Penn State World Campus Student Affairs is co-sponsoring with two other campuses a series of virtual events from April 12–16 centered around the theme of mass incarceration and racial justice.

The events are part of the annual Social Justice Fair led by the Penn State Brandywine Center for Ethics and Civic Engagement. Penn State Abington’s Student Engagement and Leadership office is the other co-sponsor.

The events, which will be streamed on Zoom throughout the weeklong fair, consist of presentations, panel discussions, and films about incarceration and social justice. The results of a photo contest, which was open to Penn State World Campus students, will be announced April 16.

“Every year, we draw attention to a social justice theme through the fair and encourage our Brandywine community to learn more deeply about the issues through workshops, discussions, and activities that enable multiple perspectives and voices to be heard,” said Vippy Yee, Rosenberg Director of Brandywine’s Center for Ethics and Civic Engagement. “Our theme this year is Mass Incarceration and Racial Justice. We are examining issues of racial justice more generally as well as focusing much of the programming on the issue of mass incarceration and the intersection of these topics.”

This is the first year that Penn State World Campus Student Affairs is helping to sponsor the event. Denita Wright Watson, associate director of Equity, Inclusion, and Advocacy for Student Affairs, said she is eager for the Penn State World Campus community to take part in the virtual fair.

"We were excited when we received the invitation to collaborate on this year's annual Social Justice Fair," said Wright Watson. "As a global community, Penn State World Campus students bring unique perspectives to social justice topics and their contributions to the discussion are invaluable. We are proud to provide this inclusive platform and want to empower our diverse student body to give one another a glimpse of the world through their lens."


The following programs will be presented through Zoom. The links to register for the events are available on the Penn State World Campus website for students.

  • From 7:00–8:15 p.m. (ET) April 12, Penn State Abington assistant teaching professor of criminal justice Patricia Collins will cover key terms and concepts to kick off the weeklong fair. Participants will play a Kahoot game to reinforce what they have learned. Prizes will be given to top finishers. 
  • From Noon–1:15 p.m. (ET) April 13, Penn State Brandywine associate professor of history and American studies Julie Gallagher will present on the history of policing and mass incarceration in the United States. This event is open to the public. 
  • From 7:00–8:15 p.m. (ET) April 13, the 2018 documentary The Mayor of Graterford will be streamed. The film is based on life without parole sentencing in Pennsylvania through the experiences of current and former inmates. This event is open to the public.
  • From Noon–1:15 p.m. (ET) April 14, view and discuss videos from current Brandywine and Abington students reflecting on what it means to be anti-racist and what racial justice means to them.
  • From 7:00–8:15 p.m. (ET) April 14, a panel featuring Penn State alumni and current students will discuss their experiences as students of color. 
  • From Noon–1:15 p.m. (ET) April 15, view a streamed spoken word performance inspired by mass incarceration and racial justice from Ashlee Haze, an Atlanta-based poet who recently appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk series. This event is open to the public.
  • From 7:00–8:15 p.m. (ET) April 15, take part in an exchange of ideas and experiences on race and incarceration in the United States using a model developed by dialogue experts to facilitate connection between participants. 
  • From Noon–1:15 p.m. (ET) April 16, a panel with at-large councilmember of The District of Columbia Robert C. White Jr. will discuss restoring voting rights for individuals who were formerly incarcerated. This event is open to the public.
  • From 6:00–8:30 p.m. (ET) April 16, the 2020 PBS documentary Driving While Black: Race, Space, and Mobility in America will be streamed. Discover how the automobile has brought both freedom and danger. This event is open to the public.

Visit the Penn State World Campus student website for more information about the Social Justice Fair.

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