Gaskew to speak at Kent State anniversary event

Gaskew Tony

Dr. Tony Gaskew, professor of criminal justice, will take part in a panel discussion in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Kent State shootings.

The discussion, “When Government Kills: State Violence and Youth Movements” is part of an international conference at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, Oct. 24 through Oct. 26.

Kent State's School of Peace and Conflict Studies is sponsoring the conference as part of activities surrounding the 50th anniversary of the May 4, 1970, shooting by the Ohio National Guard of Kent State students during a demonstration against the U.S. wars in Vietnam and Cambodia, and the occupation of the Kent State campus by the Ohio National Guard.

“The horrific shootings that took place during the student-led protests at Kent State University in 1970, are a sober reminder that the threat of state violence has always existed in one form or another on college campuses,” Gaskew said.

“As Kwame Ture once noted, students on a college campus play a vital role in society, serving as the gatekeepers of revolutionary change. The state has always feared this reality. This is true today, just as it was 60 years ago.”  

The other experts in the discussion include Christine Nobliss, a Plains Cree-Salteaux from the George Gordon First Nation in Canada who is active with Standing Rock youth activists; Dr. Thomas Grace, a nationally recognized historian and one of the Kent State University students shot by the Ohio National Guard; and Sibley Hawkins, program officer at the International Center for Transitional Justice at Kent State University.

Gaskew is director of the criminal justice program at Pitt-Bradford and has more than 20 years of policing experience. He is a Fulbright Hays Fellow and is the founding director of the Prison Education Program, where he has created post-secondary education initiatives in prisons since 2007.

Gaskew garnered national recognition when he was selected by the White House and the Obama administration to serve on a criminal justice roundtable. Over the past several years, he has spearheaded numerous grant-funded research projects that have examined the impact of systemic racism within the policing culture and the broader criminal justice system, and new pedagogical platforms in post-secondary prison education programming. 

He is the author of two books, “Policing Muslim American Communities” and “Rethinking Prison Reentry: Transforming Humiliation into Humility.” His upcoming third book project, “Stop Trying to Fix Policing: Lessons Learned from the Front Lines,” is a critical examination of community-controlled alternatives to policing in America.