Part IV (2023-2024)
PANEL 1- Do Memory Battles About Contemporary and Historical Racial Injustice in the U.S. Undermine the Right to Truth?
October 19th, 2023 - 12:00 P.M. to 1:30 P.M. Eastern Time - Register Here
This panel explores how local and state efforts to ban books, to forbid education about racism including through critical race theory, as well as to limit the discoverability of online information undermine the right to truth and a full accounting of racial violence both as a historical fact and of contemporary realities. Panelists will explore how this strategic attack signifies a key battle in either promoting or marginalizing a robust memory in the telling of the “American story.” The panel will ask how the outcome of this struggle for memory may shape a national narrative that justifies, or not, reparations and other forms of justice. A comparative look will share how such struggles for memory constitute a critical step in advancing the quest for a true reckoning of past wrongs.
Co-organizers: Center for International Law and Policy at New England Law | Boston, The Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA | School Of Law, and Memria.Org.
Louis Bickford - Co-Founder, Biografika, and CEO/Founder, Memria.org
Karlos K. Hill
- Regents’ Associate Professor in the Clara Luper Department of African and African American Studies at the University of Oklahoma
- Director of the Warren Educational Policies Program, Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide
Transitional Justice in the USA Speakers Series Playlist: All Panels
Part I (2020-2021)
PANEL 1 (INAUGURAL PANEL) - COMPARATIVE LESSONS: WHAT IS TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE AND HOW HAS IT WORKED IN OTHER COUNTRIES?
Our inaugural panel, held on Tuesday, February 23rd, launched our ongoing TJ in the USA Speakers Series. This event started the conversation surrounding if and how the TJ model might work in the United States, and whether or not international experiences should be relevant to local U.S. initiatives calling for truth, reparations and justice.
Sally Avery Bermanzohn - Professor Emerita, Brooklyn College, CUNY & participant in the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Igor Cvetkovski - Senior Advisor on Reparations to the Global Survivors Fund
Eduardo Gonzalez - Research Affiliate, Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation, former member of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Pablo de Greiff - Director of the Transitional Justice Program and the Prevention Project at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law & Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation, and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence
Sarah Kasande - Head of Office, International Center for Transitional Justice in Uganda
Yasmin Sooka – Former member of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission & Sierra Leone
WATCH THE RECORDING
PANEL 2 - HOW DO WE BUILD COLLABORATIVE MODELS FOR A TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE PROCESS?
This panel explores how human rights and academic institutions, and their affiliates, can best support an existing grassroots network of racial justice advocates working on themes related to Transitional Justice in the United States in ways that do not replicate the same predominant power structures these movements seek to dismantle.
Ashley Quarcoo - Senior Fellow, Democracy, Conflict and Governance Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace & Visiting Fellow, SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins
Dr. David Ragland - Co-founder & Co-Executive Director of the Truth Telling Project and the Director of the Grassroots Reparations Campaign
Jodie Geddes - Healing Circles Manager, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY) and Co-manager, Coming to the Table
Professor Jennifer Llewellyn - Yogis and Keddy Chair in Human Rights Law, Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, Canada
Christine Diindiisi McCleave - Chief Executive Officer, National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition
WATCH THE RECORDING
Part II (2021-2022)
Panel 1 - How do we honor indigenous ways of knowing in the quest for truth, justice and healing for American Indian boarding schools?
This panel will focus on past and recent truth initiatives on the forced assimilation of Native children through boarding schools and the child welfare system. Indigenous leaders will reflect on the experience of the Maine Wabanaki-Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Federal bill to create a national truth commission and the official investigations launched by the Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland this past summer, upon the revelation of mass graves located at boarding schools. The panel will explore how to open the way to transformative justice, overcoming standardized or colonized transitional justice models. The panel is convened in recognition of Native American Heritage Month.
Professor Cheryl Suzack (Batchewana First Nations), Associate Professor at the Department of English and Aboriginal Studies Program, Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto
Christine Diindiisi McCleave, Chief Executive Officer, National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition
Sandy White Hawk, former Commissioner for the Maine Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission & founder and Director of First Nations Repatriation (FNRI)
Brenda Gunn, Academic and Research Director from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada and Professor, University of Manitoba, Faculty of Law
Panel 2 - Does Criminal Punishment of Police Contribute or Distract from Societal Reckonings with Racism?
While many celebrated Derek Chauvin’s conviction for the murder of George Floyd as a sign of progress, others worried that it would distract from the systemic change needed to combat racism in policing and put the focus instead on a few “bad apples.” Such considerations about criminal punishment are familiar to transitional justice scholars and activists who have long debated the appropriate aim and reach of criminal accountability in transitioning societies. On one hand, some have argued there is a duty to prosecute all involved in mass atrocity, while on the other hand critics have been concerned that criminal punishment reinforces an individualized and decontextualized understanding of harms and diminishes the likelihood of more profound transformation.
This panel will contextualize these debates by centering the role of police accountability in the much needed racial reckoning in the United States and discussing both the potential benefits and limitations of prosecuting police for racial violence. In particular, the panel will explore whether criminal accountability has lived up to its promise in other transitioning contexts and what lessons we can learn from those examples that might be applicable in the United States.
Rachel Lopez - Associate Professor of Law, Drexel University, Thomas R. Kline School of Law
Roxanna Altholz - Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Director, International Human Rights Law Clinic, Berkeley Law School
Nikki Grant - Policy Director and Co-Founder, Amistad Law Project
Darryl Heller - Director of the IU South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center and Assistant Professor of Women's and Gender Studies, Indiana University South Bend
Helen Mack Chang - President and Founder, Myrna Mack Foundation
Co-organized by the Center for International Law and Policy at New England Law | Boston, the International Human Rights Section of the Association of American Law Schools, and the Transitional Justice and Rule of Law Interest Group of the American Society of International Law.
Part III (2022- 2023)
PANEL 1- IS TENDING TO THE MENTAL HEALTH OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS AS GOOD FOR THE CAUSE AS IT IS FOR THE CRUSADER?
This panel explores the importance of focusing on mental health strategies to build resilience of human rights defenders engaged in racial justice work in the U.S. and assure the vitality and success of social transformation movements. More often transitional justice processes take a backward-looking focus on how to heal the trauma of survivors but overlook the need to tend to the mental well-being of the survivor-activists seeking justice. This oversight leads to burn-out, depression and other mental health challenges that weaken the crusade for truth, reparations and justice. Drawing from national and international experiences, the speakers will share the wide range of community-driven strategies used to support and build resilience of local human rights defenders.
Co-organizers: Center for International Law and Policy at New England Law | Boston, International Center for MultiGenerational Legacies of Trauma, and Mindbridge.
Laura Ligouri - Founder and Executive Director of Mindbridge
Teiahsha Bankhead, Ph.D., LCSW - Executive Director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY)
Donivan Brown - Founder and Director of the Horton-Keller Center for Traumatic Healing
Dr. Yael Danieli - clinical psychologist, victimologist, pioneer traumatologist founded the International Center for the Study, Treatment and Prevention of Multigenerational Legacies of Trauma (ICMGLT)
Sheryl Evans Davis - Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission
Laura Ligouri - Executive Director and Founder of Mindbridge
PANEL 2- HOW CAN THE U.S. BUILD A TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE PROCESS THAT RECKONS WITH CORPORATE COMPLICITY IN AND PERPETUATION OF RACIAL INJUSTICE AND VIOLENCE?
As is true in other nations, efforts in the United States to push for racial reckoning rarely focus on the role of the private sector despite the role of companies in historical episodes of racial exploitation and atrocity, which left a legacy that continues to benefit corporations today. This panel explores this theme by discussing how private industry in the U.S. was built on the labor of enslaved Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, which today continues through mass incarceration and prison labor which often amounts to forced labor. The speakers will examine how this contemporary problem arises out of a failure to recognize and interrogate the role played by the private sector to perpetuate racial exploitation and atrocity dating back to the founding of the nation and its economic model. Speakers will offer comparative and recent international efforts to implement robust transitional justice mechanisms to include economic actors complicit in human rights violations to explore the role businesses must play in the U.S. process, including strategies to hold corporations accountable.
Co-organizers: Center for International Law and Policy at New England Law | Boston, The Corporate Accountability Lab and the Tanner Humanities Center at The University of Utah.
Avery Kelly-Staff Attorney at Corporate Accountability Lab (CAL), where she works with affected communities and social justice lawyers to seek justice for human rights abuses committed by multinational companies.
Tatiana Devia-Staff Attorney at Corporate Accountability Lab (CAL) where she leads CAL's Transitional Justice work
Daniel Rosen-Writer and justice reform advocate who was incarcerated in both Virginia and Washington, D.C. from 2015 to 2021. Prior to incarceration, Daniel spent almost twenty years in public service, in both the non-profit and governmental sectors.
Anita Sinha-Associate Professor of Law and the Director of the International Human Rights Law Clinic (IHRLC)
Lydia Wright - Associate Director of Civil Litigation at the Promise of Justice Initiative