Neal, Dr. MelissaHickory – Catawba Valley Community College’s Interdisciplinary Read Committee will host a public discussion about the US criminal justice system featuring Charlotte-based criminal justice reformer and researcher Dr. Melissa Neal at noon on Wed., Jan. 17, in the East Wing Auditorium.

“Just Mercy, A Story of Justice and Redemption,” by Bryan Stevenson, was selected for this academic year’s interdisciplinary read. During the year-long examination, students from various core disciplines are challenged to consider themselves as part of a larger community by critical thinking, studying and researching important societal issues.

Discussions and efforts to reform the criminal justice system have largely ignored the issues of race and racism in the United States. However, racial inequalities in the criminal justice system are impossible to ignore as they affect the health of communities across the nation.

Dr. Melissa Neal will discuss how a confluence of issues have led to disproportionate impacts of the criminal justice system on people of color. She will also present on how using a racial equity lens in examining these issues can lead to more effective solutions and better outcomes for all communities.

CVCC’s Interdisciplinary Read is grant funded this year by the United Arts Council of Catawba County. There is no charge to attend the presentations, and the public is invited to attend.

Individuals with a disability needing accommodations should contact CVCC’s Counselor for Students with Disabilities at least 72 hours in advance to allow time to arrange the services at 828-327-7000, ext. 4222, or

Photo: Dr. Melissa Neal