DeRay Mckesson

The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (SSA) and the Seminary Co-op Bookstores

are pleased to host

DeRay Mckesson

Foxx, Mckesson, Gonzalez

On his national book tour for

On The Other Side of Freedom 

He'll be joined in conversation with Kimberly M. Foxx, Cook County State's Attorney and UChicago SSA Assistant Professor Yanilda González.

This event has passed.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

7:00 – 8:00 pm; Doors open at 6:30.


The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools Gordon Parks Arts Hall
5815 S. Kimbark Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

One book will be included with the price of each ticket.
Additional books will be available for purchase from the Seminary Co-op at the event.

For questions, email

Persons in need of accommodation may contact Carmella Snook at 773.702.9700 or email at

About the book: We have never been the voiceless, proclaims activist DeRay Mckesson, we have been the unheard.

In August of 2014, twenty-nine-year-old activist DeRay Mckesson stood with hundreds of others on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, to push a message of justice and accountability. These protests, and others like them in cities across the country, resulted in the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. Now, in his first book, Mckesson lays out the intellectual, pragmatic political framework for a new liberation movement. Continuing a conversation about activism, resistance, and justice that embraces our nation's complex history, he dissects how deliberate oppression persists, how racial injustice strips our lives of promise, and how technology has added a new dimension to mass action and social change. He argues that our best efforts to combat injustice have been stunted by the belief that racism's wounds are history, and suggests that intellectual purity has curtailed optimistic realism. The book offers a new framework and language for understanding the nature of oppression. With it, we can begin charting a course to dismantle the obvious and subtle structures that limit freedom.

Honest, courageous, and imaginative, On the Other Side of Freedom is a work brimming with hope. Drawing from his own experiences as an activist, organizer, educator, and public official, Mckesson exhorts all Americans to work to dismantle the legacy of racism and to imagine the best of what is possible. Honoring the voices of a new generation of activists, On the Other Side of Freedom is a visionary's call to take responsibility for imagining, and then building, the world we want to live in. The moral arc of the universe will bend toward justice, he argues, only if we bend it.

About the author: DeRay Mckesson is a civil rights activist, community organizer, and the host of Crooked Media's podcast, Pod Save the People. He started his career as an educator and came to prominence for his role in documenting the Ferguson protests and the movement they birthed and for publicly advocating for justice and accountability for the victims of police violence and the end of mass incarceration. He's spoken at venues from the White House to the Oxford Union and universities and appeared on TV shows across the political spectrum. He was named #11 on Fortune's World's Greatest Leaders list and Harvard's Black Man of the Year in 2016, among his many other accolades. A leading voice in the Black Lives Matter movement and the co-founder of Campaign Zero, a policy platform to end police violence, he lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo Credit: Blair Caldwell.

Learn more about DeRay through interviews with Sarah Silverman, Stephen Colbert, and Trevor Noah.

About the Kimberly M. Foxx, Cook County State's Attorney: Kimberly M. Foxx is the first African American woman to lead the Cook County State's Attorney's Office – the second largest prosecutor's office in the country. Kim took office on December 1, 2016 with a vision for transforming the Cook County State's Attorney's Office into a fairer, more forward-thinking agency focused on rebuilding the public trust, promoting transparency, and being proactive in making all communities safe.

In her first year in office, Kim has already undertaken substantial reform. She has revamped the office's Conviction Integrity Unit, resulting in overturned convictions in over 20 cases, including the first-ever mass exoneration in Cook County for 15 men whose convictions stemmed from misconduct by a Chicago Police Officer. She has been a leader in bond reform, instructing prosecutors to agree to recognizance bonds where appropriate, and reviewing bond decisions in cases where people are detained because they are unable to pay bonds of $1,000 or less. Kim has taken the lead on prioritizing resources away from low-level offenses, including raising the threshold for approving felony charges for retail theft to $1,000, and declining to prosecute misdemeanor traffic offenses for failure to pay tickets and fines.

Kim served as an Assistant State's Attorney for 12 years, and was also a guardian ad litem, where she worked as an attorney advocating for children navigating the child welfare system. Prior to being elected State's Attorney, Kim served as Chief of Staff for the Cook County Board President, where she was the lead architect of the county's criminal justice reform agenda to address racial disparities in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.

Born and raised on Chicago's Near North Side, Kim is a graduate of Southern Illinois University, where she earned a BA in Political Science and a JD from the SIU School of Law.

About Yanilda María González: She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. Her research explores the consequences of violence and inequality for state capacity, democratic citizenship, and the relationship between citizens and state institutions in the Latin American context.   

González's book manuscript, Authoritarian Coercion by Democratic Means: The Paradox of Police Reform in Latin America, probes the persistence of violent, corrupt, and unaccountable police institutions, and the political and social drivers of institutional continuity and change. Throughout the region, police forces engage in widespread extrajudicial killings and torture that largely target marginalized sectors of society, including Afro-descendants, the poor, and those living in the urban periphery. At the same time, these groups are also underserved by their police, leaving them vulnerable to high rates of criminal violence. While these practices run counter to principles of democratic policing, these patterns of coercion have proven remarkably resistant to reform. Based on nearly two years of immersive qualitative field research in Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia, González demonstrates how these patterns are perpetuated by, and in turn reproduce, existing societal inequalities. 

González holds a PhD in Politics and Social Policy from Princeton University. Prior to coming to SSA, González was a postdoctoral fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. González previously worked with a number of human rights organizations in the United States and Argentina, including the New York Civil Liberties Union, Abogados y Abogadas del Noroeste Argentino en Derechos Humanos y Estudios Sociales (ANDHES), Equipo Latinoamericano de Justicia y Género, and Asociación por los Derechos Civiles.