Inclusiveness. A word that continually came to mind throughout the 2015 Latina & Latino Critical Legal Theory Conference. Both the scholarly work and the atmosphere of the conference were infused with values of inclusiveness, diversity, and challenging the status quo. As a one of the few students attending the conference of faculty members, I was slightly apprehensive before the weekend. However, I had no reason for such apprehension. The anti-hierarchal and non-presumptuous vibe of the conference made a student like myself feel comfortable sitting next to anyone at any event during the three days. At almost every meal–all with ample vegetarian and vegan options–I sat next to someone new and had an engaging conversation. At every panel, comments and feedback from all members of the audience were encouraged and the children of those parent faculty member were welcomed. Each conversation left me thinking about a new way to pursue social justice.
It was invigorating to see the work of so many faculty members dedicated to disrupting subordination in its numerous forms and to advancing racial, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic justice. One of my favorite panels was called, “Prison Reform: Theory and Practice.” The three person panel examined prisons from various aspects such as: prisoners’ rights in jail, the manifestation of protests of prisons in the form of hip hop music, and a discussion of prison common spaces. The three completely distinct scholarly works all attacked the same problem of the treatment of prison, yet from very different perspectives. The three approaches side-by-side demonstrated the wide-range of issues facing the living standards of prisons.
If there was to be one slight negative from the weekend, it was just that I am even less sure of how I want to fight toward social justice because my eyes were opened to so many new ways to do so. The three days exposed me to many different avenues to chip away at subordination. The huge presence of DU faculty at the conference was immensely encouraging for me as a student, illuminating the many rich resources available at Denver Law to help me find my path after law school.
Posted by: Katie Steefel