Savala Nolan joined the Henderson Center in January 2016, where she leads over 50 lectures, symposia, teach-ins, and skills-building workshops a year for law students, scholars, and activists. She spearheaded the creation of a Race and Law concentration, successfully endowed a new racial justice fellowship, and works closely with affinity groups and law journals to prepare students for a thriving social justice practice.
Nolan is the author of Don’t Let It Get You Down: Essays on Race, Gender and the Body. She and her writing have been featured in The New York Times Book Review, Vogue, Harper’s Magazine, Time, NPR, Forbes and more. She is a regular keynote speaker and panelist on social justice issues including implicit bias, structural racism, understanding Whiteness, and the importance of social justice work for all lawyers. She is a regular keynote speaker and panelist on social justice issues including implicit bias, structural racism, understanding Whiteness, and the importance of social justice work for all lawyers.
In addition to leading the Henderson Center, Nolan is a member of the Equity and Inclusion Committee. She previously served on the Faculty-Staff Climate Committee, chaired the working group on Institutional Knowledge, and served as an equity advisor to Dean Erwin Chemerinsky.
Prior to joining the Henderson Center, Nolan was Associate Director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University’s Law School in Detroit, Michigan. She practiced law at Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP (then Keker & Van Nest) in San Francisco. Nolan also clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and, in 2010, served as a law clerk in the Obama Administration’s Office of White House Counsel, where she prepared research memoranda on constitutional matters. Before law school, Nolan worked at the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy.
B.A., New York University
J.D., UC Berkeley School of Law
Savala Nolan is not teaching any Law courses in Spring 2023.
Courses During Other Semesters
|Semester||Course Num||Course Title||Teaching Evaluations||Spring 2022||221.74 sec. 001||Movement Lawyering from the Inside Out for 1Ls||View Teaching Evaluation|
‘Be the Change’: Nazune Menka on creating the course, Decolonizing UC Berkeley
Host Savala Nolan, director of Berkeley Law’s Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, interviews Nazune Menka, lecturer at Berkeley Law and a supervising attorney for the campus’s Environmental Law Clinic. They talk about how to bring a decolonial lens to education, and about the joys and challenges of being a trailblazer who is pushing against the inherited wisdom and mythology surrounding UC Berkeley.
‘Be the Change’: Khiara M. Bridges on claiming her voice as a prominent Black woman
Host Savala Nolan, director of Berkeley Law’s Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, interviews professor Khiara M. Bridges, a powerful public intellectual who speaks and writes about race, class, reproductive justice and the intersection of the three.
Misty Copeland’s Tribute to Her Mentor, and Other Memoirs
Savala Nolan, Executive Director of the Henderson Center for Social Justice, reviews three books covering personal reflections by three women about art and adversity, fat-phobia and diaspora.
OpEd: Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan Doesn’t Do Enough for Black Americans
Savala Nolan, executive director of the Center for Social Justice writes that Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan doesn’t do enough for black Americans. “I don’t begrudge anybody having their loans forgiven under this new policy even if I won’t get relief; I do, however, lament the administration’s failure to properly weigh the role that wealth plays, or should play, in student loan forgiveness. I mean wealth as distinct from income–wealth meaning assets that can be passed from generation to generation.”
Commencement Advice for Outsiders: Now and Then, Let Go of Resistance
Savala Nolan, Executive Director of the Henderson Center for Social Justice, offers words of advice and wisdom to women of color, and other marginalized people, graduating law school
Turn the Page: A Prolific Year of Powerful and Pathbreaking Books from Berkeley Law’s Faculty
A recent celebration of 39 works that probe compelling issues across and beyond the legal landscape highlights the faculty’s far-reaching expertise.
It’s Time For White People to Have Tough Conversations With Their White Friends and Relatives
Savala Nolan, Executive Director of the Henderson Center for Social Justice, writes that very often, white people and their efforts disappoint her and says if we want cooperative, connective transformation it’s time to increase the heat
Major Gift Expands Environmental Law and Social Justice Work at Two Berkeley Law Centers
The gift from Ruth Greenspan Bell ’67 and her husband Joseph Bell will fund scholarships and programming at Berkeley Law’s environmental law and social justice centers.
What Society Gets Wrong About the ‘Angry Black Woman’ Stereotype
Savala Nolan writes the trope of the “Angry Black Woman” is meant to control and undermine Black women
Savala Nolan Recounts Trespass Against Black Womens’ Bodies in ‘Don’t Let it Get you Down’
Savala Nolan appears on KQED’d Forum to discuss new book, Don’t Let It Get You Down: Essays on Race, Gender and the Body
Race and Law Curriculum Offers Wide Range of Classes, Practicums, and Clinic Seminars
A whopping 17 offerings are available to students this semester that count toward Berkeley Law’s race and law certificate.
‘I Hope All Readers Feel Truth’: Savala Nolan ’11 On Her New Book, ‘Don’t Let It Get You Down’
The searing new essay collection fixes a keen and critical eye on some of the most complex issues of our time, processed through the lens of her own experiences.
Essay: My Father’s Life Was Shaped by Racism. So Was His Death
An essay from Savala Nolan’s new book, Don’t Let It Get You Down: Essays on Race, Gender and the Body, about the role racism played in her father’s life and death, is excerpted
Review: 12 revelatory essays probe with unflinching honesty what it means to be Black
The San Francisco Chronicle reviews Savala Nolan’s new book, Don’t Let It Get You Down: Essays on Race, Gender and the Body
Savala Nolan Takes a Hard Look at the White Gaze and Its Blind Spots
The New York Times reviews Savala Nolan’s book, Don’t Let It Get You Down
One year after George Floyd: When will white Americans rise up for justice?
Savala Nolan, Executive Director of the Henderson Center for Social Justice, reflects on the murder of George Floyd and says it falls to white people to understand what happened that day, and why it happened
Q&A With Savala Nolan: A Year After George Floyd, Will White Americans Rise Up for Justice?
For the death of George Floyd to have the power to advance racial justice, it falls to white people to understand what happened that day, and why it happened, Nolan says.
Essay: How Defunding the Police Protects Black Women
Savala Trepczynski, Executive Director of the Henderson Center for Social Justice, explain how defunding the police protects black women and says we should spend money on helping people, not hurting them
Breonna Taylor Decision Eerily Familiar for the Family of Faculty Member Savala Trepczynski ’11
The executive director of Berkeley Law’s Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, Trepczynski discusses race hierarchy and its far-reaching implications.
Op-Ed: People of Color Learn at a Young Age That They Must Be Twice as Good. Now White People Need to Be Twice as Kind
Savala Trepczynski, Executive Director of the Henderson Center for Social Justice, writes that people of color have had a golden rule that said be twice as good and calls for white folks to adopt a version of this rule for themselves and their anti-racist work: be twice as kind