Social Justice

Abbe Smith

Scott K. Ginsburg Professor of Law at Georgetown Law and director of the Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic

Abbe Smith, noted criminal defense attorney and professor of law at Georgetown University, discussed her new book, Guilty People. WashU Law professor and director of the Appellate Clinic, Daniel Harawa, served as commentator. The event was moderated by WashULaw Professor Karen Tokarz. The …
A brief rundown of Adam Foss’s early years shows a trajectory that aligns with his choices as an adult: Born in Columbia and adopted by an Irish-American family from Massachusetts; experienced childhood as one of color in a small town; arrested at age 19 for marijuana possession but got off …
“All of us here, all of us anywhere, can really separate ourselves into two groups: those who find ourselves in a position of needing help, and those of us so fortunate we can help others. We have no less a mandate to help others, it’s an investment in human beings.”
Social entrepreneur Bob Harris discussed his work at an April 10, 2014 presentation called "The International Bank of Bob." The talk was based on his book of the same name, and was held in Simon Hall May Auditorium.
Brittany Packnett
On October 24, 2019 WashU alumna, activist and educator Brittany Packnett joined organizer and strategist Kayla Reed for a conversation about the power to lead, confidence and inclusivity.
Christine van den Wyngaert
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court (ICC). Located in The Hague, The Netherlands, it is an independent judicial body with jurisdiction over persons charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, and war …
Claudia Rankine’s book of prose poetry, Citizen: An American Lyric, is about as timely a study on what it means to be an African American living in a white world can be. On Monday, Sept. 21, Rankine, author of Washington University's First Year Reading Selection, Citizen: An American Lyric, will discuss her work and read passages from her book at 7 p.m. in Graham Chapel.
Crystal Feimster
The historian Crystal Feimster will deliver the annual Holocaust Memorial Lecture.
Danielle Allen

James Bryant Conant University Professor,Harvard University

Distinguished political theorist, Danielle Allen, gave a presentation that challenged common assumptions about both the founding of the United States and the implications of the Declaration of Independence.She offered recommendations on how we are to move forward towards a society with …
The 2014 Holocaust Memorial Lecturer, David Shneer, delivered a presentation called "Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War and the Holocaust," on November 4 in Wilson Hall Room 214. Shneer used photography as a new way of considering issues of Russian Jewish history, Yiddish culture, the diaspora, and the Holocaust.
"Part of the reason for having a strong defense team is to make sure that prosecutors and police follow the rules and don't cut corners, and that's something that goes beyond any individual case to benefit the system as a whole." -- Dean Strang, defense attorney, "Making a Murderer"
Eddie Glaude

James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of African American Studies,Princeton University & frequent MSNBC contributor

Eddie Glaude, theJames S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and frequent MSNBC contributor, offered reflections on difficult truths about race and the moral crisis at the heart of American democracy. Professor Glaude’s presentation …
Pioneering urban ethnographer and cultural theorist Elijah Anderson is the William K. Lanman Jr. Professor of Sociology at Yale University, where he also directs the Urban Ethnography Project. He is one of the nation’s most influential scholars in the field of urban inequality, cultural …
john paul stevens spring 2016
Stevens objected to the court's ruling in the 2000 election-deciding case of Bush v. Gore. The court overturned the Florida Supreme Court's decision to order a recount of all of the state's ballots. Joined by David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, Stevens wrote that, "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law. I respectfully dissent."
Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, Rev. Dr. Zandra Wagoner, Rev. Traci Blackmon, J.T. Snipes
This Interfaith Week discussion featured Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, Rev. Traci Blackmon, Rev. Zandra Wagoner and J.T. Snipes. It focused on opportunities and challenges associated with interfaith organizing and anti-racism strategies on university campuses, in local communities, and the world.
Throughout her long tenure in the Jackson County prosecutor’s office, Baker has served in nearly every unit. In 2012 she was elected as its leader. Baker is known as a fearless and compassionate advocate for the victims of crime, especially the young and most vulnerable, and for partnering …
juana rodriguez
In this talk, noted scholar Juana Maria Rodriguez will explore how documenting the lives of elderly sex workers in Mexico City can affect how others subjectively interpret their life stories, and how combining visual documentation with biographical narratives can alter the interpretative process. Her lecture, "The Women of Casa Xochiquetzal: Corporeal Encounters, Queer Feelings," is presented by Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in Arts & Sciences.
Julian Bond was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement and activist for social equality and liberty for all people. On (insert date) 2011, he delivered his lecture “Post Racial America: Fact or Fiction.”
Karine Jean Pierre

NBC News and MSNBC political analyst

The Nov. 10, 2019 finale of the Blacks in America: 400 Years Plus trilogy, featured Karine Jean-Pierre, NBC and MSNBC Political Analyst.
Gardner was elected St. Louis Circuit Attorney in 2017, after serving as a Missouri House Representative from the 77th District. She received national attention last year for her role in pursuing the investigation into alleged unlawful activities by Missouri governor Eric Greitens, leading …
Kristin Henning

Author and Blume Professor of Law and director, Juvenile Justice Clinic & Initiative, Georgetown Law

Georgetown Law Professor Kristin Henning joined Daniel Harawa (WashU Law) to discuss her new book, Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth. This event was sponsored by Washington University School of Law Public Interest Law & Policy Speaker Series, Department of African …
LeVar Burton of "Roots" and "Reading Rainbow" fame talked about “The Power of Storytelling” in Graham Chapel for the Assn. of Black Students' annual Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration.
“Having undergone experiences so bizarre, crushing, ugly, they couldn’t be included in the film “Roots,” they would have burned holes through the foil in the television. Today, we are upwards of 30 million. How have we survived? I suggest the literature. I believe it’s available to all of us to encourage us to survive…and to thrive…and to thrive with some passion, compassion, humor and style.”
Melvin Oliver’s long and distinguished career has been devoted to understanding and addressing the complex factors that contribute to deep racial disparities in wealth. On Wednesday, Sept. 16, he will give a talk on “Income and Wealth Inequality.” The lecture will be held at 4:30 p.m. in Anheuser-Busch Hall, Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom.
Michael Bornstein
He was the little blonde-haired boy in the iconic picture of children being liberated from the Auschwitz concentration camp. He was one of the lucky ones who made it out alive.
Nadine Strossen

John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law, New York Law School

To mark the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year, the Washington University in St. Louis community came together on Monday, August 26, 2019 for‘Reflections,Unity, Social Justice, and Peace.’
Olympia Bekou and Leila Sadat

Professor of Public International Law and Head of School, University of Nottingham

Professor Olympia Bekou discussed how to overcome barriers to justice and achieve accountability in Liberia and beyond. The conversation was moderated by WashU Law Professor Leila Sadat. This event was sponsored by Washington University School of Law Public Interest Law & Policy Speakers …
Inclusive Growth in St. Louis image
This two-part discussion, titled "Creating Inclusive Access to Education, Training & Technology," featured leaders from various sectors addressing how to create more equitable access to education, training and technology in our community. It was part of the Inclusive Growth in St. Louis …
Inclusive Growth in St. Louis image
In a session titled "Inclusive Growth in St. Louis: Embracing Inclusive Leadership," a panel of experts from different sectors discussed strategies to create inclusive and meaningful leadership. Speakers acknowledged exclusive systems and practices that keep under-represented communities from …
"The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that's wrong with the world." This statement from physician and anthropologist Paul Farmer serves as shorthand for the mission statement of Partners In Health (PIH), the organization he helped found three decades ago to advance the …
Ginsburg, associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign also teaches at the Danville Correctional Center, a medium-high security facility operated by the state of Illinois.
Rhonda Magee

Professor of Law,University of San Francisco

Rhonda Magee, Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco, delivered the inaugural lecture of the CRE2 Mindfulness & Anti-Racism series. Her presentation was entitled "'Change ‘ Gon Come: Black Love-Power and The Inner Work of Racial Justice." Magee is an internationally-recognized …
robert sussman
“The anthropological concept of culture is extremely important and often misunderstood because many of the things that are assumed to be biologically determined, like criminality or homosexuality or IQ, are really behaviorally and societally defined.” This quote from Robert W. Sussman, PhD, professor of physical anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University, forms the basis for his Phi Beta Kappa/Sigma Xi Lecture. “The Importance of the Concept of Culture to Science and Society,” part of the university’s Assembly Series, will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, in Steinberg Hall Auditorium.
Sara Ahmed
The feminist writer and scholar Sara Ahmed will deliver this year’s James E. McLeod Memorial Lecture on Higher Education.
Sarah Wagner assembly series
The Bosnian genocide, carried out between 1992 and 1995, displaced nearly a quarter of Bosnia’s pre-war population, with refugees scattered throughout the world. This year's annual Holocaust Memorial Lecture will feature anthropologist Sarah Wagner discussing “Srebrenica’s Legacies of Loss and Remembrance,” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, in Umrath Hall Lounge.
Shon Hopwood
By all accounts, Shon Hopwood was “a good kid from a good Nebraskan family,” but after high school he grew bored. By the age of 22, he had dropped out of college, spent two years in the Navy, then found himself back in his sleepy hometown, drinking and using drugs to help quell the boredom. …
Susan Stokes

Blake Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and faculty director, Chicago Center on Democracy, University of Chicago

Susan Stokes presented a public lecture entitled, "Is 'Direct Democracy' Good for Democracy? The Logic(s) of Referendums." Stokes is the Faculty Chair of the Chicago Center on Democracy, where she guides the strategy and direction of the center. She is the Tiffany and Margaret Blake …
Josephine Baker
On November 30, 2021 St.Louis-born performing artist and civil rights activist Josephine Baker became the first woman of color to be inducted into France’s Pantheon. To mark this occasion, Washington University hosted a special celebration in her honor. Guests included St. Louis mayor Tishaura …
"The green economy should not just be about reclaiming throw-away stuff. It should be about reclaiming thrown-away communities. It should not just be about recycling things to give them a second life. We should also be gathering up people and giving them a second chance." Van Jones
Ferguson Councilman Wesley Bell’s recent upset of Robert McCulloch’s 28-year-run as St. Louis County Prosecutor was a stunning victory for the underdog running on a platform to reform its criminal justice system. This January, Bell became the first African American prosecutor in St. Louis …
AS spring 2017 feldblum
EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum will deliver a keynote address for the Midwest LGBTQ+ Law Conference on Friday, March 3 in Anheuser-Busch Hall Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom. Throughout her long and distinguished career, Feldblum, a lesbian with a disability, fought for the rights of minorities and marginalized citizens, helping draft the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as well as contributing to the original Employment Nondiscrimination Act.
AS spring 2017 sands
Approximately three-quarters of a century ago, it was inconceivable for anyone to think that Germany was not well within its legal right to tell the League of Nations, as Joseph Goebbels did in 1933, that it can “deal as we see fit” with our “opponents,” and in particular, “our Jews.” Inconceivable, because the twin concepts of crimes against humanity and genocide – now considered among the bedrocks of international human rights law -- had yet to be conceived. Join British human rights lawyer Philippe Sands to hear the thrilling story of how this transformation happened at 4:30 pm Thursday, March 30 in Anheuser-Busch Hall’s Bryan Cave Courtroom for his talk which shares its title with Sands' book, “East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity.”
"We have the power to end this cycle and set a model for the rest of the nation. I believe in Ferguson; I believe in St. Louis; and I believe in our ability to pursue a more just region for all of our citizens. We must be the change we wish to see, and we cannot ignore the urgency of now for our community.” So states Brittany Packnett, who, since the tragic death of Michael Brown in 2014, has dedicated herself to achieving her dream of a more just and equitable society. -- Brittany Packnett. Packnett's talk, " Between the World and You: Our Duty to Fight for Freedom," will include commentary by faculty and students.
On April 14, 2015 at 5 p.m. in Umrath Hall Lounge, veteran journalist Carla Power talked about "Reading the Quran at Starbucks: An American Secular Feminist and a Traditional Muslim Scholar Find Commonalities."
On February 18, 2015 at 7 p.m. in Graham Chapel, Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor for The Atlantic and well-known author, spoke on the subject of racism in the United States as part of the Washington University Political Review Lecture.
On February 17, 2015 at 6 p.m. in Graham Chapel, Reza Aslan, delivered the Washington University Foreign Policy Engagement Lecture on faith, extremism and democracy.
On February 3, 2015 at 6 p.m. in the Graham Chapel, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Residential Learning, Jill Stratton moderated a discussion on "Marriage Equality and the GOP" by a panel featuring Meghan McCain, Gregory T. Angelo and Fred Karger.
On January 22, 2015 at 12 p.m. in the Brown Hall Lounge, Xavier de Souza Briggs, vice president of the Ford Foundation's Economic Opportunity and Assets program talked about "Toward a Just and Inclusive America."
On September 30, 2014 scholar and author Patricia Williams gave a talk on "Love in the Time of Identity Wars: Anatomy of Short Lives." This presentation was the first of three Williams delivered as the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities Lecture Series speaker.