assistant Chief Pridgen earned a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Dallas Baptist University. He holds an Advanced Peace Officer license, is a certified Police Instructor and is a graduate of the Southern Police Institute and the FBI National Academy.

Don Jackson

Don Jackson
Prof. of Political Science (Emeritus)
Green Distinguished Emeritus Tutor
Texas Christian University

Don Jackson will be representing the North Texas Civil Rights Project. Don has spent most of his career working on issues involving the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights and Human Rights Law under universal principles of international law.

Don became a TCU faculty member after working as a Supreme Court Fellow under then Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger in Washington, DC. For many years in Fort Worth, Don took pro bono cases mostly involving public school students. One example was in a rural public high school near Jacksboro that was requiring its senior students to submit a “personal plan of salvation” for a high school course. That was stopped, without litigation, through his intervention. The biggest victory for which he worked came from the Texas Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously that the Sheriff of Tarrant County (Fort Worth) could not establish his own evangelical church in the Tarrant County Jail by allowing a favored few inmates to participate in his “inspiration of choice.” Separation of church and state has always been among Don’s passions. He formerly served on the National Board of Trustees of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Don has always said that he found his true vocation not in the practice of law, but in teaching undergraduates at TCU, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1975. He is still teaching and coaching TCU’s Undergraduate Moot Supreme Court Team.

Don is committed to transcending political partisanship and ideological positions of the left or right in our continuing efforts to protect and promote the Common Good.

Texas ReEntry Services mission is to create safer and stronger communities by providing ex-offenders opportunities and means to become productive, contributing members of society.

Texas ReEntry Services believes that a well-rounded education and support network is imperative to the well-being and continued freedom of their clients and offers a wide range of client services in order to better prepare ex-offenders for their reintroduction into society.



Dallas Communities Organizing for Change is a coalition of organizations, families and citizens fighting for justice for victims of police brutality, racial profiling and excessive force by Dallas law enforcement. We are a new school civil rights organization that mobilize people and resources to change policy, provide legal assistance and community mobilization.

You can find the group on Facebook:

MATV logo

Citing the strong association between violence and illegal drugs, and the casual link between drug prohibition and violence, Mothers Against Teen Violence shifted focus away from social services in 2008. Activist, author, and founder of MATV, Joy Strickland initiated and led the process of rebranding the organization to focus on public information, education, and advocacy for drug policy reform. Today MATV is leading the charge to rethink drug policy in Texas.