At the Harvard Law Forum: Max Kenner and Vince Greco on Fighting for Prison Education

In 1999, as a college student at Bard, Max Kenner founded and developed the Bard Prison Initiative, which has become the premier program for providing incarcerated Americans with full college educations, associate’s and bachelor’s degrees.

Vince Greco is one of the leading formerly incarcerated prison reform advocates in Maryland. He is member of the Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform and Out for Justice. He is a beneficiary of prison education and during his three decade incarceration was a leader on the inside in expanding college programs to Maryland prisons.

On March 30, 2017, Kenner and Greco came to Harvard to remind students of the imperative of fighting for educational opportunity for incarcerated people, describe other innovative ways organizations like BPI are creating extraordinary college opportunity in unusual circumstances, and to show Harvard students how they, too, can open up the resources of our university to incarcerated neighbors. Their videos are below:

At the Harvard Law Forum: Elizabeth and Matt Bruenig on “Building a Moral Economy”

Elizabeth Bruenig and Matt Bruenig are considered by some to be the moral politics dream team of the Millennial generation. Elizabeth is an assistant editor at the Washington Post, whose writing focuses on ethics, politics, and culture from a Catholic social justice perspective. Matt is an incisive poverty analyst and Twitter sage who has written for Jacobin, Demos, The Atlantic, Dissent and The Washington Post.

They came to the Harvard Law Forum on April 5 to give a one-two punch of moral vision and economic analysis to wake up Harvard Law students to the imperative of working towards a moral economy. The video is below:

“All Rise!”, Episode 8: Tracey-Ann Daley

The Harvard Law Record’s podcast — All Rise! — has just released its eighth episode (and third episode of its second season): an interview with Harvard Law School Student Activities Coordinator, Tracey-Ann Daley. From the Federalist Society to the wine club, Daley is the go-to person keeping the crazy civic life of Harvard Law from falling apart. She joined All Rise! in January to discuss her childhood in Jamaica and Connecticut, her career path from Jamaican law firms to MIT gyms to HLS students services, and the work of the Dean of Students office in staying positive, handling controversy and building up the campus community.
All Rise! is a longform interview podcast in which Harvard Law 2Ls Brady Bender and Pete Davis interview members of the Harvard community. You can subscribe to All Rise! on iTunes here and listen to this week’s episode below:

“All Rise!”, Episode 7: Susan Crawford

The Harvard Law Record’s podcast — All Rise! — has just released its seventh episode (and second episode of its second season): an interview with Harvard Law School professor Susan Craford. Crawford is an expert on municipal technology and the telecom industry, the co-director of Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and is perhaps the only Harvard Law professor who has proposed an international holiday…OneWebDay, a global Earth Day for the internet. She joined All Rise! in January to discuss her passion for viola, municipal broadband, innovative teaching methods, and more. 
All Rise! is a longform interview podcast in which Harvard Law 2Ls Brady Bender and Pete Davis interview members of the Harvard community. You can subscribe to All Rise! on iTunes here and listen to this week’s episode below:

At the Harvard Law Forum: Sister Simone Campbell on “Hope, Change, and Community”

Sister Simone Campbell, SSS has served as Executive Director of the NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice since 2004. She is a religious leader, attorney and poet with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change. In Washington, she lobbies on issues of economic justice, immigration reform, and healthcare. .

On March 22, 2017, Sr. Campbell came to Harvard Law School to speak about moral vocation building and advancing Catholic social justice values in the Trump era. The video is below:

At The Harvard Law Forum: Michael Sandel on “Why Trump? What Now?”

Two decades ago, in his book Democracy’s Discontent, Michael Sandel warned that, absent a stronger civic republican spirit, liberalism would collapse, giving way to “those who would shore up borders, harden the distinction between insiders and outsiders, and promise a politics to ‘take back our culture and take back our county.'”

On February 22, 2017, the Harvard Law School Forum hosted Sandel to give his take on politics in the age of Trump. Below is the audio:

“All Rise!”, Episode 6: Michael Klarman

The Harvard Law Record’s podcast — All Rise! — has just released its sixth episode (and first episode of its second season): an interview with Harvard Law School professor Michael Klarman. Klarman is a leading constitutional scholar, a specialist in the racial history of the Supreme Court, a Bancroft Prize winner, and the cause of Harvard Law’s longest waitlist. He joined All Rise! in January to discuss growing up, betting, the Constitution, Donald Trump, UVA and baseball.

All Rise! is a longform interview podcast in which Harvard Law 2Ls Brady Bender and Pete Davis interview members of the Harvard community. You can subscribe to All Rise! on iTunes here and listen to this week’s episode below:

At The Harvard Law Forum: Letter to a Law Student Interested in Social Justice

A decade ago, William Quigley penned “Letter to a Law Student Interested in Social Justice.” In it, he reminded students that “justice is a counter-cultural value in our legal profession…you cannot be afraid to be different.” To keep the message of the letter alive, The Harvard Law Forum and the Public Interest Committee of the Harvard Law Student Government invited four incredible classmates and alums who chose public interest vocations to share their testimonies about living out the politics of joy and justice. Continue reading “At The Harvard Law Forum: Letter to a Law Student Interested in Social Justice”

Commitment in the Age of Trump: Two Practical Steps Forward

My favorite high school teacher has this poster in his classroom: “Don’t just do something, sit there.” It’s a wise message for the first week after the crisis: I worry if we jump into “The Response Plan” too early, we will repeat the same mistakes that brought us here. You can already see it happening in our newsfeeds, as everyone’s plan for the Age of Trump seems to be: “Everybody just needs to double down on my worldview.” Carving out time for reflection in spaces outside of campaign politics—reading spiritual books rather than pundits’ hot takes, watching a play rather than a cable news show, reaching out to real people rather than ranting about the latest stranger’s horrible comment thread—is crucial if we hope to shine a path out of here.

I also, however, believe in Roberto Unger’s insight about hope and action: “It is a common mistake to suppose that hope is the cause of action. Hope is the consequence of action. You act, and as a result, you begin to hope.”

So, this week, what then should we do? My proposal: alongside carving out time for reflection and offering immediate care to our neighbors, we should spend this week making a commitment. Concretely, we should make a commitment to a certain amount of time and a certain amount of money that we are ready to consistently give to our country in the coming years. Very specifically, we should each commit to a number of hours we are ready to give each week and a percentage of our paycheck we are ready to give each month. Continue reading “Commitment in the Age of Trump: Two Practical Steps Forward”

From Despair, Work

What America needed more than anything from this election was solidarity: the feeling that we are all in this together, that we have a shared direction, that we have found common ground. Instead, the greatest threat in our lifetime to our national solidarity—to our neighborliness, to our decency, to our commitment to shared endeavors—has arrived. We thought we were better than this. But we have been blindsided. And we are confused and afraid.

When we are confused and afraid, we are tempted by twin evils.

First, we are tempted to quit. We are tempted to run away to Canada, or run away to irony, or run away to fantasy. We are tempted to hide away and build our bunkers.

Second, we are tempted to blame. We are tempted to search for our scapegoats and fall guys. We are tempted to tie some people and groups to the whipping posts and place our hurt onto them.

Our first task on this dark week is to resist these immediate temptations. Continue reading “From Despair, Work”

Strike support video released in response to university-wide email

On October 11, Harvard’s Vice President of Human Resources emailed all university students with the administration’s perspective on the contract negotiations with Harvard dining hall workers– a negotiation which has led to a strike now entering its third week. In response, a group of undergraduates and law students supportive of the striking workers have released a video, responding to the administration’s claims and sharing excerpts from HUDS workers’ speeches at a strike rally earlier in this month. The video is below:

Dear 1Ls: Consider the Clock

Dear Harvard Law School Class of 2019,

Welcome! I want to take my inches here to write to you a bit about Time.

Time is frightening, because we do not have a lot of it. I probably have even less than you, because I drink too much Diet Coke, which I am told is melting my bones. None of us — even those who can live without the delicious taste of a freshly popped can of calorie-free Coca-Cola — has all the time in the world. Our lives therefore are dramatic and exciting. We get to experience the invigorating suspense of making hard choices about what we want to labor for during our brief and precious time here on this Earth.

When we stop and think about Time, we are reminded that we have to, at some point, not keep our options open. We are reminded that we have to, at some point, not prepare for the next thing. Time invites us to join the counterculture of commitment: to abdicate our throne of open options to instead work day in and day out at some project, be it a cause or a creation, a child or a community, for a sustained period of Time. Continue reading “Dear 1Ls: Consider the Clock”

“All Rise!”, Episode 5: Tomiko Brown-Nagin

The Harvard Law Record’s podcast — All Rise! has just released its fifth episode: an interview with Harvard Law professor and legal historian Tomiko Brown-Nagin. All Rise! is a longform interview podcast in which Harvard Law 1Ls Brady Bender and Pete Davis interview members of the Harvard community. You can subscribe to All Rise! on iTunes here and listen to this week’s episode below:

“All Rise!”, Episode 4: Alex Whiting

The Harvard Law Record’s first podcast — All Rise! has just released its fourth episode: an interview with Harvard Law professor and former International Criminal Court prosecutions coordinator Alex Whiting. All Rise! is a longform interview podcast in which Harvard Law 1Ls Brady Bender and Pete Davis interview members of the Harvard community. You can subscribe to All Rise! on iTunes here and listen to this week’s episode below:

An Open Letter to the Harvard Law Review: Break Open HLS’ Inner Ring

Dear Editors of the Harvard Law Review,

In 1944 at the University of London, C.S. Lewis gave a speech entitled “The Inner Ring,” in which he warned the audience about a perennial human failing that would not be unfamiliar to Harvard Law School students a half a century later. In the speech, he described how inside any community — in “whatever hospital, inn of court, diocese, school, business or college you arrive” — you will find Inner Rings: exclusive internal communities on which you find yourself on the outside.  If you break into any of the Inner Rings, Lewis explains, you will find “that within the ring there [is] a Ring yet more inner.”  To Lewis, the desire to enter the next Inner Ring — and the terror of being left outside — is one of the dominant forces in our lives. Continue reading “An Open Letter to the Harvard Law Review: Break Open HLS’ Inner Ring”