Systemic Justice Teach-Ins:

Building Power to Challenge Injustice

The Systemic Justice Project is helping to organize and host several “Systemic Justice Teach-Ins” during the fall of 2023.

The teach-ins, which will be open to students from area law schools and colleges, will focus on understanding and meeting the challenge of advancing justice in these increasingly fraught times.

The events will take place on Saturdays over the course of the fall semester. Each will focus on a particular social injustice and will involve lawyers, activists, organizers, and journalists who are working to fight injustice through storytelling, organizing, and lawyering.

The first of those Saturday teach-ins will take place on Saturday, 9/23, and will focus on the industrial disaster in East Palestine, Ohio; the second will look at the movement in opposition to Cop City in Atlanta. The topic of the third is still to be determined.

In an effort to narrow the gap between why many students attend law school and what they actually learn, the teach-ins will focus on how to change power dynamics and challenge injustice. They will center three ongoing struggles–East Palestine, Cop City, and (probably) climate change–and three key tools–storytelling, organizing, and lawyering. The events will also offer a place where students and young lawyers can connect with likeminded students, lawyers, and organizers to build community and power.

1. East Palestine – Storytelling for Justice (September 23, 2023)

Square flyer highlighting the storytelling for justice for East Palestine

Credit: Angela Wu

  • Participants:
    • Christopher and Jessica Albright, from East Palestine, Ohio.
      • Read Emily Baumgaertner’s compelling story of the Albright family, who are coping with the environmental devastation wrought by the East Palestine disaster: “After a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed a half-mile from the Albrights’ house in February, a series of mysterious health symptoms forced Ms. Albright; her husband, Chris, and two of their daughters to move to a hotel room in Pennsylvania 20 miles away.”
    • Maximillian Alvarez: Editor-In-Chief, The Real News.
      • When Maximillian and his family “lost everything” in the Great Recession, Maximillian “realized the life-saving importance of everyday workers coming together, sharing our stories, showing our scars, and reminding one another that we are not alone.” Since then, from starting the podcast Working People—where he interviews workers about their lives, jobs, dreams, and struggles—to working as Associate Editor at the Chronicle Review and now as Editor-in-Chief at The Real News Network, Maximillian has dedicated his life to lifting up the voices and honoring the humanity of workers.
    • Topher Sanders: Reporter at ProPublica and co-founder of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting.
      • At ProPublica, Topher covers railroad safety. Previously he covered race, inequality and the justice system. In 2019, he was part of a team that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Public Service and won the Peabody and George Polk awards for their coverage of President Trump’s family separation policy. Among numerous other awards for his reporting, in 2018, Topher and reporter Ben Conarck received the Paul Tobenkin award for race coverage and the Al Nakkula award for police reporting for their multi-part investigation “Walking While Black,” which explored how jaywalking citations are disproportionately given to black pedestrians.
    • Lauren BarnesPartner, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP
    • Jon Hanson: Alan A. Stone Professor of Law and Director of Systemic Justice Project 
  • Some Details
    • 11:00 am – 2:00 pm EST (registration begins at 10:30am – food reception afterwards lasts until  3:00 pm)
    • Location: Austin North, in Austin Hall, Harvard Law School. 
    • Campus directions and map here.
    • Register here

2. Cop City – Organizing for Justice (October, 21 2023): Details coming soon.

3. Topic tba – Lawyering for Justice (November, 4 2023): Details coming soon.

Stay Tuned for More Details about Upcoming Teach-Ins