Civil rights, sanctuary and racism are central themes of two events at UH Law School

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Beverly A. Creamer, (808) 389-5736
Media Consultant, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: Sep 11, 2017

Mari Matsuda
Mari Matsuda

Two unique UH public events this week will look at civil liberties in separate ways, with one celebrating International Day of Peace and Constitution Day, and the other examining the violence in Charlottesville as part of a broader look at racism, critical race theory and civil rights.

The lecture and debate come at a critical point on the UH campus, and reflect the kind of civil discourse on issues championed by David Lassner, University president and interim chancellor of UH Mānoa.

In a public statement released on September 8, Lassner reiterated the university’s commitment: “The last weeks and months have challenged us in ways we have not experienced for some time. Like universities across the country, we have experienced incidents that have been disturbing to members of our community.”

And he shared a statement that comes both from him, and from the campus deans: “We commit to uphold a campus free of violence, hate speech and intimidation, and will not tolerate any breaches of this principle. We each need to show zero tolerance for violence and hate, educate those who exhibit a lack of empathy and understanding of others, and support those who become targets because of who they are.”

The statement continues: “Part of what we do at our university is introduce members of our community to the world around us through others of diverse backgrounds and experience. Indeed, one of the strengths of UH Mānoa is our status as the most diverse research university in the country. So our opportunities for positive engagement are unmatched.

“As the UH Motto tells us: ‘Ma luna ae o na lahui a pau ke ola ke kanaka. Above all nations is humanity.’”

The two public events:

  • Wednesday, September 13, from 12 noon to 1:15 p.m. at Burns Hall 2118: Law Professor Mari J. Matsuda ’80 will apply critical race theory to recent events in Charlottesville, as well as the rise of neo-Nazism, and discuss a Supreme Court decision that impacts both. Her lecture is part of the Fall 2017 Faculty Speaker Series. Matsuda is one of the legal scholars who developed the concept of critical race theory, which examines power structures through the lens of racism engrained in American society. It also looks at legal theory through the eyes of racial minorities or "outsiders," groups left out of decision-making and the power structure.

Matsuda’s lecture, supporting the criminalization of hate speech, is titled: “Burning crosses and the intersectional feminist subjective: a critical race theorist responds to Charlottesville and the R.A.V. case.”

  • Thursday, September 14, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Classroom 2 at Richardson Law: To celebrate International Day of Peace and Constitution Day, the William S. Richardson School of Law and the Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution are sponsoring a panel discussion that considers Hawai‘i’s commitment to environmental protection and civil liberties. Hawai‘i Supreme Court Associate Justice Sabrina S. McKenna ’82 is keynote speaker, and Professor Matsuda will offer opening remarks on the theme: “Sanctuary, civility and aloha – How will we respond as educators?” UHM doctoral student Borjana Lubura will speak about the European migration crisis in Serbia. Aloha Immigration attorney Clare Hanusz ’99 is moderator. The discussion is scheduled and will also include Professors Tamara Albertini and Ibrahim Aoude; Dean Jon Osorio; Konrad Ng; and Hakim Ouansafi.

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