The issue of mass incarceration will be the focus of a first-ever Martin Luther King Jr. Day event being hosted by Cleary University

Dr. Marlo Rencher is Cleary’s Vice President of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Diversity. She says the best way to honor Dr. King’s legacy of social activism is through action on tackling “the big problems of the world.” Accordingly, the event will start at 10am on Monday, January 15th at the Historic Howell Theater with a screening of “13th.” The Emmy-winning documentary is titled after the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which freed the slaves and prohibited slavery. It has been described as an exploration of the "intersection of race, justice and mass incarceration in the United States."

While Rencher says mass incarceration has disproportionally affected the African American community; it is a problem facing all Americans, pointing to the opioid crisis as crossing all social and economic divides. The panel discussion will include Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy along with Mark Fancher, with the Racial Justice Project of the ACLU of Michigan. Also participating are the Rev. Deon K. Johnson from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brighton, Mary King, Executive Director, Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency and Anthony Lewis with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

Rencher says they also wanted to get an inside perspective and will also welcome local resident Robin McCardle, dubbed as a “returning citizen” after her own experience with incarceration. The event is free and open to the public. You can find details through the link below.

Dr. Rencher will also be a guest this Sunday morning at 8:30 on WHMI's Viewpoint program. (JK)