Category: Law and Society

Vital Voices: Women and International Leadership Development

On April 19, 2017, an intimate group had a cozy discussion with Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, on developing women’s leadership.

I was among them, and I had been anticipating this talk all semester. Nelson’s work is much inspired by former American First Lady and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, so I was eager to hear her take on the past U.S election cycle and the “highest, hardest glass ceiling” that remained unshattered.

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Preview: “To Serve and Protect? Legitimacy, Trust and the Policing of Minorities” with Guy Ben-Porat

By Minhee Lee and Yimin Wang, NYU Florence students

Thousands of Ethiopian-Israelis and sympathizers marched in a demonstration that took a violent turn on Sunday. Credit Jack Guez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

An Act of Violence

On April 26, a police officer was caught on a security camera beating a young Ethiopian-Israeli soldier in uniform in the suburbs of Tel Aviv. In response, 1,000 Ethiopian-Israelis took part in an anti-police protest on May 4, 2015 on Rabin Square. What started off as a peaceful protest, with demonstrators blocking the main thoroughfares of Tel Aviv, later turned violent as protesters began to throw objects and confront the police. Chants of “A violent cop should be in jail!” and “Enough of racism, enough of violence!” grew louder and louder. The officers responded with smoke, stun grenades, and water cannons. According to the police, about 46 people were slightly injured, half of them police officers, and at least 26 protesters had been arrested by midnight.

The History

This protest was not only in response to the isolated event of the police officer caught on tape, but also to demonstrate the outcry of injustice and unfair treatment that Ethiopian immigrants have faced since the 1980s during their first wave of immigration to Israel. Since then, Ethiopian-Israelis have made up about 135,500 of the Israeli population. However over half of them are impoverished and only half graduate from high school. They are treated as second class citizens, and experience discrimination and racism.

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Civil Society Activism and Democracy: Risks and Promises

“Civil Society Activism and Democracy: Risks and Promises” will analyze non-governmental organizations, think tanks, foundations, universities and activists that act as agents of participatory democracy at both the national and global levels. The dialogue was organized by NYU Florence professor Gianluca Sgueo and will take place on May 2 at 6 p.m. in Villa Sassetti. It will feature journalist and activist Angela Gennaro, scholars Jamal Shahin and Vigjilenca Abazi, and lawyer Giulio Carini.

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“Fighting Racism In Sports and What It Means For Those Who Watch”

Jackie Robinson is no doubt one of the most famous baseball players to ever play the game. While his .311 batting average, 1947 Rookie of the Year award, 1949  AL MVP award, and six world series appearances are impressive enough; it was his ability to overcome the difficulty of being one of the first black players within a segregated America that solidified his spot in history. Now, April 15th is known as “Jackie Robinson Day” within Major League Baseball, and on that day every player wears Robinson’s number, 42. Read more

Syrian Refugee and Jewish Displaced Person, Are We Making the Same Mistakes?

With the current refugee crisis facing Europe and the United States, there are many people and policymakers who are debating how to ethically deal with all of the refugees. There are currently many different ways in which countries are aiding refugees.  In Italy there has been a huge influx of refugees, over 153,000 in 2015 alone according to the online newspaper West. The Italian government is working with the EU to provide aid. According to the European University Institute’s Migration Policy Centre, last March Italy pledged more than 19 million USD to provide aid and humanitarian support to the Syrian refugees in Italy, see Syrian Refugees: Aid and Asylum Map. The United States has been under heavy criticism for being extremely selective in who they will allow to seek asylum. In many cases, EU countries do not have that option. Agence France-Presse correspondent Dave Clark wrote that “U.S. President Barack Obama has promised that the United States will admit 10,000 Syrian refugees for resettlement over the next 12 months, after criticism that America is not doing enough.” (Business Insider UK). One thing I have found extremely interesting while listening to the debate surrounding current events, is how much the approach to Syrian refugees is similar to how Jewish Displaced Persons (DPs) were dealt with following the Holocaust and World War II. Read more

R2X Guest Spotlight #5: Charlton McIlwain

By NYU Florence student, Nicole Johnson

Charlton McIlwain is an Associate Professor of Media, Culture and Communications in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. Read how McIlwain describes his work on the Steinhardt website:

“As a researcher, writer and teacher, my primary interests focus broadly on issues of race and media, particularly within the social and political arena. My previous work centered on how political candidates construct, mobilize, benefit or suffer damage from race-based appeals. In 2011 I co-authored the book Race Appeal: How Candidates Invoke Race in U.S. Political Campaigns (Temple University Press). In 2012, the book won the prestigious Ralph Bunche Award, given by the American Political Science Association for the best book addressing ethnic pluralism. The same year, the American Library Association recognized the book as one of the Best of the Best books among academic publishers. In addition to authoring/co-authoring four additional books and close to thirty scholarly journal articles and chapter in edited volumes, and regularly providing expert commentary for local, state, national and international media, I continue to pursue research about racial appeals through collaborative work focused on analyses of individuals’ real-time perceptions of race-based appeals in political advertising, as well as a variety of cognitive/physiological responses to racialized communication. You can stay informed about my ongoing work in that area at theRaceProject.

My recent interests, however, have turned to the intersections of race and digital media, principally as they relate to three primary questions: to what degree can/has the internet and other forms of digital media use lead to increased political participation, voice and influence for people of color?; in what ways might internet use provide greater access to social, professional and economic mobility for people of color?; and in what tangible ways do forms of racial discrimination, disparate treatment and denial of opportunity take place in online environments?”

Read an excerpt from his 2012 book Race Appeal: How Candidates Invoke Race in U.S. Political Campaigns

You can read more about his current projects here:

R2X Guest Spotlight #4: Peggy Cooper Davis

By NYU Florence student Nicole Johnson

Peggy Cooper Davis is John S. R. Shad Professor of Lawyering and Ethics

“Peggy Cooper Davis joined the NYU Law faculty in September 1983 after having served for three years as a judge of the Family Court of the State of New York and having engaged in the practice and administration of law during the preceding 10 years. She has published two books and more than 50 articles and book chapters, most notably in the premier journals of Harvard, Yale, NYU, and Michigan law schools. Her analyses of cross-racial interactions within the legal system have been widely cited and used in legal training. Her analyses of judicial reliance on the social and psychological sciences have been pivotal to thinking about child placement decision-making in both public law and matrimonial contexts. Her 1997 book Neglected Stories: The Constitution and Family Values and her book-in-progress Enacting Freedom illuminate the importance of anti-slavery and civil rights traditions as guides to the scope and meaning of Fourteenth Amendment liberty interests. Her recent book Enacting Pleasure is a collection of essays exploring the implications of Carol Gilligan’s relational psychology. Davis’s scholarship has also influenced the critique and evolution of legal pedagogy. She now directs the Experiential Learning Lab, through which she develops learning strategies for addressing interpretive, interactive, ethical, and social dimensions of legal practice. Davis has served as chair of the board of the Russell Sage Foundation and as a director of numerous not-for-profit, for-profit, and government entities.”

Here is a 2001 article Davis wrote, that I thought was particularly interesting, on the neglected stories of African Americans:

R2X Guest Spotlight #3: Elliott Brown Jr.

Elliott Brown Jr. is currently a senior at NYU Tisch and a visual artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York.

Here’s how he introduces his work:

“My name is Elliott Brown Jr. and I’m a visual artist. My photography attests to the breadth and complexity of Blackness by explicating the internal and external forces that create it. My work specifically considers the intersection between Blackness and homosexuality. With an understanding of how identities are socialized and performed, my work grapples with notions of privacy as they are informed by public and political discourses. Using self-portraiture as my foremost medium, I create a point of entry for the queer identity into historical and contemporary productions of Blackness. My current series visualizes a racial discourse within interracial intimacies. Focusing on my relationships with white men, I’m looking at the space where desire becomes political; what social parameters inform desire? In what ways have I sought to be fulfilled and validated by these relationships? Likewise, how have I been desired by these men?  By subverting traditional understandings of power dynamics, this work communicates the disturbances that can appear in these relationships. ” – Black Punk, see article here Read more

R2X Guest Spotlight #2: Yemane Demissie

Yemane Demissie teaches film, television and documentary production, writing and cinema studies classes at NYU’s Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & Television at Tisch School of the Arts. An independent writer, producer, and director, Yemane has received numerous awards for his work including the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Berlin Prize, and the California Arts Council Artists Fellowship. His works center around the history of Ethiopia and modern life of Ethiopians. Yemane’s narrative and documentary films have been released in theaters in the United States, Canada, Germany, and in Britain. They have also screened in over fifty international film festivals. Read more