Policing, Urban Policy, and American Ideals and Institutions
An America’s Founding and Future Lecture
Rev. Eugene F. Rivers, III, Founding Director, Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies in conversation with Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University
Following the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others by law enforcement officers, the reform of policing practices and police departments themselves has moved to the front burner of American politics. What are some ways forward that can lead us to positive relationships between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to protect? Rev. Eugene F. Rivers, III has been a key player in reforming the Boston Police Department. For many years, that department had a terrible record on racial issues and negative relationships with large segments of Boston’s African-American community. Pastor Rivers, together with other leaders of the historic Black churches and the Catholic Church, worked with city and police officials to dramatically turn things around in Boston. He will discuss the concrete steps and reforms that have made a difference in promoting equal justice under the law.
Rev. Eugene F. Rivers, III, a former Sommerville gang member from Philadelphia, was educated at Harvard where he studied philosophy and history of science. He is the Founder and Director of the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies and is a widely published writer and community activist who has lectured internationally. He advised both Bush Administrations and the Clinton Administration on their faith-based initiatives and in the foreign policy arena regarding the AIDS crisis in Africa. Gustav Niebuhr in the New York Times identified Reverend Rivers as the Bush administration’s point man on faith-based and community service. He was the subject of a Newsweek cover story in 1998 and was prominently featured in a second cover story on the AIDS crisis in Africa two years later. He has provided commentary for ABC (Prime Time, Nightline, and ABC Morning News), NBC (Hardball, Morning Joe and MSNBC), CBS (CBS Evening News, Sixty Minutes II), PBS (Charlie Rose, Bill Moyers Show) and Fox News (The O’Reilly Factor). He lives and works among the poor in inner-city Boston with his wife, Dr. Jacqueline C. Rivers.
Robert P. George holds Princeton University's McCormick Chair in Jurisprudence and is the Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. He has served as chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), and before that on the President’s Council on Bioethics and as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He has also served as the U.S. member of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST). He is a former Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award. A graduate of Swarthmore College, he holds M.T.S. and J.D. degrees from Harvard University and the degrees of D.Phil., B.C.L., D.C.L., and D.Litt. from Oxford University.