(Sometimes) Speaking Out: Temporal analysis of interaction with #DefundThePolice on Twitter

Following the murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, individuals and organizations began to discuss the perceived need to defund police departments and invest in alternatives on Twitter. While the Defund the Police campaign is rooted in a larger abolition movement that predates Twitter, the Twitter platform greatly facilitated the growth of the campaign in the aftermath of Floyd’s death. This study aims to understand the development of the campaign on Twitter in the first two weeks following the death of George Floyd. A sample constructed of top tweets each day in the two weeks following Floyd’s death was analyzed using thematic, discourse, and sentiment analysis techniques in order to trace the development and contours of the campaign. The results showed a vibrant debate of the issue with several variables, including thematic content, discursive strategy, and sentiment polarity playing a role in which tweets gained top status at a given time.

California’s Three Strikes Law (TSL): A Review of the Literature, Policy Implications, and a Proposal for Dismantling TSL Legislation

In the almost thirty years since the passage of California’s three strikes law (TSL), tens of thousands of individuals have been sentenced under its provisions, for everything from the commission of serious violent felonies to the cultivation of seven marijuana plants (Kieso, 2005: 13). The high cost of California’s three strikes law—financially to the state and local governments, as well as the human cost of imprisoning so many individuals for so long (Chen, 2014)—makes the issue of the law’s efficacy an important one that has been extensively explored. This issue of efficacy, together with an analysis of TSL reform efforts and a proposal for further reform in the form of dismantling the TSL entirely, is the focus of this work.

“These aren’t my Warrants, These are Our Warrants”: Police Culpability in Breonna Taylor’s Death

In the early morning hours of Friday, March 13, 2020, a group of plainclothes officers serving a no-knock warrant in search of provably nonexistent narcotics mail packages shot Breonna Taylor eight times, killing her in her own apartment. While there is still much debate about the particulars of what actually happened that night, upon a close reading of the warrant and the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) Public Integrity Unit’s (PIU) investigative file, it is clear that justice was not served for Breonna Taylor. More broadly, justice was not served for any individual who believes that the law should be applied equally to police officers and average citizens alike. The killing of Breonna Taylor was a preventable tragedy that should have been prosecuted more thoroughly. This essay explores the crimes with which I would charge the officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor if I were the Attorney General using Kentucky's penal code.

Adultification Bias Against Black Justice-Involved Children

The troubling relationship between race and the decision to try in juvenile court or waive to the adult system supports the idea that our society values childhood differently for children of different races. The implication is that white children are more childlike and innocent, while Black children cannot afford to be children. While the devaluation of Black childhood is a phenomenon that began much earlier in U.S. history than the juvenile court and has its own set of implications for African Americans more broadly, it is interesting to trace the effects of adultification on Black youth involved in the justice system specifically. Doing so reveals crucial shortcomings of the juvenile justice system stemming from the differential and subjective application of the social class “child” to children of different races. This paper seeks to shed light on the detrimental effects of adultification, defined as “adults’ generalized perception of Black [children] as more adult” than white children (Epstein et al. 2017: 17), on Black justice-involved youth. In particular, this paper will focus on the relationship between the adultification of Black youth and the disproportionate use of the waiver system against them.

Hashtag Feminism Research Proposal

The research proposed herein aims to better understand the extent to which and how feminists who occupy spaces at the intersection of two or more marginalized identities use hashtag feminism. Specifically, the research aims to respond to the following question: do intersectional feminist women participate in hashtag feminism at higher rates than they participate in more traditional feminist activities, such as marching? The structure of the question allows us to compare intersectional feminist women’s experiences across two forms of feminist activity rather than comparing intersectional feminist women to their white cisgender counterparts, which would run counter to the theoretical underpinnings of the intersectional perspective (Shields 2008). The research proposed seeks to gain a better understanding of the way that intersectional feminists use hashtag feminism—is it replacing traditional spaces for them, is it complementing traditional spaces for them, is it subsumed by traditional spaces for them, or is the relationship between hashtag feminism and more traditional feminist activism something more complex and difficult to express for intersectional feminists?

Review of “Locking Up Our Own” by James Forman Jr.

Locking Up Our Own presents a history of black involvement in criminal justice politics and policy. It begins by relating the detrimental effects of the War on Drugs on African American communities and asking, “Why would black people ever have supported the drug war?” (18). This is the point of departure from which Forman Jr. goes back in American history to the establishment of the first major cohort of black mayors and other elected officials in the 1960s and their role in the mass incarceration of black people. Again, Forman Jr. argues that this role was not undertaken with the intent of subjugating African Americans in the justice system for generations to come. Instead, black mayors and elected officials played this role because they had little other recourse, if any, in their efforts to curb crime in the face of extreme violence and drug use. A major reason for this is that root-cause solutions (the establishment of a job market in which African Americans are fairly considered for employment, for example) were not considered pragmatic responses to crime because they did not attack crime rates directly. At the same time, the heroin, cocaine, and gun violence epidemics that began shaking America’s cities in the 1960s made it a moral imperative to act swiftly and effectively.

Hashtag Feminism Literature Review

Drawing on these and other studies and articles produced in the last decade, I argue that hashtag feminism provides a new avenue to speak out and speak up against sexual violence that is especially valuable to marginalized individuals who may not have had their voices heard in the past. At the same time, however, there can be unanticipated consequences for those who participate in hashtag feminism that range from relatively harmless to seriously damaging to feminists and survivors of sexual violence.