The Mt. Lebanon Community Workshop critically examines an issue of the day in a series of five two-hour weekly sessions. The first issue it will address is Policing and Racial Justice in the town and regionally. Future workshops will address other issues facing Mt. Lebanon and the region such as equity in education, health, food security, the digital divide and economic justice.

For Policing and Racial Justice, you are invited to participate in all or selected sessions. Each is scheduled on a Sunday evening from 7-9 pm.

August 16 – Session One: What Do We Want from Police? Dr. James Nolan, a former police officer who is now a professor of sociology at West Virginia University and Yusef Jones, a man who served decades in prison and who now describes himself “just a foot soldier” in the struggle for policing and incarceration reform, discuss the fundamental idea of police, and different models of how the functions they serve might be fulfilled. How might we build the police if we were building our society from scratch?

August 23  – Session Two: What Do Police Do? And Why?   Dr. Norm Conti, a professor at Duquesne University and a man with many friends both inside prison and on the police force, and a working law enforcement officer TBA discuss both the day-to-day functions of police in the South Hills, and the larger crises the police are called upon to respond to.

August 30 – Session Three: How Can Communities Become More Knowledgeable About Policing?  Richard Garland, who currently serves on the Pittsburgh Mayor’s Community Task Force on Police Reform will discuss what sorts of information communities might want to ask their police to make readily available, some of the challenges that this transparency can pose, and the processes that have worked, in other communities, to make this happen.

September 6 – Session Four: What Should We Know About Our County Courts and Jail? Dr. Autumn Redcross, who runs a Courtwatch program in the County will explain to us how our criminal courts and jail function, and review some challenges it is facing and recent reformist proposals that might  better serve our county, and justice-involved people within it.

September 13 – Session Five: How Do Theological Ethics Relate To Policing and Incarceration?  Dr. Elisabeth Vasko, author of Beyond Apathy: A Theology for Bystanders will discuss faith-informed approaches to policing and incarceration

For Session One on August 16, we’ll be sending Zoom invite and we look forward to your participation.  Register here: