Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation

Minnesota Law’s Annual MLK Convocation

In 2016, the University of Minnesota Law School and its Diversity Committee launched the first Annual MLK Convocation in an effort to bring all members of the Law School community together to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and reflect on the continued relevance of his work in our legal community. 

5th Annual MLK Convocation

Our 5th Annual MLK Convocation—featuring the Hon. Alan C. Page ’78—will be held on February 11, 2020 at the Law School. Learn more about and RSVP for this exciting upcoming event.

2019: Conscious Justice in a Fake News Era

A Reflection on MLK’s Sermon “Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution”

4th Annual Minnesota Law MLK Convocation — Conscious Justice in a Fake News Era

The University of Minnesota Law School community was invited to attend the 4th Annual MLK Convocation featuring Minnesota Law alumna, author, and CNN Legal Analyst Laura Coates ’05, in conversation with 2L Diversity Committee Member Eduardo Castro. Dean Garry W. Jenkins welcomed the audience and noted, “Bigotry and hate remain persistent problems in our nation and in our politics. In my view, these are not the parts of America that inspire us. I mark these challenges not as a lament but rather, as a challenge, a call to action.” Ms. Coates then began her speech by reading an excerpt of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1968 address at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

Read the article about the 4th Annual MLK Convocation.

2018: Facing North

Implicit Bias in Minnesota Courts

3rd Annual MLK Convocation | Facing North: Implicit Bias in Minnesota Courts

The 3rd Annual MLK Convocation featured a discussion between The Honorable Pamela G. Alexander ’77, Judge of the 4th District Court of Minnesota, and Professor Francis X. Shen, executive director of education and outreach for the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience. The discussion was moderated by Dean Garry W. Jenkins, William S. Pattee Professor of Law. In his introduction, Dean Jenkins noted that Dr. King addressed the topic in a 1964 interview. Northerners, King said, are “devoted to an abstract principle of cordial interracial relations … but the truth is that deep prejudices and discrimination exist in subtle and covert disguises.”

Read the article about the 3rd Annual MLK Convocation.

2017: Where Do We Go From Here?

Law and Leadership in a Fractured Era

2nd Annual MLK Convocation: "Where Do We Go From Here?": Law and Leadership in a Fractured Era

The 2nd Annual MLK Convocation featured a discussion on Dr. King’s book Where Do We Go From Here, as it applies to our current times. The conversation took place between Dean Garry Jenkins, Senior Judge Michael Davis, ‘72, of the U.S. District Court of Minnesota, and Judge Nicole Starr, ‘03, of Minnesota’s Second Judicial District. Dean Jenkins began the discussion by noting that systemic and implicit bias continue to exist in the United States, as do racial inequities in the criminal justice system. He then asked the panelists to address the topic of law and leadership. 

Read the article about the 2nd Annual MLK Convocation.

2016: Echoes of Birmingham

Echoes of Birmingham: Dr. King's Legacy in Today's Minnesota

The inaugural MLK Convocation was lead by Judge Mark Kappelhoff, a former Minnesota Law professor and former deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Judge Kappelhoff began the discussion of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” and was joined by former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page ’78, and Tracie Keesee, project director of the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. Former University of Minnesota Law School Dean David Wippman moderated the discussion.

Read the article about the inaugural MLK Convocation.

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