July 1, 2020

Elevating and Engaging with Black Lives on Law School Campuses

On June 30, 2020, ACS, Professor Michele Goodwin, and the National Black Law Students Association hosted a joint discussion to elevate the concerns of students and recent alumni to share their perspectives, stories, and experiences.

As our nation confronts racial inequality, we must forge a different and better conversation about the role, place, and function of law promoting equality and safeguarding constitutional rights. These conversations must get at the heart of the promise of liberty for each American and focus specifically on how it has been historically denied to Black Americans. The tragic killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd bring this conversation into stark relief and undeniable contemporary relevance. As many struggle to comprehend the horrific tragedies of their deaths, law students are looking for answers and expressing their concerns. Indeed, Black law students are leading the way on campuses across the country with discussions about the need for a better aligned curriculum that takes seriously how the law engages with Black lives across the spectrum of discourses, as well as recounting the need for more professors of color at America's law schools.


Welcome: Zinelle October, Executive Vice President, American Constitution Society

Moderator: Professor Michele Goodwin, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy, University of California, Irvine

Co-Moderator: Tezira Abe, University of Michigan Law School Alumnus and BLSA Member (2020)

Professor Guy-Uriel Charles, Edward and Ellen Schwarzman Professor of Law and co-director of the Duke Law Center on Law, Race and Politics; Duke Law School

Dean Danielle Holley-Walker, Professor of Law and Dean, Howard University School of Law

Professor Patricia Williams, University Distinguished Professor of Law and Humanities, Northeastern University; MacArthur Fellowship alumnus; author of The Alchemy of Race and Rights

The discussion also featured remarks from:

Rachel Barnes, Chair, National Black Law Students Association

Marquisa Wince, Vice Chair, National Black Law Students Association