Detroit Mercy Law Review to host symposium on 'Race, Class, and Environmental Justice'

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The University of Detroit Mercy Law Review’s executive board, the third all-women Law Review executive board in the school’s history, consists of (l-r) Managing Editor Jailah Emerson, Executive Editor of Inside Articles Shannon Brown, Symposium Director Bridget Underhill, Editor-in-Chief Rebecca El Badaoui and Executive Editor of Outside Articles América Guzman.

The University of Detroit Mercy Law Review will host its 104th annual symposium Friday, March 6. This year’s symposium titled “Race, Class, and Environmental Justice” explores issues at the intersection of environmental law and justice. Topics include how the effects of climate change, water quality, natural disasters, and food supply impact marginalized communities. The symposium will begin at 9 a.m. m in room 226 at Detroit Mercy Law.

Monica Lewis-Patrick and Anna Clark serve as the speakers for the keynote discussion. Lewis-Patrick is the chief executive officer of We the People of Detroit. She is currently one of the leaders at the forefront of the water rights struggle in Detroit and beyond. She most recently presented before the United Nations Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation in New York, City. Clark is a journalist in Detroit. She is the author of “The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy,” which was named one of the year’s best books by the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, Kirkus Reviews, Audible, Amazon, The New York Public Library, and others. It is the winner of the Hillman Prize in Book Journalism and the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award.

The symposium’s panels are comprised of national scholars, legal professionals, and local community leaders to discuss water justice and lead exposure, natural disasters and climate change, food justice and the Green New Deal, as well as community lawyering and environmental justice organization. Speakers include:

• Lauren Bartlett (assistant clinical professor, St. Louis University School of Law)

• Travis Brandon (associate professor, Belmont University College of Law)

• Cinnamon Carlarne (Alumni Society Designated Professor, Mortiz College of Law at the Ohio State University

• Karen Czapanskiy (professor, University of Maryland Carey School of Law)

• Andrea Freeman (associate professor, University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law)

• Sarah Matsumoto (clinical teaching fellow, University of Denver Sturm College of Law)

• Justin Onwenu (environmental justice organizer, Sierra Club)

• Jayesh Patel (president and managing attorney, Street Democracy)

• Oday Salim (clinical assistant professor, University of Michigan Law School)

• Melissa Sargent (environmental health advocate, The Ecology Center)

• Wyatt Sassman (assistant professor, University of Denver Sturm College of Law)

• Nick Schroeck (associate dean of experiential education, associate professor, and director of the environmental law clinic, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law)

• Regina Strong (environmental justice public advocate, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE)

• Steph Tai (professor, University of Wisconsin School of Law)

• Kristin Totten (education attorney, ACLU of Michigan)

“The Symposium will educate guests on issues like the intensifying social and economic inequalities experienced by low-income communities and communities of color. Our national policy discussion needs more focus on marginalized people faced with natural disasters, water injustice, and food oppression,” said Bridget L. Underhill, Director of the 2020 Symposium.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required at https://detroitmercysymposium2020.eventbrite.com. Please note registration for the keynote discussion and luncheon are available until Friday, February 21st. A cocktail reception will follow the Symposium at 5:00 pm in the atrium of Detroit Mercy School of Law. At the reception, artwork will be on display to exhibit the talent and fundraising efforts of students from the Douglass Academy for Young Men. There, students created environmental designs for coffee mugs which were sold to raise funds to purchase fruit trees and flowers. Further, local artists will also display projects created with recycled and environmentally friendly materials.



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