Commitment to Racial Justice
Minnesota Law’s Response to the Killing of George Floyd
The University of Minnesota Law School is committed to creating a more just society for our local, national, and international communities. This page is dedicated to providing information and resources about Minnesota Law’s shared sense of responsibility for bringing about justice and change. The lives of our Black students, faculty, staff, and community members matter and we want to use this page to share ideas, provide resources, and give you information that you can use.
Read Dean Jenkins’ response to an open letter from law students about Minnesota Law’s commitment to racial justice.
In his June 1 message to the Minnesota Law community, Dean Garry W. Jenkins wrote:
“Our mission at the University of Minnesota Law School is to educate lawyer-leaders who make a difference to people, organizations, the profession, and the world. I hope you will all stand with me in acknowledging the deep, troubling, and systemic inequities in this country, as well as dedicating ourselves to making the changes necessary to address injustice. Our clinics, which have long-been deeply connected to and in service to our community, will expand its efforts. We also seek to bolster our research and understanding of the problems and potential solutions. I look forward to working collaboratively with our faculty, staff, and students on more and new ideas and initiatives to bring our skills, ideas, knowledge, and resources to bear.”
Where Minnesota Law Stands
- Dean Jenkins and Dean Laura Bloomberg Co-Write Op-Ed in MinnPost About the Path Forward to Justice in Wake of Tragic Killing of George Floyd
- A Message from the Dean: On the Death of Minneapolis Resident George Floyd (May 27, 2020)
- A Message from the Dean: George Floyd and the Fight for Justice (June 1, 2020)
- Black Law Student Association (BLSA) Statement to the Law School Community on Justice for George Floyd
- In a guest post for Law Professor’s Blog, Amanda Lyons, executive director of University of Minnesota Human Rights Center, reflects on the murder of George Floyd and the fight for change in the future, one that puts human rights and dignity at the forefront. Read Amanda’s post here.
Announcing the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in Law
The endowed scholarship will provide critical financial support, allowing underrepresented students, and Black or African-American students in particular, to pursue careers in the law and achieve their dreams.
“Mr. Floyd’s killing was a tragic reminder of the inequity and injustice facing Black Americans today, despite the decades that have passed since the civil rights movement,” McCurdy and Laud observe in their statement announcing the establishment of the scholarship. They expressed a hope that recipients of this scholarship will join the legal profession and join Minnesota Law alumni in advocating for racial justice and equality. Read more and support the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in Law.
New from the Law Library: Racial Justice: Upcoming Exhibit and New Law Library Guide
The Riesenfeld Rare Books Research Center will open a new fall exhibit, Law and the Struggle for Racial Justice, on September 8th. Students may tour the exhibit individually by appointment. A digital version of the exhibit will be released in September, which will allow for wider access. For a preview of two items featured in the exhibit, see the Center’s recent blog posts on the Sweet murder trials and the 1935 Harlem riot. Please contact Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections, at email@example.com for more information or to arrange a visit to the exhibit.
Vic Garces, Reference Administration & Web Services Librarian, has published a new Library guide, Law Enforcement and Racial Justice, which brings together a variety of resources for researching issues related to policing and racial injustice.
Minnesota Law in the News
When Professor Perry Moriearty put a call out for Minnesota Law students and recent graduates to help individuals arrested protesting the tragic killing of George Floyd, she had no idea that, only four hours later, she’d have 100-plus volunteers register for training.
“It was incredible,” said Prof. Moriearty, who had asked only a handful of students to get the word out.
The hour-long virtual training session prepared students to staff a legal support hotline run by the Legal Rights Center (LRC) and the National Lawyers Guild’s Minnesota Chapter. The hotline helps protesters who were arrested and their families get the legal and emotional support they need. Read the full story online in Minnesota Law Magazine.
Ian Taylor Jr. ’19 on ‘Breathless,’ His Legal Podcast on the George Floyd Murder Case
After the tragic killing of George Floyd and resulting civil unrest, Ian Taylor Jr. ’19 felt a need to contribute to the moment in a constructive way. Observing the public confusion and misunderstanding surrounding the legal proceedings against the four police officers, he launched his podcast, “Breathless,” which provides thoughtful and easy-to-follow legal analysis of the case “layered with a jazzy, hip hop sound.” Taylor’s producer is former classmate Haaris Pasha ’19, whose technical savvy and rhythmic stylings give the program a polished feel. So far, “Breathless” has five episodes (ranging from 12 to 21 minutes in length) that explicate the case, profile the personalities involved, and delve into the larger societal context. Taylor recently answered a few questions about his informative and engaging legal podcast. Read a Q & A with Ian Taylor.
Rising 3L Kristin Trapp and Colleague Raise Thousands for the Innocence Project in Honor of Juneteenth
Kristin Trapp, 3L, partnered with University of Louisville alumni Lauren North, to fundraise for the Innocence Project in honor of Juneteenth and to promote Black Lives Matter. The Facebook fundraiser’s initial goal was $150. As of now, they have raised more than $41,000.
Trapp recently answered a few questions about the duo’s motivations behind starting the fundraiser and her reactions to its success. Read the Q & A with Kristin Trapp.
- Rising 3L Rachel Wydra Leads Grassroots Effort to Promote Police Transparency in Her Hometown
- Prof. Frase Quoted in Newsweek Article Examining Potential Legal Arguments in Case Brought Against Four Former Police Officers Charged in the Tragic Killing of George Floyd
- Prof. Orfield Quoted in Time Magazine About Increased Segregation in Housing and Schools and Its Impact on Social Unrest
- Prof. Borgida Quoted in Popular Science Article on Police Training and Implicit Racial Bias
- Prof. Carol Chomsky recently co-authored a piece with three law professors in Bloomberg Law, called “INSIGHT: Lawyers Justice Corps—Public Service in a Time of Crisis”
- Prof. Rozenshtein Quoted in the Star Tribune About Drone Surveillance of Protests
- Prof. Orfield and Research Fellow Stancil Pen Op-Ed in New York Times on Tragic Killing of George Floyd and Racial Segregation in Twin Cities
- Profs. Blumenthal and Frase Quoted in NBC News on Upgraded Charges for Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the Killing of George Floyd
- Prof. Frase Interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight Regarding Upgraded Charges Against Former Minneapolis Police Officer in Connection with the Killing of George Floyd
- Prof. Frase Quoted in New York Times Regarding Legal Basis for Third-Degree Murder Charge Brought Against Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the Tragic Killing of George Floyd
- Review: The University of Minnesota Libraries Mapping Prejudice Project
- Read: A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota
- Participate in One Book, One Minnesota through the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library
- Watch: Jim Crow of the North on TPT’s “Minnesota Experience”
- Read: The University of Minnesota Press is making a collection of books exploring racial justice free to read online through August 31. Reading for Racial Justice includes work by authors Carolyn Holbrook, Shannon Gibney, Kao Kalia Yang William D. Green, and many more.