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13th annual Public Interest Week: “Reframing the Nation: Working Towards Racial Justice”

February 01, 2021

The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School’s 13th annual Public Interest Week runs from February 1 to February 5.

This annual celebration of service immerses the Law School in events that focus on critical issues of justice and exceptional examples of advocacy for the greater good. This year’s theme, Reframing the Nation: Working Towards Racial Justice, revisits the origins of America as the nation collectively reexamines its legacy of racial injustice. The week’s events are designed to consider how we can reframe America, its legacy of racial injustice, and how we collectively move towards a more racially just world.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all events are virtual.

Each year the Law School invites a noted practitioner working in the public interest arena to serve as Honorary Fellow in Residence. In 2021, Benjamin Jealous, president of People For the American Way and People For the American Way Foundation, will serve as Honorary Fellow in Residence. Jealous served as the president and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 2008 to 2013.

“A Conversation with Honorary Fellow in Residence Benjamin Jealous” will be held Wednesday, February 3, and the week also features “Navigating Everyday Racism: A Conversation about Racial Literacy with Dr. Howard Stevenson,” Constance Clayton Professor of Urban Education, Professor of Africana Studies, in the Human Development & Quantitative Methods Division of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.

The week’s discussion topics include “Fast and Loose with Facial Recognition Technology: Modern Tech, Race and Civil Liberties,” “Reverberations: A Conversation on Pardons, Expungements, Overpolicing, and Race,” “Dissecting Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Look at the Attack on the U.S. Capitol,” “White Supremacy, Anthropogenic Climate Change, and What Lawyers Can Do,” “RJ3: The Intersection of Reproductive, Racial, and Restorative Justice,” and “Decolonizing the Stacks.”

On Friday, February 5, the 40th Annual Sparer Symposium will discuss “Reimagining Freedom: Abolition as a Practice.”

The Law School’s Annual Public Interest Week is coordinated by the Toll Public Interest Center (TPIC), which is the hub of public service at Penn Law. TPIC oversees the pro bono program, facilitating a wide array of pro bono and public service opportunities through which students engage in impactful service while honing critical legal skills. TPIC is also home to all of the Law School’s public interest programming, including the Toll Public Service Corps – a group of nearly 70 students who aspire to utilize their legal education to promote social justice.

Read more about Public Interest Week’s events and schedule.