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Mass Incarceration and Volunteer Training

  • 2828 University Ave SE, Suite 160 Minneapolis, MN 55414 (map)

The ACLU of Minnesota's Smart Justice Organizer, Elizer Darris, will be hosting a workshop for individuals interested in decreasing mass incarceration. Elizer, as well as Anika Bowie and Dr. Raj Sethuraju, will speak on mass incarceration, the Smart Justice Campaign, and community connectedness to prepare attendees to volunteer. A meal will be provided. Invite your friends, come out, and get involved in the Smart Justice Campaign!

To learn more about the Smart Justice Campaign 

6:00-6:20: Mingling + networking
6:30-6:40: Welcome
6:30-6:50: Mass Incarceration Overview (Raj Sethmager)
6:50-7:15: Smart Justice Overview (Elizer Darris)
7:15-7:25: Community connectedness (Anika Bowie)
7:25-7:30 Ask! (Elizer Darris)

Dr. Raj Sethuraju
Dr. Raj Sethuraju is an Assistant Professor in the School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University. He teaches courses in Victimology, Restorative Justice, and Diversity Matters for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice undergraduates as well as a Community Building and Civic Leadership class for graduate students. He has over 20 years of experience implementing various Diversity initiatives in universities and colleges and in the communities that surround them. Raj also works and volunteers with various Restorative Justice nonprofit organizations in the TwinCities in Minnesota, including as the Co-Chair of the Criminal Justice Reform Committee with the NAACP of Minnesota. He has presented to Restorative Justice groups in prisons, is a trainer for the MNCOSA program run by the MN Department of Corrections, and is involved in training volunteers for other non-profit community Restorative Justice organizations.

Elizer Darris
After being sentenced to natural life in prison as a juvenile and violently struggling for years in adult facilities, Elizer fought to turn his life around. While in prison, Elizer earned his associate’s degree from Inver Hills Community College, thereby becoming the first in his family to complete a college education. Additionally, he became the first person in the history of the Minnesota Department of Corrections to obtain CompTIA A+ certification from within a facility. Elizer is now the Lead Consultant with the Darris Consulting Group, which aims to inspire hope and spark dialogue centered on the power of individuals to effect change in their world. He is currently pursuing a communications degree from Metropolitan State University while working as a business owner, consultant, educator, motivational speaker, and Community Organizer for the ACLU’s Smart Justice Campaign.

Anika Bowie
Anika Bowie is a fierce advocate for people of color subjugated in the margins of the criminal justice systems, intergenerational poverty, and historical trauma. After graduating from Central High School with honors, she earned her Bachelor's degree from Hamline University in Criminal Justice and Sociology minoring in Social Justice. Anika demonstrates the need for racial equity by leading projects that dismantle institutionalized racism such as Warrant Forgiveness Day in Hennepin County and Ramsey County. She was recently recognized by Minnesota Women’s Press Magazine as their cover story or April edition. She has built a reputation as a community educator, organizer, and connector by nourishing the seed of trust with government officials, community, and youth. Bowie is currently the Co-Chair of Minneapolis NAACP Criminal Justice Reform Committee.