2024 Anti-Racism Day

2024 Anti-Racism Day: Access, Challenges, and Solutions


Friday, February 23, 2024


Welcome and Introduction 

10 a.m. | Belson Moot Court Room

Vernadette Horne
Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Michael A. Simons
Dean and John V. Brennan Professor of Law and Ethics

Jelani Jefferson Exum
Incoming Dean

Keynote Address

10:20 a.m. | Belson Moot Court Room

James Forman Jr.
J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law
Faculty Director, Law and Racial Justice Center
Yale Law School

Concurrent Sessions I

11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Choose One:
Let’s Stop Blaming the Victims: Homeownership, Racism, and the Racial Wealth Gap (Rm 1-13)
Pervasive racially discriminatory practices in all aspects and stages of homeownership explain the racial wealth gap between Black and Brown Americans and similarly situated White Americans. The panelists will discuss the systemic racism and discriminatory practices that make homeownership more expensive to attain and difficult to retain; its impacts on the Queens community; and what is being done to stop these practices.


Professor Ann Goldweber


  • Christopher Newton ‘13, Director, Homeowner and Consumer Rights Project, Queens Legal Services
  • Cheryl Wade, Harold F. McNiece Professor of Law

Access to Justice in Child Welfare Investigations (Rm 1-15)
This panel will focus on the child welfare system’s disparate focus on families of color, families’ rights in the child welfare system, and efforts to better advise families of those rights, with a particular focus on the possibility of enacting “family Miranda rights”.  



  • Miriam Mack, Policy Director, Family Defense Practice, The Bronx Defenders
  • Joyce McMillan, Community Organizer, Educator, and Founder and Executive Director of Just Making A Change for Families (JMACforFamilies)

The Campaign to Abolish Solitary Confinement and Access to Counsel in Jail and Prison Disciplinary Hearings (Rm LL-01)
Three survivors of solitary confinement will join the St. John’s Law community to discuss their experience in solitary confinement, how the practice operates as a tool of racial subjugation, how incarcerated people are denied access to counsel during disciplinary proceedings where solitary confinement is imposed, and their years long, statewide campaign to end the practice. The panel will also discuss their very recent and victorious push to override Mayor Adam’s veto of legislation to abolish solitary confinement at Rikers Island.  



  • Candie Hailey, Survivor of Solitary Confinement and Activist to Abolish Solitary Confinement
  • Victor Pate, Campaign Organizer, New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement
  • Anisah Sabur-Mumin, Policy Advocate, Survivors Justice Project


1 to 2 p.m. | If you submitted a lunch order, you can pick up your lunch in the Law School cafeteria

Concurrent Sessions II 

2:15 to 3:30 p.m.

Choose One:
Inequities in Access to Health Care: Maternal Health, Immigrant Populations, Mental Health, Palliative Care and Beyond (Rm 1-13)
This panel will focus on the inequities in health care generally, and public health specifically. Topics will include maternal health, treatment for immigrant populations, mental health, palliative care, the COVID pandemic, and other challenges. The panel will also discuss access to the criminal Justice system for various communities, particularly newly arriving immigrants. Resources, solutions, and advocacy efforts will also be examined during this panel discussion. 


Heather Butts '97, Co-Founder of H.E.A.L.T.H. for Youths, Inc. and Adjunct Professor, St. John's Law


  • Mary Beth Morrissey, PhD, JD, MPH, Associate Professor, PhD Program Director, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University
  • Euna Park, Chief, Immigrant Affairs Unit, Chief Diversity Officer, EEO Counselor and Language Line Coordinator, Richmond County District Attorney’s Office

Educational Access After SFFA v. President and Fellows of Harvard College (Rm 1-15)
In June 2023, the Supreme Court in SFFA v. President and Fellows of Harvard College struck down race-conscious admissions at American colleges and universities. This panel explores what this decision means for racial diversity in higher education going forward. 


Professor Philip Lee


  • John C. Brittain, Olie W. Rauh Professor of Law, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law 
  • Matthew P. Shaw, Assistant Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law School

Bringing Your Whole Self to Work (Belson Moot Court Room)
Panelists will discuss how they have navigated issues of race, gender, identity, and expression within the workplace. In addition, panelists may discuss the following topics: How much of yourself do you share with your co-workers and employer? Will doing so affect your long-term success? Will your career be jeopardized?


Professor Renee Nicole Allen


  • Christopher Arcitio ‘17, Associate, Kaufman Dolowich Voluck LLP
  • Noa Ben-Asher, Professor of Law
  • Nicholas Figueroa ‘23, Law Clerk (Admission Pending), IBM Corporation
  • Tina M. Kassangana ‘19, Associate, BurgherGray LLP
  • Dariana Reid ‘22, Associate, McKool Smith LLP

Attend the Event

This event is open to all St. John’s Law students, and attendance is mandatory for 1Ls. You don’t have to register to attend. Closed captioning will be available in rooms 2-12 and 2-16.


Please contact Dean Vernadette Horne at [email protected] if you have any questions about the Law School’s 2024 Anti-Racism Day.