Angela Harris On the Gap Between Racial Disparities and Equal Protection Ideals

February 12, 2015

Professor Angela Harris from U-Cal Davis School of Law spoke at Denver Law on February 12, 2015. She appeared as part of The Equal Protection Initiative, a four-part series designed and put on throughout the spring semester by The Rocky Mountain Collective on Race, Place and Law. Her talk was entitled, “Protecting Privilege: The Equal Protection Clause in the 21st Century.”

“So what,” she asked the audience numbering one hundred, “do we do about the painful tension between all of these racial disparities and the official ideals of the United States as a society in which race shouldn’t matter? Well, we could do nothing and hope that racism goes away by itself. Or we could try to intervene in these disparities, even though they’re no longer the product of a considered and conscious white supremacy.” Her analysis of current Equal Protection clause jurisprudence leads her to conclude that the Court “facilitates us in taking this do nothing but feel good approach” and “simply provides us with the ability to embrace the ideals of Dr. King without having to do the painful work of making them real.” Click here for the entire talk, including introductions and questions.

RPL member Nancy Ehrenreich, Denver Law Professor, is pictured below with Professor Harris. In the second photo, Professor Harris addresses the issue of marriage equality by talking about the case Loving v Virginia (1967). Denver Law Professor Patience Crowder (bottom photo) introduced Professor Harris.

There’s a Lot Happening this Spring

February 06, 2015


Five Thoughts on the Future for Solo and Small Firm Lawyers - Attorney at Work

February 04, 2015

Five Thoughts on the Future for Solo and Small Firm Lawyers - Attorney at Work »

“Analyzing the Law Through a Racial Justice Lens”: Series at Denver Law

February 02, 2015

Denver Law student orgs ACLU and Black Law Students Association (BLSA) presented the first of four lecture/discussions on February 2, 2015. The series is called “Analyzing the Law Through a Racial Justice Lens.” Professor Robin Walker Sterling led the first presentation, “Ferguson Follow-Up.” Forty students and faculty participated.

Coming topics:
“Race, Communication & Mass Media,” with Professors Lisa Graybill and Alexi Freeman, Wednesday, February 18, noon in Room 180.
“Race and Reproductive Rights,” with Professor Nancy Ehrenreich, Wednesday March 4, noon in Room 180.
“Race and Immigration,” Professor César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, Wednesday, March 25, noon in Room 180.
Small group discussions will follow each presentation.

Below, left to right are Denver Law students organizing the series, “Analyzing the Law Through a Racial Justice Lens,” Katie Steefel, Parker Fulton and Shaquille Turner.

The “Equal Protection Initiative” is Underway at Denver Law

January 28, 2015

The Rocky Mountain Collective on Race, Place and Law (RPL) at Denver Law kicked off its Spring 2015 “Equal Protection Initiative” (EPI) with a panel discussion, “Does Equal Protection Law Protect the Privileged?” held the afternoon of January 28. Denver Law Professors Nancy Ehrenreich, Beto Juárez and Tom Romero joined Colorado Law Professor Aya Gruber in a discussion of recent Supreme Court cases on race discrimination. Click here to see the full panel discussion.

The EPI continues throughout the Spring semester:

Thursday, February 12:
Angela Harris, University of California, Davis Law Professor will lecture
Reception at 4:15 (the Forum), Lecture at 5:30 (Room 165)

Tuesday, March 10:
Panel Discussion: Lessons from Amendment 46 (the Colorado anti-affirmative action amendment defeated in 2008)
4:00 pm, Room TBD

Tuesday, April 21:
Angela Onwuachi-Willig, University of Iowa College of Law will lecture
Reception at 4:15 (the Forum), Lecture at 5:30 (Room 165)

Denver Law’s Roberto Corrada is a 2015 Champion of Change at the University of Denver

January 23, 2015

Professor Roberto Corrada received the Outstanding Faculty Advocate Award at the University of Denver 2015 Diversity Summit, a campus-wide event held January 23, 2015. “Roberto Corrada,” the award read, “has devoted his academic career at the University of Denver— more than 24 years—to championing the rights of ethnic and sexual minorities. A distinguished scholar, teacher, and community advocate, he has been recognized for his impressive contributions to legal scholarship, innovative work in the classroom, and leadership in service to local and national communities and professional organizations. His expertise in these areas was invaluable to the work of the committee on the Status of Faculty and Staff of Color at DU. In co-chairing the committee, Roberto brought a national perspective regarding best practices of inclusion, equity and employment matters that could position DU to be a leader in building an inclusive workforce and welcoming professional community. He is a wonderful example of a Champion of Change!” Below, DU Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Gregg Kvistad presents the 2015 Champion of Change Award to Professor Corrada.


DU Chancellor Chopp: “Creating a diverse and inclusive community [is] critical….”

January 19, 2015

In her “Chancellor’s Statement on Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Excellence,” released this month, Rebecca Chopp stated, “As the University of Denver prepares to meet the exciting challenges of the growing, thriving and remarkably diverse city in which we live as well as the needs of a changing nation, we will continue to be guided by the principles of Inclusive Excellence. We must continue to strive for an inclusive community that embraces all its members, provides equality of opportunity for all and actively encourages all voices to be heard.” Read the full text of the Statement here.

The Library will be closed on Monday, January 19

January 15, 2015

The library will be closed on Monday, January 19, 2015 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Spring Registration Open for Legal Research Certificate

January 13, 2015

Registration for the Certificate in Advance Legal Research classes is now open! The Certificate offers over twenty classes on various research topics. Instructions for day students are available on the Enrollment for Day Students page. Instructions for Evening Students are available Enrollment for Evening Students page. If you would like more information on the program or need help registering, contact Peter Kersten at

Derrick Bell Award to Denver Law’s Professor César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández

January 05, 2015

Denver Law’s Professor César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández received the 2015 Derrick Bell Award at the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Annual Meeting, held January 2-5, 2015, in Washington, D.C. The AALS Minority Groups Section annually presents the Derrick Bell Award to a junior faculty member who, through activism, mentoring, colleagueship, teaching and scholarship, has made an extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system or social justice. The award is named in honor of the late Professor Derrick A. Bell, Jr., the first tenured African-American on the Harvard Law School faculty.

Professor César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández’s remarks on receiving the Derrick Bell Award:

“Thank you very much. It is truly humbling to receive this honor.

“Derrick Bell represents many things to many people in this room and elsewhere. To some he was a friend and colleague.

“I didn’t know Professor Bell well enough to make such claims. I met him twice only—once as a law student and years later as a law professor. Those encounters were enough to show me the humility with which he carried himself.

“Here was a towering intellectual, a pioneering professor, an engaging writer, a man who had confronted the great indignities of his time clear-eyed about the costs to himself, and someone with sufficient confidence to critically reflect on the complicated nature of his own role in our nation’s and our profession’s ethical evolution. But he was also a man who made time to shake hands with the star-struck student, to encourage the still star-struck newbie professor, to ask questions, to listen thoughtfully, and to laugh.

“For those reasons, to me, Derrick Bell represents a life well lived, and a legacy that continues to teach.

“Professor Bell’s example pushes me to recognize my own privilege as he did his. I get to think, write, and teach for a living. I get to shape the next generation of lawyers while getting to think critically and systematically about what law is and what it ought to be. And I get to do that with wonderful students alongside fabulous colleagues at the University of Denver.

“To me, Derrick Bell also represents a life lived with the humility to acknowledge my own many, many failings. I am a teacher who frequently struggles to help students stay on the course of social justice when they are mired in mounting debt and facing dim job prospects. I am a lawyer who sees the many instances in which law becomes a blunt instrument of indignity and forgets that there is also hope in law, that law can be a radical tool of resistance and a great moral compass.

“And Professor Bell represents a life lived in communion. I stand here because so many others have worked tirelessly to guide me when I needed direction and to inspire me when I needed encouragement. There are simply too many people who fit that description to list, but a few can’t go unmentioned. Anthony Farley, who salvaged my 1L soul when it was floundering. Frank Valdes, Margaret Montoya, Sumi Cho, Tayyab Mahmud, and others who built LatCrit, my intellectual home in the legal academy.

“And a final group that deserves special thanks. Kim Chanbonpin, who was randomly assigned to comment on a draft years ago and then took on a role in my life that I find impossible to explain. She is a friend. Thank you, Kim, for the kind words you shared about me. Thank you for thinking that I deserved this award. Thank you for thinking that I deserve your friendship. Thank you for all that you are to me and my family.

“My family. My wife Margaret Kwoka is also my colleague at DU. She and our son Zolín remind me that it’s necessary to fight injustice today because I hope for a just world tomorrow. They remind me to wield my skills and privilege with the awareness that we live in a world where the accident of birth so often dictates the fruits that life reaps, where walls and fences, borders, bullets, and wealth so often bring excess to our own plates while denying others the basic necessities of life.

“Margaret and Zolín inspire me to do as Professor Bell did and dream dreams of freedom about one day we living in a world where violence is not a feature of life, where premature death is but a tale that the elders recite, and the pangs of hunger are nothing more than a nightmare from which it’s possible to awaken.

“And they also remind me that no article I ever write, no lecture I ever give, no class I ever teach, and no award I ever receive will be as important as the hikes we take, the tumbles we share, the bad movies we watch, and the dirty diapers we collectively experience. Thank you Margaret and Zolín for letting me come along on life’s adventure.

“And thank you all for your kindness and support. I hope that I can bring honor to this recognition.”

Professor Hernández is pictured below with Janet Dewart Bell, Derrick Bell’s widow, and Margaret Kwoka, Professor Hernández’ wife and fellow Denver Law professor.

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