TIME TO VENTURE BEYOND THE IVORY TOWER: More than 60 African experts responded

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In the January 6-12, 2022 edition of the Jackson Advocate, I implored the nearly 100 African Americans holding a doctorate degree in criminology and/or criminal justice to join me in the clarion call for the development of new crime prevention theoretical paradigms suitable for this 21st Century. About sixty of these experts responded to my call.

All hold a doctorate degree in criminology, criminal justice, juvenile justice, or completed their doctoral dissertation in one of these fields. Most are university professors teaching, conducting research, and writing. Some are young scholars and newly-minted PhDs. A few are retired.

We decided to call our group the Black Criminologists Forum. We are collaborating on ways to increase the volume of our voices. We understand the urgency of the crime prevention challenges our nation currently faces. 

Crime continues to rage out of control. Since January 2022, more than 10,000 people have been murdered. Hundreds of thousands were physically assaulted. Millions experienced property crimes including theft of cash, electronics, motor vehicles, and even livestock. More than 600 communities have experienced the horror of mass shootings involving four or more persons.

These crimes occur in our homes, schools, churches, hospitals, shopping malls, grocery stores, night clubs, and public parks. Crimes happen on our bustling brilliantly lit wide city boulevards, and along sparsely traveled narrow dark country roads.

During this past year, Forum members have communicated weekly via telephone calls, emails, texts, and/or Zoom. We have discussed a wide variety of teaching, research, writing, and consulting availability issues related to crime prevention and how we can best apply our education, skill sets, experiences, and perspectives to be of service to our nation.

Led by Dr. Everette Penn based in Houston, podcasts with several members attending the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences annual meeting in Las Vegas were broadcast live by the Jackson Advocate. Dr. Helen Greene, Dr. Julius Debro, and Dr. Patrick Webb are among the Forum members interviewed on other podcasts.

The Forum issued a press release opposing hiring, as police officers, all persons holding memberships in any white supremacist organization. We also issued a press release calling for attention to the relationship between the proliferation of guns and gun access and mass shootings.

During 2022, Forum members have actively engaged in efforts to increase the volume of our collective voices as we work to prevent crime. We plan to do more and in more ways during 2023. Please stay tuned for updates on our progress.

Publisher’s Note: In 1984, Dr. Sulton received the Ph.D. degree in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Maryland-College Park. She has taught at several colleges and universities, including Spelman College and Howard University; published scholarly books and articles on crime; and worked with civic groups nationwide on crime prevention issues.

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TIME TO VENTURE BEYOND THE IVORY TOWER: More than 60 African experts responded

By Dr. Anne Sulton, Esq.
January 2, 2023