Press Release

An Act of Justice: Undoing the Legacy of Mass Incarceration

February 15, 2017

An Act of Justice: Undoing the Legacy of Mass Incarceration

Rothko Chapel to host three-day symposium on human rights and the criminal justice system

HOUSTON – Feb 15, 2017 – The Rothko Chapel, in partnership with the Criminology, Law and Society Department at the University of St. Thomas, will be hosting a three-day symposium that will explore the human rights issues associated with the criminal justice system in the United States.

WHAT: An Act of Justice: Undoing the Legacy of Mass Incarceration.

Through workshops, panels and keynote speakers, the symposium will explore the complex system of criminal justice, mass incarceration and the harmful effect it has on individuals, families, communities and the nation. The event will feature academics, activists, religious leaders, artists, criminal justice reform experts and individuals who were incarcerated and their families. The symposium aims to illustrate how individuals and community organizations are working toward equitable and sustainable reform. There will also be an on-site solitary confinement virtual reality experience facilitated by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. 

Keynote speakers include:  

      Day one: Margaret Burnham, Professor of Law and African-American Studies at Northeastern University School of Law.
      Day two: Vincent Schiraldi, Senior Research Fellow directing the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Both keynote speeches will be followed by a reception.

Other presenters include: Anthony Graves, activist and Death Row Exoneree 138, Dolores Canales, anti-solitary confinement spokesperson, Dr. Robert LaCarra, University of St. Thomas Criminology Department, Rev. Ron Stief, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, John Whitmire, Texas State Senator; Charles Rotramel, Houston revision, Teri Burk, ACLU of Texas, Mimi Marziani, Texas Civil Rights Project, Jay Jenkins of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition and more. 

WHEN: Thursday, March 30 to Saturday, April 1, 2017.

WHERE: The Rothko Chapel, 3900 Yupon St., Houston, TX 77006 and the University of St. Thomas, 3800 Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX 77006.

WHO: All are welcome.

PRICE: Thanks to sponsors, this is a no-charge event. Given the quality of speakers, meals provided and conference materials, donations are greatly appreciated to support the Rothko Chapel. To register, visit

For more information about the Rothko Chapel and the full calendar of upcoming programs, workshops and events, visit or call 713-524-9839.


About the Rothko Chapel

The Rothko Chapel is open to the public every day of the year at no charge and successfully interconnects art, spirituality and compassionate action through a broad array of free public programs. Founded by Houston philanthropists Dominique and John de Menil, the Chapel was dedicated in 1971 as an intimate sanctuary. Today it stands as a monument to art, spirituality and human rights. As an independent non-profit, non-governmental organization, the Chapel depends on contributions from foundations and individuals to support its mission of creating a space for contemplation and dialogue on important issues.

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