The intellectual hub of the law school’s vibrant social justice community, the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice is a training and research center that prepares the next generation of lawyers to represent underserved communities and produces innovative and accessible scholarship on issues of race, sex and poverty.

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FERGUSON & ERIC GARNER RESOURCES FROM BERKELEY LAW FACULTY AND CENTERS

In response to the recent events, our colleagues at Berkeley Law have put out these pieces:

SYMPOSIUM TOUTS NEW STRATEGIES FOR COMBATING POVERTY, INEQUALITY

By Andrew Cohen (10/31/2014)

At a recent Berkeley Law symposium marking the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, panelists called for a renewed and coordinated push to help low-income Americans. Presented by the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, the two-day event explored how lawyers and legal institutions can combat poverty—at the roots—by forging a more cohesive, media-savvy approach. With public concern about wealth distribution at a new high, participants said the time is ripe to make headway. “It’s a bright moment for this conversation,” said Dimple Abichandani, the center’s executive director. “Coming out of the recession, there’s been a clear shift in the awareness of poverty.”

Alan Jenkins demonstrated that awareness during the annual Olmos Law & Cultural Diversity Memorial Lecture, the symposium’s keynote address. The executive director of the Opportunity Agenda, which media-trained about 800 social justice leaders last year, Jenkins showed how lawyers eager to confront income inequality are entering the profession at an opportune time. An annual poll shows that 50 percent of Americans believe poverty is caused by conditions beyond one’s control, the highest total since the poll’s inception in 1965. About two-thirds say reducing poverty should be a high government priority, and 64 percent of independents say society would improve if wealth distribution was more equal—higher than even Democrats (60 percent). While Jenkins noted that Americans “generally think of poverty as a black problem,” the data shows otherwise: the nation’s poor are 42 percent white, 29 percent Latino, and 25 percent black. He played a 1964 presidential campaign ad for Lyndon Johnson—who launched the War on Poverty—which asserted that “poverty is not a trait of character.”

“This ad shows the power of storytelling, and that storytelling is something today’s social justice advocates must do better,” Jenkins said. “We’re talking about problem after problem, and not articulating a workable plan for change. Too often those of us working for the same goal aren’t working together, but in silos.” Jenkins called for media strategies that reflect the decline of traditional journalism and investigative reporting. He framed 20th-century social movements as leader-oriented, hierarchical, linked to NGOs, and organized in person. By contrast, he said modern social movements have few recognized leaders and are non-hierarchical, less reliant on NGOs, and organized digitally. “If we can’t connect these movements and tap into these new methodologies, we’re going to lose,” Jenkins said.

For the full article please visit:  https://www.law.berkeley.edu/article/symposium-touts-new-strategies-for-combating-poverty-inequality/


JEFF SELBIN, BERTRALL ROSS TO HELP LEAD SOCIAL JUSTICE CENTER

By Andrew Cohen (8/27/2014)

Clinical Professor Jeff Selbin calls Berkeley Law’s Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice “the conscience of the law school.” Assistant Professor Bertrall Ross describes it as “central to the school’s public mission.” Finding inspiration, it seems, won’t be an issue for the center’s new faculty co-directors. The intellectual hub of Berkeley Law’s vibrant social justice community, the Henderson Center prepares budding lawyers to represent underserved communities. It also produces innovative and accessible scholarship on issues of race, gender, and poverty.

Selbin and Ross will help Executive Director Dimple Abichandani plan events, support student training, and bring in advocates and scholars to engage students on diverse public interest matters. In doing so, they also hope to expose them to myriad public interest career opportunities. The center will hit the ground running this fall, with a compelling lineup of speakers for its Ruth Chance Lecture Series. These speakers will bring varied perspectives to the series theme of “The Next 50,” which probes the future of civil rights and social justice 50 years after passage of the Civil Rights Act and the March on Washington. The series honors Ruth Chance ’31, the only woman in her graduating class and a noted historian, sociologist, and youth advocate who worked to combat poverty, class, and race discrimination. “This is a very exciting time for the Henderson Center, which will continue to offer and refine our core programming for law students and the broader Berkeley Law community,” Abichandani said. “We know that Berkeley Law students will shape the next 50 years of work to expand opportunity for all. Our programming will be aimed at helping them develop their vision for how they can use their legal education to create a more just world.”

For the full article please visit: https://www.law.berkeley.edu/article/jeff-selbin-bertrall-ross-to-help-lead-social-justice-center/


2014 PUBLIC INTEREST AND PRO BONO GRADUATION

2014 Student Honorees131 JDs and 14 LLMs were honored at the 2014 Public Interest & Pro Bono Graduation on May 9, 2014. Each honoree completed one or more of the following: 1) the Pro Bono Pledge; 2) coordinated and led a student-initiated legal services project; and/or 3) worked at two public interest summer job placements. The class of 2014 logged over 17,000 hours of pro bono, with 92 JDs logging at least 50 hours of pro bono each.

During the ceremony, the Kathi Pugh, Eleanor Swift, and PSJD Pro Bono Publico Merit Distinction Awards were presented. The graduation was filled with heartfelt speeches from many of the honorees to a packed audience of faculty, supervising attorneys, family and friends in Booth Auditorium. Attendees enjoyed appetizers and drinks at Steinhart Courtyard for a lovely reception to end the event.

Click here to view more photos from the event.

PHOTOS FROM THE 2014 RAVEN LECTURE WITH VINCE WARREN AND HENDERSON CENTER’S ANNUAL AWARD CEREMONY

PHOTOS FROM THE 2013 OLMOS LECTURE AND WORKING FOR CHANGE SYMPOSIUM