A Call for Justice
The recent series of tragic events have brought into sharp focus the wide gap between the lofty ideals America espouses and the vicious and brutal reality of the lives that Black and Brown people in this country lead every day. The actions of police—from the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others, to the unruly and violent response to constitutionally protected protest—have once again demonstrated that law enforcement is infected by the same sickness that plagues our nation. It is a sickness rooted in racism and driven by fear. It conflates brown skin with dangerousness and imposes a presumption of criminality on communities that have historically been failed by the very institutions and actors that are supposed to keep them safe.
It is not enough to simply hold police accountable or to reform policing. Vindicating the lives and memories of those who have been lost to police violence requires that those sworn to serve and protect us all stop operating as an occupying force in our communities. We must collectively summon the moral courage to take the dollars and energy we spend on police, jails, and prisons and reinvest them in the institutions that will allow communities to thrive and remain safe.
Those who have taken to the streets to express their righteous outrage are part of a long legacy of people from all walks of life who have done the work to successfully bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice. We stand in solidarity with the people who are attacking the scourge of racism, the legacy of white supremacy, and the pernicious inequities that such ideologies produce. We know that this is a fight that we will win.
The Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law works to highlight and dismantle structures and institutions that have been infected by racial bias and plagued by inequality. A project of the Law School, the interdisciplinary center, among other things, coordinates curricular development to offer a concentration of courses and serves as a resource for faculty whose teaching or scholarship addresses subjects related to race, ethnicity and inequality. The Center also fulfills its mission by convening public conversations with stakeholders, affected communities, thought leaders, advocates, and students; shaping policy, engaging in multifaceted advocacy, and providing training on issues of race and inequality; and leveraging the collective power of partnerships with a diverse array of allies committed to progressive social change. In addition to developing and providing a home for events and activities pertaining to these issues—including the prestigious lecture series named for civil rights attorney, critical race theory pioneer, and beloved NYU Law professor Derrick Bell—the center will grow to offer scholarships and fellowships, embracing projects that diversify not only the pipeline to legal scholarship, but to societal leadership more broadly. With a foundation in New York City, deep connectivity to the world of practice, and a global perspective, NYU School of Law is ideally suited to developing a center to examine and address issues of race, inequality, and the law using a multi-disciplinary approach.
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