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.
The eight-floor, 60,000-square-foot Lenfest Center for the Arts opens this spring and will be the second building to open on the University’s Manhattanville campus. It is an academic venue designed for the presentation and creation of art across disciplines, providing a dynamic new home for faculty and students of Columbia University School of the Arts and the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery.
Community Scholar Highlight: Reverend Vivian Nixon Focuses on Education and the American Prison System
Columbia Community Scholar Reverend Vivian Nixon is executive director of College and Community Fellowship (CCF), an organization committed to removing individual and structural barriers to higher education for women with criminal record histories and for their families.
Unveiling the stories of runaway slaves and their links to Columbia University in her paper was not an easy task for student Jordan Brewington (CC’17), a descendant of slaves herself. “When I touched a slave inventory, it was very heavy and hard for me, but it grounded me,” said Brewington to the audience during the launch day of the Columbia University’s Slavery Project last January. “It reminded me that this was real, and that I’m real, and that this issue is real.”
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