Student exhibit shines a light on diversity in the law

Crystal Yang

Harvard Law School Professor Crystal Yang is one of several scholars whose portraits are featured in a new exhibit of images intended to highlight diversity within the legal profession. The photos will be on display in Harvard Law School’s Wasserstein Hall from Nov. 17-22.

A photo exhibit featuring portraits of legal scholars who represent traditionally marginalized voices will be displayed in Harvard Law School’s Wasserstein Hall from Nov. 17-22.

The exhibit, “Diverse Voices,” was conceived by a coalition of student groups at Harvard Law School to commemorate diverse voices in the law on the first anniversary of an incident in November 2015 when the portraits of HLS African Americans were defaced with black tape. The project was a joint effort of students from Harvard Law School’s Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Black Law Students Association, La Alianza, Lambda, Native American Law Students Association, and the Women’s Law Association.

Student organizers say the goal of the exhibit is to continue the conversation about diversity in the law as it pertains to diversity within law school faculties.

The featured scholars, who come from a variety of legal concentrations, have used their accomplishments and scholarship to support causes ranging from immigrants’ rights to indigent criminal defense and racial justice. By recognizing some of the diverse scholars who shape legal theory, the students hope to highlight the need for law school faculties to better represent and reflect student populations.

Below are selections from the exhibit of some of the scholars highlighted.

The collection will be displayed through Tuesday, on the ground floor of Wasserstein Hall.

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Margaret Montoya

Emerita Professor Margaret Montoya, University of New Mexico School of Law. Montoya is an expert in Critical Race Theory and Health Equity and part of the first cohort of students of color who graduated from HLS.

Kimberle Crenshaw

Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, UCLA and Columbia Law School. Crenshaw specializes in Civil Rights, Black Feminist Legal Theory and Race and Gender Equality. Her groundbreaking work on “Intersectionality” was influential in the drafting of the equality clause in the South African Constitution. Domestically, Crenshaw founded the African American Policy Forum to house a variety of projects designed to deliver research-based strategies to better advance social inclusion.

Crystal Yang

Harvard Law School Professor Crystal Yang’s research has focused on analyzing disparities in criminal justice outcomes, chances for reentry among ex-offenders, and debt forgiveness for low-income individuals. Her current projects seek to understand the long-term consequences of pre-trial detention on defendants’ outcomes.

Mark Wu

Harvard Law School Professor Mark Wu is an expert in international trade and international law. Wu grew up in a blue-collar immigrant family on Chicago’s North Side and went on to attend Harvard, where he won Rhodes Scholarship. Professor Wu attributes his interest in international economic issues, development, and globalization’s impact on workers in part to his family’s history.

John Powell

Credit: Nick Bruno An expert in Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, Structural Racism, Housing, Poverty and Democracy, john a. powell is Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society and Professor of Law, African American, and Ethnic Studies. He previously served as the Executive Director at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University and the Institute for Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota. He was formerly the National Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. john is a co-founder of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council and led the development of an “opportunity-based” model that connects affordable housing to education, health, health care, and employment. His latest book is “Racing to Justice: Transforming our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society.”

Dean Spade

In 2002, Seattle Law Associate Professor Dean Spade founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a non-profit collective that provides free legal help to low-income people and people of color who are trans, intersex and/or gender non-conforming and works to build trans resistance rooted in racial and economic justice. He is the author of “Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law” (Duke University Press, 2015) which was published in Spanish by Bella Terra Press in 2016. In 2015 he released the hour-long documentary, “Pinkwashing Exposed: Seattle Fights Back” which can be viewed for free online at pinkwashingexposed.net.  He is the 2016 recipient of the Kessler Award.

Laura Nyantung Beny

Laura Nyantung Beny is an expert in Law and Economics, Finance, International Development and African Legal History at the
University of Michigan Law School. Her research has been published in the American Economic Review and Harvard Business Law Review and cited in media, including The Economist, and in congressional testimony. She is co-editor with Sondra Hale of the book Sudan’s Killing Fields: Political Violence and Fragmentation. Professor Beny has also published numerous opinion pieces on Africa, particularly Sudan and South Sudan. She has also served as a legal consultant on projects in the U.S. and Africa and practiced at Debevoise & Plimpton. She currently serves on the University of Michigan African Studies Center’s executive committee.

Kristen Carpenter

An expert on International Human Rights Law, Federal Indian Law and Property Law
at the University of Colorado, Professor Kristen Carpenter is a graduate of Harvard Law School and a leader in the often overlooked, but extremely important field of federal Indian law. Her work has been published in the Yale Law Journal, UCLA Law Review, and many others. In addition to her groundbreaking research, Carpenter is also an editor of Cohen’s Handbook on Federal Indian Law: the treatise courts look to for guidance on federal Indian law questions. She has served as a dean at the University of Colorado Law School and played an instrumental role in advancing indigenous rights at the UN. Professor Carpenter clerked at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Jennifer Granholm

Currently an expert in Law and Public Policy at UC Berkeley, Jennifer Granholm became the first woman to be elected as governor of Michigan in 2002, and in 2006 she was re-elected with the largest number of votes ever cast for governor in the state. Prior to her tenure as Governor, Granholm served as Michigan’s attorney general, from 1998-2002. After her last term as Governor, Granholm joined the faculty at UC Berkeley, teaching courses in law and public policy. Granholm is a senior research fellow at the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, co-chair of Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Transition Team and a political commentator.