leitner center events, Black Lives Matter: Racism in America & its Implications for Africa

Black Lives Matter: Racism in America & its Implications for Africa
June 29, 2020 12:00PM - 1:30PM
Location: Zoom
Contact: LeitnerCenter@law.fordham.edu

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Professor Gay McDougall is a distinguished scholar in residence at Leitner Center for International Law and Justice and the Center on Race, Law and Justice at Fordham University School of Law. Gay McDougall was a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Award for her work in pursuit of global human rights and in 2015 the Government of South Africa bestowed on her their national medal of honor for non-citizens, the Order of O.R.Tambo Medal for her extraordinary contributions to ending apartheid. She served as a member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination and was the first UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues. For 14 years, she was executive director of Global Rights, which worked with human rights advocates in 10 countries around the world to develop their strategies for justice. Prior to that she played a special role in securing the release of thousands of political prisoners in South Africa and Namibia. She was then appointed to the electoral commission that in 1994 ran the first democratic elections in South Africa that ended apartheid and installed Nelson Mandela as president. She earned a JD at Yale Law School, an LLM in public international law at the London School of Economics and Politics, and a BA in social science at Bennington College.  She has honorary Doctor of Law degrees from six universities including the University to Witwatersrand (South Africa).

Professor Bennett Capers is the Stanley A. August Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, where he teaches Evidence, Criminal Procedure, and Criminal Law. His academic interests include the relationship between race, gender, technology, and criminal justice, and he is a prolific writer on these topics. His articles and essays have been published or are forthcoming in the California Law Review (twice)Columbia Law ReviewCornell Law ReviewFordham Law Review, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review (twice), New York University Law Review, North Carolina Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Michigan Law Review, and UCLA Law Review, among others, and he is co-editing the forthcoming book Critical Race Judgments: Rewritten U.S. Court Opinions on Race and Law (Cambridge University Press) (with Devon Carbado, Robin Lenhardt, and Angela Onwuachi-Willig).  His commentary and op-eds have appeared in the New York Times and other journals.  He has been a visiting professor at Fordham Law School, University of Texas Law School, and Boston University Law School.

Justice Willy Mutunga served as Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya from 2011 to 2016. After his tenure as Chief Justice, he served as the Common Wealth Secretary General’s special envoy for the Maldives until 2017.  Justice Mutunga also previously served as a lecturer in the University of Nairobi’s Faculty of Law. There, the Justice was Secretary-General of the University Staff Union from April 1979 until July 1980, when the union was banned and he was detained for 16 months for his activism and work with the Legal Advice Centre in Nairobi. Justice Mutunga’s significant contributions to social justice initiatives in Kenya and extensive scholarship on human rights, law, and good governance have earned him several national and international honors including the Elder of the Golden Heart for his distinguished service to the nation and for his role in leading reforms in the Judiciary under the new Constitution (2010) and the Lifetime Achievement Award for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights from the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (2003).  Among his many works are The Rights of Arrested and Accused Persons (1990), Constitution Making from the Middle: Civil Society and Transition Politics in Kenya, 1992-1997 (1999), and Governance and Leadership: Debating the African Condition: Mazrui and His CriticVol. 1 and 2 (2003) with Alamin M. Mazruialong with numerous articles and essays on human rights, law, and society.  In addition to his legal work, Justice Mutunga has also engaged extensively with civil society and activist organizations including the Legal Advice Centre, the Law Society of Kenya, the Kenya Human Rights Commission, and the Citizens Coalition for Constitutional Change. Justice Mutunga received his Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws degrees from the University of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, and received a Doctorate Degree in Jurisprudence from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto.

Professor Sheila Foster  is a Professor of Law and Public Policy (joint appointment with the McCourt School). Prior to joining Georgetown, she was a University Professor and the Albert A. Walsh Professor of Real Estate, Land Use and Property Law at Fordham University. She also co-directed the Fordham Urban Law Center and was a founder of the Fordham University Urban Consortium. She served as Associate Dean and then Vice Dean at Fordham Law School from 2008-2014. Prior to joining Fordham, she was a Professor of Law at the Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey. Professor Foster writes in the areas of environmental law and justice, urban land use law and policy, and state and local government. Her most recent work explores questions of urban law and governance through the lens of the “commons” exemplified by her article The City as a Commons, Yale Law and Policy Review (2016) and forthcoming MIT Press Book, The Co-City.Professor Foster has been involved on many levels with urban policy. She currently is the chair of the advisory committee of the Global Parliament of Mayors, a member of the Aspen Institute’s Urban Innovation Working Group, an advisory board member of the Marron Institute for Urban Management at NYU, and sits on the New York City Panel on Climate Change. As co-director with Christian Iaione of the Laboratory for the Governance of the Commons (LabGov), she is currently engaged in the “Co-Cities Project,” an applied research project on public policies and local projects from over 100 cities around the world.


Dean Kofi Abotsi the Dean of the  Faculty of Law at University of Professional Studies, Accra. He was preciously dean of the Faculty of Law at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA). Mr. Abotsi also maintains a legal practice and has a wealth of experience in advising clients especially in corporate law and governance. He is a Partner at Axis Legal and has over thirteen years standing at the Bar. He has during his years of practice provided extensive advisory services to diverse clients including the Judiciary, Attorney-General’s Department, IGOs, corporate institutions, among others. Mr. Abotsi holds an LL.B degree from the University of Ghana, Legon, a BL from the Ghana School of Law and an LL.M from Harvard Law School, Cambridge Massachusetts, USA. He holds significant publications to his credit in leading peer review journals and has covered extensive fields in the law such as constitutional and comparative law, development law, International Human Rights law and customary law reform. He also has a rich experience in criminal justice administration especially in the area of police capacity building and legal sector reform projects. Mr. Abotsi also has a rich international experience as he has and continues to visit a number of international universities in Africa and the United States on academic exchange and other intellectual engagements.

Previous events in the Black Lives Matter Series:

Black Lives Matter: Protest, Police Violence , and the Pandemic

Black Live Matter and the Criminal (In)Justice System: A Conversation with the Bench 

Lectures and Panels

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Leitner Center for International Law and Justice
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