February 13, 2020
McGeorge School of Law recently held its annual Diversity Week – 2020 Foresight: The Vision is Clear, Diversity Matters – Feb. 3 through Feb. 7 on the Sacramento campus. Students, faculty, alumni and staff participated in events celebrating and bringing awareness to the importance of diversity and inclusion, which has long been a core value at McGeorge.
The week started off at noon on Monday, Feb. 3 with the International Food Faire, which included cultural performances by Sakura Minya Dancers. Student organizations, faculty and staff contributed a variety of dishes, representing different regions and ethnicities, to celebrate the cultural uniqueness of our campus. The proceeds will go to the Faculty Diversity Scholarship, benefitting McGeorge law students. The International Food Faire raised nearly $500 for the scholarship, and the funds will be matched dollar for dollar by our Powell Matching Grant, bringing the total to almost $1000. The event was sponsored by JD Admissions and the Asian Pacific Law Students Association (APALSA).
Later in the day, the community gathered for “Environmental Justice 101.” Professor Rachael Salcido lectured about the fundamental principles of environmental justice and the ongoing struggle to achieve just and equitable environmental quality for low income and communities of color. The talk was sponsored by the Water Law Society (WLS) and Environmental Law Society (ELS).
On Tuesday, Feb. 4, the McGeorge Clinics hosted a “Cultural Humility Panel” during the day. Clinic Professors Melissa Brown and Blake Nordahl presented “The Culturally Proficient Lawyer: Beginning the Journey” emphasizing the importance of cultural awareness in the practice of law. Clinic faculty and students shared how their commitment to cross cultural communication, humility, and empathy have shaped their experiences with clients from diverse backgrounds.
Rounding out the day, the campus community learned wellness tips that will contribute to work-life balance and success, and played the game of Lotería, or Mexican Bingo, in a laid back environment at the Center for Inclusion and Diversity (CID). The relaxed but fun-filled event, complete with prizes, was sponsored by the LatinX Law Students Association (LLSA).
Fostering awareness, education and engagement, a “Letter Writing Campaign for Hopeful Immigrants” sponsored by the Student Bar Association (SBA), LLSA, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and the International Law Society (MILS), on Wednesday, provided an opportunity for the campus community to write letters to hopeful immigrants at the border and to receive some education around the issues. Some of the letters will be distributed during an upcoming “working spring break” which will give eight law students the opportunity to travel to the U.S.–Mexico border to work on asylum cases instead of traditional spring break travel. The letters will serve as a reminder that there is a place for immigrants in the United States and to keep fighting!
The law school also welcomed Professor Teri McMurtry-Chubb as the Distinguished Diversity Lecturer that evening. The lecture titled, “#SayHerName #BlackWomensLivesMatter: State Violence in Policing the Black Female body,” and sponsored by the Diversity Affairs Committee (DAC) and the Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship, focused on the devaluation of Black female bodies in the context of law and justice. When asked to describe the theme of her talk, the Mercer University Law School faculty member offered: “Black female bodies are regularly policed, collected, and eventually sorted in United States prisons in accordance with their material value to the State and their ability to threaten its foundations. Undergirding this theme is the notion that the State is not a benign benefactor and protector of rights, but rather a malevolent entity that feeds on a material valuation of Black bodies, male and female, ordered as inferior to White bodies to gain both economic strength and political currency.”
The week rounded out with Henna Hand Tattoos in the CID on Thursday, where attendees were encouraged to get henna tattoos while learning about their cultural significance. The event was sponsored by the Middle Eastern & South Asian Students Association (MESAA) and gave perfect segue to the Friday closing Sacramento Campus Mixer.
Attendees included Sacramento Campus faculty, staff and students from several programs, as well as individuals from the University of Pacific main campus in Stockton. The mixer gave UOP community members the opportunity to informally socialize and celebrate the conclusion of a great diversity week. Associate Deans Rachael Salcido and Heather Dunn Carlton welcomed everyone and gave them a chance to introduce themselves and get to know each other.
Diversity Week is a reflection of the underlying value that McGeorge School of Law places on diversity and inclusion. It is no wonder that The Princeton Review Best Law Schools listed McGeorge No. 8 among 167 law schools in the nation for “Greatest Resources for Minority Students”.