The United States currently leads the world in its incarceration rate, with more than 2.2 million people in its prisons and jails. This figure, which marks a 500 percent increase over the past three decades, means that while the U.S. boasts a mere five percent of the world’s population, it has more than a quarter of the world’s prisoners. The causes and consequences of mass incarceration are numerous and far-reaching, leading many to assert that it is the civil rights issue of today.
At a time when there were no female students and only a handful of female faculty members on Columbia’s campus, a group of civic-minded women joined together to make a difference both locally and globally. In 1942, Isadore Gilbert Mudge (1875–1957), who has since been named one of the top 100 important library leaders of the 20th century, sold bouquets of flowers from her own garden to raise money that would benefit the war relief effort.
On March 30, U.S. Representative John Lewis gave a rousing speech to an audience of over 650 in Miller Theatre. Named for New York City’s 106th—and first African American—mayor, the David N. Dinkins Leadership & Public Policy Forum has provided a vehicle for focus and dialogue around the dynamic elements of urban policies, programs, and initiatives for twenty years.