In this issue

The Kitty Genovese Memorial Conference

Speakers at the Kitty Genovese Memorial Conference presented new information or insights on her life, her death and positive societal changes after her tragedy.

On March 8-9, 2014, 150 people gathered in the rooftop conference center of Fordham University in New York City, to hear 24 experts address the "The Kitty Genovese Memorial Conference: 50 years later." These 24 speakers included journalists, scholars, activists and Genovese family members - most of them meeting for the first time. Participants heard each expert speak with passion for 15 minutes, presenting their new information or insights, on one of three themes:

  • A celebration of young Genovese's life.
  • A re-examination of the facts in her senseless death.
  • The many ways society has changed for the better after Genovese's tragedy.

When Kitty was fatally stabbed outside her New York City home at 3 a.m. on March 13, 1964, her little-known death soon exploded into headlines world-wide, when journalist A.M. Rosenthal's bold book, “Thirty-Eight Witnesses,” asked this simple question: "If many of Kitty's neighbors saw or heard her screaming for her life, why did none of them help her, or even phone the police in time?" Even a half-century later, we continue to learn new facts about Genovese and her iconic tragedy. Inexplicably, not one biography of Genovese has appeared these past 50 years, yet this conference included the voices of authors of at least five powerful new or forthcoming books this year about Genovese and her tragedy. A list of these books appears in the conference program.

Some of the 24 presenters (l to r): Vincent Genovese (brother), William Genovese (brother), Scott Plous (psychologist), Zehra Imam (educator), Robert E. Sparrow (attorney), Bibb Latane (psychologist), Carrie Rentschler (gender studies), Catherine Pelonero (author), Kevin Cook (author), Pete Hellman (author), Marcia Gallo (historian), Jim Rasenberger (journalist), Janine M. Abel (government), Harold Takooshian (psychologist), LuLu LoLo (performance artist), Joseph F. DeMay, Jr. (attorney), Keiji Oda (Guardian Angel).

Some of the 24 presenters (l to r): Vincent Genovese (brother), William Genovese (brother), Scott Plous (psychologist), Zehra Imam (educator), Robert E. Sparrow (attorney), Bibb Latane (psychologist), Carrie Rentschler (gender studies), Catherine Pelonero (author), Kevin Cook (author), Pete Hellman (author), Marcia Gallo (historian), Jim Rasenberger (journalist), Janine M. Abel (government), Harold Takooshian (psychologist), LuLu LoLo (performance artist), Joseph F. DeMay, Jr. (attorney), Keiji Oda (Guardian Angel). 

One question probed in this conference was whether knowledge of Genovese's tragedy has changed bystander behavior since 1964? The PsycCRITIQUES blog seeks people's views on this question.

View scenes from this public forum. For details, contact the forum's co-chairs: Attorney Joseph F. DeMay of New York City or Professor Harold Takooshian of Fordham University.