Kristin Henning

Cindy Seip

Kristin Henning is a nationally recognized trainer and consultant on the intersection of race, adolescence, and policing. She is a law professor and the director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic and Initiative at the Georgetown University Law Center. From 1998 to 2001, she served as lead attorney of the Juvenile Unit at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. Drawing upon 25 years of experience representing Black youth in the juvenile courts, Henning analyzes the foundations of racist policing in America in The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth (Pantheon). She writes about America’s irrational, manufactured fears of young Black people, and the day-to-day brutalities – still largely hidden from public view – endured by Black youth growing up under constant surveillance and the persistent threat of physical and psychological abuse by police. In the process, she makes a compelling case that the crisis in racist American policing began with its relationship to Black children. Henning parses how – while white youth are afforded the freedom to test boundaries, experiment with sex and drugs, and figure out who they are and who they want to be – Black youth are seen as a threat to white America and denied healthy adolescent development. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly described the book as “copiously documented and passionately argued … a powerful and persuasive call for change.”