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Addressing Racism in the Legal System and Our Community

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The motto of Fordham Law is “In the Service of Others.” We are committed to addressing racial injustice while responding to the needs of directly impacted individuals. Through our Public Interest Resource Center, we have 22 student-led pro bono projects dedicated to advancing social justice. Our prominent centers and institutes, many of which focus on issues relating to racial justice, include the Center on Race, Law and Justice, already a national leader in the field. These initiatives provide faculty, students, and alumni with a wide range of growing opportunities to actively engage in the struggle for racial justice. While racism intersects with all of our ongoing public service work, there is an urgent need to expand our work to specifically address racism in policing and the criminal justice system.



Action Items and Status


Implemented

Augment Race and Justice Programming
Launched a webinar series in June through The Center on Race, Law and Justice and the Leitner Center that attracted hundreds of participants to discuss critical contemporary issues of race and law. Recent programs include: 

The series is continuing throughout the year. Learn more.

Pursue Economic Justice Work Through the Feerick Center
Help lead advocacy efforts in New York City and New York State via the Feerick Center for Social Justice. Work with court officials to promote equitable policies and practices related to consumer debt collection cases in light of COVID-19 and its disproportionate impact on communities of color.

Focus on Racial Justice Via Public Interest Resource Center (PIRC) Student Groups
Focus on anti-racism work via our vibrant student-run student groups/pro bono projects. This summer, PIRC Student Leaders committed to an added focus on, and commitment to, racial justice. As part of Public Service Day during 1L Orientation, our Domestic Violence Action Center organized a project focused on advocacy for Black women experiencing domestic violence. Our Fordham National Lawyers Guild is continuing its Critical Race Theory programs on the 1L curriculum. As we move forward, there is an emphasis on the continual need to fight for racial justice in all of the pro bono work we do.

Advocate for Economic Empowerment Through Fordham Law’s Clinics
Foster collaboration between the Community Economic Development Clinic students and Law for Black Lives (L4BL), the legal arm of Movement for Black Lives, and other partner organizations, like National Black Food and Justice Alliance (NBFJA). Among NBFJA’s many initiatives is promoting and supporting Black land ownership (primarily in the South), a crucial aspect of Black empowerment, as property ownership is deeply connected to American criteria for financial stability and independence. 
 


In Progress

Support and Grow the Center on Race, Law and Justice
Made a commitment to supporting and growing the Center on Race, Law and Justice. In October 2020 Microsoft announced its donation of $390,000 to support the center’s efforts around policing and technology.

Pursue Feerick Center for Social Justice’s Educational Equity Work
Engage in advocacy via the Feerick Center for Social Justice to address the structural causes of New York City’s racial segregation in its public schools. The Center’s focus is on high school admissions, which affects 80,000 school children a year. The Center issued two reports in the last year, most recently in May in light of the impact of COVID on the application process:

Support the Enhanced Programming from the Alumni Attorneys of Color
Support efforts to build and strengthen the organization and augment programming to better serve alumni of color. 

Partner with Law Firms to Provide a Pipeline of Candidates Who are Historically Underrepresented in the Law for Internships and Employment Opportunities
Ensure students who are historically underrepresented in the law are accessing and obtaining opportunities for employment in law firms with the goal of diversifying the profession.