“In January, 2015, the United States will undergo a ‘Universal Periodic Review’ of its human rights record at the United Nations Human Rights Council – The UN’s top human rights organ. While formative action is being taken to advance human rights in the U.S., more work remains to be done” as stated by Mrs. Jeanne Betsock Stillman, President of the United Nations Association – A program of the United Nations Foundation, Southern New York State Division.
On Wednesday, July 16, 2014, two of Westchester County’s outstanding leaders and humanitarians, Mr. Damon Jones and Dr. William “Bill” Carter were invited to present at a most significant symposium entitled, “The International Convention on Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, (ICERD), the U.S. Prison System, and Human Rights.
According to the organizer, Mrs. Stillman, “the goal of the symposium was to advocate with the American public for active implementation of the International Convention to Eliminate Racial Discrimination (ICERD), a treaty the U.S. ratified in 1994. Participants had the opportunity to learn about this treaty as it relates to information related to the U.S. prison system.
Both Mr. Jones and Dr. Carter received special thanks and applause for their valuable contributions. Mr. Jones is a 23-year veteran of the Westchester County Department of Corrections. He has served for 13 years as a Union Delegate for the Westchester County Correction Officers Benevolent Association (COBA) and is currently the New York State Representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America, www.bleausa.org. He also served as a National Board member and Chair of the National Membership Committee of the National Black Police Association.
Damon K. Jones, New York Representative BLEA
He is also co-founder of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America and has served as Executive Director of that organization. The group’s members have been strong advocates for Law Enforcement and community relations helping to spearhead the Norwood E. Jackson Scholarship fund, Save Our Schools Mentoring Program, How do you know your child’s in a Gang and Are you a Victim of Domestic Violence Seminars series, and the Mount Vernon Peacekeepers. Mr. Jones assisted in advising Governor Paterson’s NY State Police-on-Police Shooting Task Force on behalf of the National Black Police Association. The Task Force was created to examine the issues and implications arising from police-on-police shooting and confrontations, especially between on-duty and off-duty offices, and examine the disproportionate shootings of African-American officers while on-duty in plain clothes and off-duty.
This groundbreaking study examined racial bias and perceptions within the law enforcement system. Mr. Jones is sought after by numerous organizations and task forces for his expertise and has been recognized throughout Westchester County, New York State and nationally for his contributions and service.
Currently, the Commission of Community Resources for the Town of Greenburgh, Dr. William “Bill” Carter provides oversight for 60 programs in various parts of Westchester County, and is also on the faculty of Westchester Community College in the Department of Human Services and Dominican College of Blauvelt in the Department of Social Work. In addition to these positions, he is an Adjunct Professor at Monroe College in the Criminal Justice Department. Dr. Carter has taught at the Ehrenkranz School of Social Work at New York University and has worked for the Westchester County Youth Bureau as a program administrator as the administrator of funds for youth program in the six urban centers of Westchester County, with a mandate to foster an atmosphere where positive youth development can occur. He also served at a residential treatment facility operated by the Jewish Board of Family and Children Services. Dr. Carter is a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and the African American Men of Westchester, organizations of African American men dedicated to uplifting youth. For over 20 years, he has worked on the front lines fostering and promoting healthy youth development, is well-versed in research proven techniques to promote healthy development and in bringing diverse groups together to achieve a common goal.
Also on the panel with Mr. Jones and Dr. Carter were Sean Pica, Executive Director, Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison and Joshua Cooper, Director, Institute for Human Rights, University of Hawaii, member, UNA-USA Leo Nevas Human Rights Task Force.
Following the presentations by each expert panelist, symposium participants were given the opportunity to divide into groups for discussion and to develop recommendations. Following this event, the Southern New York State Division of the United Nations Association of the United States of America will publicize the ICERD as well as our findings and prepare what is known as a “Shadow Report” to the relevant UN Committee.
Also participating in this symposium were UNA-USA – Westchester Board Member, Hon. Yuhanna Edwards, who is involved in international human rights programs, and is City Councilman of Mount Vernon, NY; Interim Superintendent of Greenburgh Central Seven School District, Tahira Dupree Chase, Ed.D., and UNA-USA – Westchester Vice President and Non Government Organizational UN Representative, Brenda L. G. Smith, Ed.D.
The Review of the U.S. actions on International Convention on Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) will take place in August, 2014. The UNA-USA Association – Westchester, and the Southern New York Division appreciate the contributions of Mr. Jones and Dr. Carter