Race and Narrative

Watch a conversation on the dynamics of racism and inequality and the road ahead in 2021 with Candice Jones '07, president and CEO of the Public Welfare Foundation, and Professors Kim Taylor-Thompson, Anthony Thompson, and Vincent Southerland.

The Center’s work on race and narrative focuses on hosting public events to generate discussions and shape the discourse on race in America. The Center hosts an annual public conversation series on a range of contemporary issues to explore the effects of racial narratives, inequality, and the law and to provide strategic solutions to address current societal concerns. See our YouTube playlist.

Our Events

Public Conversations

July 30, 2020
Where Do We Go From Here?: A Conversation about the Future of Race and Inequality in America
Discussion between Professors Deborah Archer, Vincent Southerland, and Anthony Thompson

November 18, 2019
In Conversation: Nikole Hannah-Jones and Christina Greer
Featured: Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the New York Times’s groundbreaking 1619 Project, and political scientist Christina Greer
Co-sponsored with NYU’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research

October 2, 2019
A Conversation on Affirmative Action in Higher Education
Featured: Anurima Bhargava, founder and president of Anthem of Us, Julie J. Park, associate professor of education at the University of Maryland, College Park, Jin Hee Lee, senior deputy director of litigation of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., and moderated by Professor Deborah Archer

October 23, 2018
We are Witnesses: Stories from the American Criminal Legal System
A conversation centering the experiences of people intimately familiar with the United States criminal legal system

October 12, 2018
Media and the Movement: Deconstructing Journalism's Role in Race and Inequality
Featured: New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie; New Yorker staff writer Jennifer Gonnerman; senior reporter for The Appeal, Josie Duffy Rice, and Jake Sussman, managing director at the Justice Collaborative

March 1, 2018
Truth and Reformation: A Conversation on Narrative, Identity, Race, and Rights
Focus: How narratives and identities around race and inequality have been constructed in the past, the ways these narratives have been deployed to drive policy and undermine social progress, and the steps that advocates and activists can take to change that dynamic going forward. Participants: Stephen Bright, founder of the Southern Center for Human Rights and visiting lecturer in the law at Yale Law School; Professor Paul Butler of Georgetown Law Center; Vanita Gupta '01, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights; and Professor Maya Wiley of the New School

February 20, 2018
Minding Race
A conversation focused on the intersection of race, brain science, and social psychology with members of the MacArthur Research Network on Law and Neuroscience, Dr. BJ Casey and Dr. Jennifer Richeson, Department of Psychology, Yale University, and Professor Kim Taylor-Thompson

October 12, 2017
Race, Inequality, and the Legal Profession: A Public Conversation on Private Practice
Participants: Debo Adegbile ’94, partner at WilmerHale; Lisa Davis ’85, partner at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein& Selz; Damaris Hernández ‘07, partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore; and Theodore Wells, partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

September 11, 2017
"A Conversation on Charlottesville" 
Moderated by Dean Trevor Morrison
Panelists: Professors Bryan Stevenson, Anthony Thompson, Kim Taylor-Thompson, and Burt Neuborne

February 27, 2017
The Future of Race and Inequality in the United States
A public conversation between Sherrilyn Ifill '87, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.; the Honorable Loretta Lynch, the 83rd United States Attorney General; and Professor Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative

The Annual Derrick Bell Lecture on Race in American Society

November 12, 2020
The 25th Derrick Bell Lecture on Race in American Society
Race, Evidence, and Police Violence: Seeking 2020 Vision 
Speaker: Jasmine Gonzales Rose, professor of law at Boston University School of Law and associate director for policy at the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research

November 6, 2019
The 24th Annual Derrick Bell Lecture on Race in American Society
“Race, Violence, and the Word: Living in Uncertain Times”
Featured: Kenneth Mack, Lawrence D. Biele Professor of Law and affiliate professor of history at Harvard University

November 8, 2018
The 23rd Annual Derrick Bell Lecture on Race in American Society
"The Tragedies of Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin: Illustrating Professor Bell's Lesson on How 'Racial Patterns Adapt in Ways that Maintain White Dominance"
Featured: Angela Onwuachi-Willig, dean of Boston University School of Law

November 1, 2017
The 22nd Annual Derrick Bell Lecture on Race in American Society
"Race and Rights in a Time of Madness: What Would Derrick Do? (WWDD?)"
Speaker: Theodore Shaw, Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Civil Rights at University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill

The Annual Kenneth P. Thompson ’92 Lecture on Race and Criminal Justice Reform

March 9, 2020.
Second Annual Kenneth P. Thompson ‘92 Lecture on Race and Criminal Justice Reform
Moderator: Executive Director Vincent Southerland
Panelists: Danielle Sered, founder and executive director of Common Justice, and Eric Gonzalez, district attorney for Kings County, New York
Co-sponsored with the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law

March 27, 2019
First Annual Kenneth P. Thompson '92 Lecture on Race and Criminal Justice Reform
Moderator: Vice Dean and Segal Family Professor of Regulatory Law and Policy Rachel Barkow 
Panelists: Patricia Cummings, supervisor of the conviction integrity and special investigations unit for the district attorney’s office in Philadelphia; paralegal Derrick Hamilton, who in 2015 was exonerated by Thompson of a wrongful murder conviction; and Nina Morrison ’98, senior staff attorney at the Innocence Project
Co-sponsored with the Law and the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law

Panels and Symposia

February 19, 2020
The Past, Present, and Future of Reparations
Moderators: Center Executive Director Vincent Southerland and Co-Faculty Director Deborah Archer
Co-sponsored the NYU Review of Law & Social Change’s 50th Anniversary Colloquium

November 15, 2019
The Anatomy of Race and Inequality: Examining Racial Inequality in the Criminal Legal System
Moderator: Alexis J. Hoag of the Eric H. Holder Initiative for Civil & Political Rights at Columbia University
Panelists: Center Executive Director Vincent Southerland; ReNika Moore, director of the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program; Michael Pinard, professor at University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law;, and Christina Swarms, president and Attorney-in-Charge of the Office of the Appellate Defender

November 4, 2019
The Anatomy of Race and Inequality: Race and an Exclusionary American Democracy
Moderator: Center Executive Director Vincent Southerland
Panelists: Khaled Beydoun, professor at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law; Atiba Ellis, professor at Marquette University Law School; Ryan Haygood, president and CEO of the New Jersey Institute of Social Justice; Danielle Lang, co-director of Voting Rights and Redistricting at Campaign Legal Center; and Myrna Perez, director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Voting Rights and Elections Program

October 28, 2019
The Anatomy of Racism and Inequality: The United States: Separate and Unequal
A three part series co-sponsored with the NYU Law Review
Focus: Racial inequality in education, housing, democracy, and the criminal legal system
Panelists: Richard R. Buery, chief of policy and public affairs of the KIPP Foundation; Dennis D. Parker, executive director of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice; Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children; Phil Tegeler, president and executive director of the Poverty and Race Research Action Council; executive director of the Center; and Christina Swarns, attorney-in-charge, Office of the Appellate Defender

April 16, 2019
Perspectives on Abolition: Moving Past the Incarceration Paradigm
A conversation on local efforts to drive criminal justice reform in New York State
Participants: Deirdre von Dornum, attorney-in-charge at Federal Defenders of the Eastern District of New York; Nicole Triplett, policy counsel at the New York Civil Liberties Union; Kumar Rao, senior counsel at the Center for Popular Democracy; and the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law’s Executive Director, Vincent Southerland

October 3, 2018
From Anita Hill to Christine Blasey Ford: Looking Back and Looking Forward
Discussion co-sponsored with NYU Law's Birnbaum Women's Leadership Network and NYU Law's Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

April 12, 2018
Lecturer: Harvard social psychologist Mahzarin Banaji, co-founder of the online Implicit Association Test and progenitor of implicit bias research. She discussed the "blind spots" in our minds, the automatic associations and stereotypes of social groups, and the ways that implicit biases influence some of our most important decisions. This event was part of the Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging speaker series, and was co-sponsored by the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law

Book Talks and Film Screenings

November 5, 2018
Film Screening: Monsters and Men
Co-sponsored with NYU’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), and NYU’s Strategies to Reduce Inequality (SRI) initiative
Panelists: The film’s director, Reinaldo Marcus Green; Dr. Michael A. Lindsey, executive director of the McSilver Institute; Jerika Richardson, senior advisor and secretary to the Board at the NYC  Civilian Complaint Review Board; Harry Siegel, senior editor at the Daily Beast, columnist at the New York Daily News, and co-host of FAQ NYC; and the Center’s executive director, Vincent Southerland

September 14, 2017
Screening of "I Am Not Your Negro"
A Conversation on Race in America
Panelists: Lurie Daniel Favors '05, general counsel of the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, Khary Lazarre-White, executive director and co-founder of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol, and Dr. Joshua Bennett, critically acclaimed poet and scholar