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.


Stay Tuned for More Details about Upcoming Teach-Ins


Previous Teach-Ins

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 

Second Teach-In – Stop Cop City – Organizing for Justice (October, 21 2023) 

Social media flyer for event containing some of the information on this webpage

  • Participants:
    • Kamau Franklin: founder of Community Movement Builders, Inc. 
      • Kamau has been a dedicated community organizer for over thirty years, beginning in New York City and now based in Atlanta. For 18 of those years, Kamau was a leading member of a national grassroots organization dedicated to the ideas of self-determination and the teachings of Malcolm X. He has spearheaded organizing work in various areas including youth organizing and development, police misconduct, and the development of sustainable urban communities. Kamau has coordinated and led community cop-watch programs, liberation/freedom schools for youth, electoral and policy campaigns, large-scale community gardens, organizing collectives and alternatives to incarceration programs. Kamau was an attorney for ten years in New York with his own practice in criminal, civil rights and transactional law. He now lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and two children. (Twitter: @kamaufranklin.)
    • Andrew Free: Lawyer, advocate, teacher, founder of #Detention Kills.
      • Andrew is an Atlanta-based lawyer, researcher, writer, teacher, advocate, and strategy consultant. He founded #DetentionKills, a transnational abolitionist project formed to support families and communities affected by deaths in DHS custody by organizing people in motion to demand transparency, accountability, and decarceration. He served as class counsel for more than a hundred thousand current and formerly detained immigrant workers challenging involuntary work for unjust pay in ICE detention facilities. He is a 2010 graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School and a 2004 graduate of Kennesaw State University. (Twitter: @ImmCivilRights.)
    • Micah Herskind: Organizer, writer, law student.
      • Micah is an organizer, writer, and law student. He is active in abolitionist movements against police and jail expansion, and has written for publications including New York Magazine, Scalawag, MSNBC, Prism, Teen Vogue, and Race & Class. (Twitter: @micahinATL.)
    • Anne Oredecko: Special Criminal Justice Counsel at Legal Defense Fund.
      • Anne Oredeko is Senior Counsel at LDF and is based in the Atlanta office. Her work at LDF mainly focuses on the criminal justice system and its impact on Black people. As an Atlanta native, she has worked to support the efforts of organizers and activists in the Stop Cop City movement. Prior to her role at LDF, she was the supervising attorney of the Racial Justice Unit at The Legal Aid Society in New York City. Before this position, she gained experience in the community lawyering model at Youth Represent. She also incorporated movement lawyering into her practice through her connections with Black-led grassroots organizations and activists in New York City. She also facilitated Know Your Rights workshops, provided legal observing, technical legal advice, and direct representation for activists and organizers in NYC. In the summer of 2020, she created the Black Legal Observer Collective (BLOC) with other Black attorneys and legal workers to provide direct support to Black activists during the uprisings of 2020. Anne began her career as a public defender in Brooklyn, New York.
  • 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

Special thanks to Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro.