Fellowships Honor SLS Firsts 1
Illustration by Terry Allen

In June, Stanford University announced the establishment of the Stanford Center for Racial Justice (SCRJ), a new initiative anchored at the law school that aims to serve the entire university. • “The starting point for the center is the recognition that racial inequality and division have long been the fault line of American society. Thus, addressing racial inequity is essential to sustaining our nation and furthering its democratic aspirations,” says Ralph Richard Banks, the Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of Law and founding faculty director of SCRJ. Noting that the center is launching in a time of heightened racial tension in the country, Banks says there is an urgency to the mission. “Our aim is to make SCRJ a focal point for university efforts to undertake research on racial justice and to create a place where students and faculty come together to learn, share, and study this critically important issue.” The center will also be a true multidisciplinary effort. “We aim to be the hub at the university for this work, bringing together students and colleagues from throughout the law school and across campus to contribute their knowledge and skills.”

SCRJ will use research to advance law and policy reform, engage in teaching and training to develop leaders, and pursue a range of strategic communications to provide critical information to the public. And already, work has begun. Through a Policy Lab, Selective De-Policing: Operationalizing Concrete Reforms, Banks is working with leaders of Stanford’s Criminal Justice Center to supervise student research that supports the efforts of members of the African American Mayors Association to identify new and better approaches to meeting public safety needs consistent with budgetary realities. Diane T. Chin, SCRJ’s acting director and associate dean for public service and public interest law, is working with law students and partnering with the Legal Aid Association of California and the office of assembly member David Chiu to provide an equity analysis of the impact of evictions, houselessness, and the anticipated eviction tsunami that will result when federal, state, and local COVID-19 eviction moratoria expire. Additional direct work with students is also planned.

“SCRJ will train the next generation of students to challenge entrenched racially inequitable policies, as lawyers and leaders, strengthening the legal sector to advance racial and social justice,” says Chin. To learn more, go to https://law.stanford.edu/stanford-center-for-racial-justice/. SL