A Message from Reclaim Harvard Law

#MoreSpeech

Posted below is some information about Reclaim Harvard Law, taken from our website. As you can see, we have been modeling our own Office of Diversity and Inclusion, one small space in the law school for marginalized students inspired by the school’s total failure to create any such space. In the past few days, a person who has been outspokenly opposed to our fight for racial justice from the beginning has been putting up deliberately provocative posters in our space. After extensive debate, we determined that, while all are welcome to engage with us, and we have repeatedly invited this particular individual to do so, a model of an Office of Diversity and Inclusion would certainly put up posters and information about its mission and values, but would retain control over its own decorating policy to maintain a space that reflects its values. We do not believe that free speech is implicated here (we are a group choosing what to post in its own space, without any institutional, let alone governmental, support, and there are countless other – white – spaces on the campus in which this individual can express his views, and has). However, notably, the idea that we have prevented this particular white man from putting up offensive posters in this particular space has created attention and outrage that our own claims to suppressed speech and silencing have not. This is not the first time that supposedly neutral principles of free speech have been invoked to protect white privilege – our fight is to make it the last. We have been told that the way to fight speech is with more speech. It should be obvious to everyone that this is not a level playing field, but nevertheless we are taking this advice, and will expand our campaign to spread the voices of the marginalized and the silenced throughout Harvard Law School. We wish Harvard Law School would be on the side of the oppressed and the marginalized, but can hope for no more than that it will maintain its studied neutrality.  #MoreSpeech

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Reclaim Harvard Law Occupies Fireside Lounge

Last semester, a coalition of students, staff, and their allies came together and formed Reclaim Harvard Law to combat the systemic racism that pervades our school. The students and staff met daily to identify the sources of systemic oppression and to debate and discuss ways in which this oppression might be remedied in the immediate environment of the law school. We then presented the results of our deliberations to the law school and to Deans Martha Minow and Marcia Sells of the law school administration. We were met with administrative intransigence. Our recent efforts are intellectually descended from the numerous student movements that have arisen time and again at HLS, because of a long-true reality: Harvard Law School is not an inclusive institution. It does not promote diversity. It is not a leader in promoting racial justice. Instead, it is a leader in the further entrenchment of the status quo. It is a leader in perpetuating systemic violence against marginalized peoples everywhere, and its influence extends far beyond the isolated halls of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Yet time and again, the law school has refused to change. Continue reading “Reclaim Harvard Law Occupies Fireside Lounge”