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ACS, BLSA Speaker Series: 'Strengthen Your Understanding: Honest Perspectives on Violence Against Black Bodies and the Police'

Thursday, 17 September, 2020

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SLU LAW's American Constitution Society (ACS) and Black Law Students Association (BLSA) will host a five-week speaker series titled "Strengthen Your Understanding: Honest Perspectives" at 5 p.m. on Thursdays covering topics related to racial injustice in St. Louis.

The series will run from Aug. 27 through Sept. 24, via Zoom.
Register in advance at this link:
https://slu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0qcuGgqDIrHtRRmq3xGuM4uwiga3TpbZ1i
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

1.2 hours MO CLE credit available, including 1.2 ethics hours and 1.2 elimination of bias hours.

Sept. 17: Violence Against Black Bodies and the Police
Week 4 will be presented by Derecka Purnell, J.D.

Derecka PurnellDerecka Purnell, J.D.
Human rights lawyer, writer, organizer; deputy director of Spirit of Justice Center, Union Theological Seminary
Derecka Purnell, J.D., is a human rights lawyer, writer and organizer. She works to end police and prison violence by providing legal assistance, research, and trainings to community-based organizations through an abolitionist framework.

As a Skadden Fellow, she helped to build the Justice Project at Advancement Project’s National Office, which focused on consent decrees, police and prosecutor accountability, and jail closures, providing community training, political education and legal representation to organizers. Her advocacy efforts led to the dismissal of over 3,000 cases based on unconstitutional policing practices. Additionally, she supports several campaigns and grassroots organizations around the criminal legal system, electoral justice, and community investment, including Action St. Louis, Dream Defenders, Communities Against Police Crimes and Repression, the Ferguson Collaborative, and the Movement for Black Lives. Purnell also organized the founding steering committee for Law for Black Lives, a growing network of 5,000 law students, lawyers and legal workers to support social movements.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Purnell co-created the COVID-19 Policing Project at the Community Resource Hub for Safety Accountability. The project tracks police arrests, harassment, citations and other enforcement through public health orders related to the pandemic.

Purnell received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her B.A. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Appeal and more. She’s been featured on NPR, the Boston Globe, Slate’s What Next, and MSNBC, and is the former editor-in-chief of the Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy. Purnell has lectured, studied, and strategized around social movements across the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Purnell is currently a columnist at The Guardian and deputy director of Spirit of Justice Center at Union Theological Seminary.

Series Schedule
Aug. 27: The History of Racial Injustice in St. Louis
Sept. 3: Race, Education and Property
Sept. 10: Access and Healthcare
Sept. 17: Violence Against Black Bodies and the Police
Sept. 24: Racial Injustice in St. Louis. Where do we go from here?

Contact Raina Brooks and Chandni Challa with questions.

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