October 20, 2016

Angela Sims

Angela Sims

As disturbing as 21st century police-involved killings of unarmed black persons in America are, the fact is that extrajudicial murder of blacks in the U.S. is not new. This practice has its roots in slavery, reconstruction, and the Jim Crow era of not long ago. And even though segregationist laws were determined to be unconstitutional by the courts, the effects of Jim Crow extended far beyond that era. In March of 1981, Michael Donald, a young black American man, was murdered in Mobile, Alabama, by two Ku Klux Klan members. His murder has been referred to as the last recorded lynching in the United States.

Over the past 50 years, blacks have faced significantly greater risk than whites of being killed by police. The excessive level of police brutality faced by black Americans and the resulting trauma to those individuals, their families, and their communities led to a call for police-involved murders to be reported to the Center for Disease Control along with other health risks that are reported on a weekly basis.

Nancy Krieger, professor of social epidemiology and the lead author of the study, “Police Killings and Police Deaths are Public Health Data and can be Counted” said, “counting these deaths can and should be done because the data constitutes crucial public health information that could help prevent future deaths.” The authors go on to say, “it is time to bring a public health perspective to this longstanding and terrible problem, from a standpoint that emphasizes prevention and health equity, as opposed to treating these data as if they solely belong to the police and are a matter of criminal justice only … These data involve mortality and affect the well-being of the families and communities of those who were killed.” (emphasis ours)

lynchedTo provide perspective on the history of lynching and its roots in every era, including the present-day, Angela Sims will share the work on her oral history project in which she interviewed survivors of lynching and the Jim Crow era who are now elders and the last generation with first-hand experience of that terrifying period of ‘Strange Fruit.’ Sims’ new book, “Lynched: The Power of Memory in a Culture of Terror” is the culmination of her oral history project. In her book, Sims explicates the connection between lynching and police-involved murders of unarmed black persons in the 21st century.

Dr. Angela D. Sims is the Robert B. and Kathleen Rogers Chair in Church and Society, Associate Professor of Ethics and Black Church Studies, and Dean of Academic Programs at Saint Paul School of Theology. She is the principle investigator for the oral history project ‘Remembering Lynching: Strategies of Resistance and Visions of Justice.’ Her research has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the Womanist Scholars Program at the Interdenominational Theological Center, the Louisville institute, and the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion. A native of Louisiana, Dr. Sims is the author of “Lynched: the Power of Memory in a Culture of Terror” (Baylor University Press), Ethical Complications of Lynching: Ida B. Wells’ Interrogation of American Terror, co-editor of “Womanist Theological Ethics: A Reader,” and lead author of “Religio-Political Narratives in the United States: From Martin Luther King, Jr. through Jeremiah Wright.”

This event is for everyone who cares deeply about racial justice.

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Theme: Disposable Lives

Themed Viewing (recommended)

Event Question: Why is the safety of each individual critical to a safe society?

Event Location: Barrel 31, 400 E. 31st Street, Kansas City, MO 64108. American snacks & shareable plates plus a lengthy cocktail list in an upscale, laid-back bar space.

Date: Thursday, October 20, 2016

Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.

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We can accommodate children over 15-years-old.

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