Dear community member,

Rev. Jeff McArn, Chaplain of Hamilton College, has initiated a Community Book Read and discussion on the topic of mass incarceration in America. These discussions are based upon the work of Michelle Alexander author of The New Jim Crow, the book which all of us will be reading. There are two groups underway on the Hamilton campus.


You are invited to join a Utica reading/discussion group to be held at the Refugee Center at 7PM on March 12 and 26th. Attorney Michelle Alexander will speak on the Hamilton campus April 17th during this spring semester. With your registration an e-book can be made available to you, free of charge, and there are a few hard copies available as well.

Michelle Alexander’s new book offers a new understanding of the continuing problem of race in America. Just as the institution of slavery ended and the brutality of the KKK developed to establish Jim Crow segregation and the further economic exploitation of Black Americans, in the same way, the waging of the War On Drugs, exclusively in poor Black communities has created a new Jim Crow society.

The pervasive conviction of Black men with drug felonies in the American judicial system tacitly relegates them to second class citizenship status where their right to vote, ability to hold certain jobs, acquire school loans or receive scholarships for higher education, visit with their children, the right to serve on a jury and access to housing are all greatly diminished. The impact upon the Black family has been disastrous.

The cultural construct which has established this racial caste system will be discussed through a discussion guide provided by the Unitarian Universalist Church with an ultimate intention of dismantling the same.

Please join us for this important community conversation for two sessions in March and a joint session to convene all community book readers after Attorney Alexander completes her remarks on April 17 at Hamilton College.

Please contact: if you are interested.