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Inaugural Temple Women’s Conference: Reimagining Safety

Morning panel: Imagining a Safer World: Scholar and Activist Perspectives:

Keynote speaker Dr. Dorothy Roberts:

Afternoon panel: Centering Black Parent Activists in Dismantling Family Policing and closing remarks:

The Temple Women’s Conference takes inspiration from the work of our keynote speaker Dr. Dorothy Roberts and her book Torn Apart: How the Child Welfare System Destroys Black Families—And How Abolition Can Build a Safer World (Keynote address: 11:45am-12:45pm).  Do institutions that claim to be working in the interests of “safety” really achieve those ends?  How can a safer world be reimagined?  Please join us for a gender inclusive conference and open discussion about such questions, with a focus on reforming the family policing system and other criminal justice institutions.  The hybrid conference (in-person or online) includes a morning panel of scholars and activists addressing the theme of imagining a safer world across criminal justice institutions, and an afternoon panel that centers Black parent activists in dismantling the family policing system.  Breakfast and lunch will be provided for all in-person attendees, and there will be a book signing following Dr. Roberts’ talk. We will be giving out copies of Dr. Roberts’ book to the first 50 undergraduate students who attend. 

This is a hybrid conference with in-person and virtual attendance available. Please register accordingly here:
Link to register for in-person attendance
Link to register for virtual attendance

Dr. Dorothy Roberts is the George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights at the University of Pennsylvania, where she has a joint appointment in the Departments of Africana Studies and Sociology and the Law School. She is also the founding director of the Penn Program on Race, Science, and Society. In addition to her most recent book Torn Apart (2022), her other major works include Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century (2011); Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (2002), and Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (1997). She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

About Torn Apart:
Many believe the child welfare system protects children from abuse. But as Torn Apart uncovers, this system is designed to punish Black families. Drawing on decades of research, legal scholar and sociologist Dorothy Roberts reveals that the child welfare system is better understood as a “family policing system” that collaborates with law enforcement and prisons to oppress Black communities. Child protection investigations ensnare a majority of Black children, putting their families under intense state surveillance and regulation. Black children are disproportionately likely to be torn from their families and placed in foster care, driving many to juvenile detention and imprisonment. 

The only way to stop the destruction caused by family policing, Torn Apart argues, is to abolish the child welfare system and liberate Black communities. 

Torn Apart, pg 303

Buy Torn Apart here

Morning panel: Imagining a Safer World: Scholar and Activist Perspectives

  • Melissa Noel, Temple Department of Criminal Justice 
  • Lori Pompa, Temple Department of Criminal Justice, Executive Director of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange 
  • Michelle Taylor, Temple Department of Africology and African-American Studies 
  • Celeste Winston, Temple Department of Geography and Urban Studies

Moderated by Jennifer Pollitt, Temple University Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program

Afternoon panel: Centering Black Parent Activists in Dismantling Family Policing 

  • Joyce McMillan, Executive Director, JMACforFamilies 
  • April Lee, Co-Founder and Director of Programs, The Philly Voice 
  • Corey Best, Founder, Community Curator, Mining for Gold 

Moderated by Sarah Katz, Temple University Beasley School of Law 

The Inaugural Temple Women’s Conference is co-produced by:
Temple Global Women’s Dialogue
Temple Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program
Temple University Beasley School of Law
Temple Department of Sociology
Temple IDEAL/Anti-Racism Center
Temple College of Education and Human Development
Temple College of Liberal Arts
Temple Center for Humanities at Temple 
Temple Libraries/Charles Blockson Collection
Stoneleigh Foundation

Temple co-sponsors:
Department of Criminal Justice
Department of Anthropology
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Intellectual Heritage Program
Department of Political Science
Center for Urban Bioethics
Department of Geography/Urban Studies
Public Policy Lab
Center for Sustainable Communities
Science, Technology, and Society Network

This conference is dedicated
to the memory of
President JoAnne A. Epps

For additional information, please contact