Jason Sole

Recent Articles

U.S. justice system does what it was designed to do: lock up people of color

(l-r) V.J. Smith and Jason Sole

Can the current U.S. criminal justice system be reformed? This and other questions were recently discussed at a half-day forum at St. Paul’s Metropolitan State University. No easy answers were forthcoming.

The school’s Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Club and Alcohol and Drug Counseling Student Association (ADCSA) co-sponsored “Understanding and Responding to Mass Incarceration: What Does Reform Look Like?” April 14, where nearly 150 participants, which included 20 middle-school students from Southside Family Charter School, took part in “multiple facilitated discussions” at the school’s Great Hall.

Therissa Libby, the program coordinator for Metro State’s alcohol and drug counseling master’s degree program, said it helped connect her students with community people and law enforcement types. Continue Reading →

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Police use of confidential informants creates distrust in the Black community

Photo by Tony Webster published under Creative Commons License

As we are seeing a record number of people engaged in discussions centered on criminal justice reform, it is imperative that the Black community establish guidelines for police cooperation. Police across the world have been able to corrupt poor and vulnerable citizens (i.e., mentally ill) to turn on their fellow brother or sister, causing a lack of trust throughout the community. Continue Reading →

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Wilder Foundation hosts unFRAMED conversations

Blacks discuss Zimmerman verdict’s effects on youth
By Jamal Denman

Online Editor



On Wednesday, August 28, 2013, the Wilder Foundation’s Wilder Center for Communities played host to what was referred to as a “community conversation,” where members of the Twin Cities community were invited to listen to and partake in a discussion about what impact the aftermath of the death of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent verdict in the Andrew Zimmerman trial will have on how young people — particularly young people of color and specifically African American boys — are taught and raised by those who care about them. The event, billed as unFRAMED: The Lessons of the Zimmerman Trial, was organized by Barbara “Bob-e” Epps and Dave Ellis of the Black Men’s Early Childhood Project (BMECP). Epps is a consultant to the Science Museum of Minnesota, which had started hosting an exhibit called The Wonder Years, an exhibit that “looks at early childhood development from prenatal to age five,” Epps explains. The Science Museum also started hosting a series of conversations, which they called “citizen’s conferences,” where “up to 100 people from a cross section of populations come together, look at the exhibit, and then have a discussion about what [the exhibit] means to them, what their thoughts are about children, and what do they want to invest [in them].”

In early 2012, Epps was asked by the Science Museum to help facilitate similar types of community conversations throughout the state, and she gladly said yes. “I suggested that they bring African American men together and have a dialogue with them,” says Epps. Continue Reading →

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