Ever since Europeans first settled the continent over four hundred years ago, racial injustice has existed in North America. Human bondage was formally recognized in the United States for nearly a century following the Nation's birth in 1776. While the Thirteenth Amendment officially abolished slavery in 1865 and the Fourteenth Amendment mandated equal protection in 1868, nearly another century passed before "separate but equal" was repudiated and some progress was made. Today we still see persistent racial inequities throughout American society. The criminal justice/prison complex disproportionately targets, captures and incarcerates persons of color; and police shootings of unarmed black victims — such as of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in Aug. 2014 — are grimly commonplace. It is difficult to deny, in light of this history, that America has a major problem of race.
What can be done? Truth and Reconciliation is a process that has been used effectively in other nations and cultures (e.g., South Africa; native nations) following times of deep racial discord/violence. The idea is that true healing can begin only when past atrocities and injustices are first acknowledged and addressed.
The Symposium Committee, in conjunction with the University's administration, seeks to convene leading activists, scholars, policymakers, and thought-makers for 1-2 days of discussions and conversations on the topic of the Nation's responsibility to account for the history of racial injustice in America. Selected submissions will be presented at the Law Review Symposium in March 2018, and published in a special symposium issue of Michigan State Law Review.
To be considered, please send an abstract (300 – 500 words) outlining your proposed paper to Professor Catherine Grosso at grosso @ law.msu.edu and Marie Gordon at mgordon @ law.msu.edu by Sept 29, 2017. Don’t hesitate to contact us if more information would be helpful.
Faculty Co-Sponsors: Tiffani Darden; Matthew Fletcher (Director of Indigenous Law & Policy Center); Kate Fort (Director of Indian Law Clinic); Brian Gilmore (Director of the Housing Clinic); Catherine Grosso; Michael Lawrence (Foster Swift Professor of Constitutional Law); Barbara O'Brien (Editor, National Registry of Exonerations); Wenona Singel (Assoc. Director of the Indigenous Law & Policy Center)
From the Legal Scholarship Blog