April 1, 2015 | by Natalie Williams
Courtesy of The Daily Mississippian
The University of Mississippi School of Law is set to host its second Sustainability Conference starting today. The theme of the conference is “Fighting to Live: A Symposium on Race and Sustainability.” The event will be held at the law school April 1 and 2, opening with a trip to the Mississippi Delta.
The conference plans to bring to light the American South and the challenges it faces to provide sustainable living. Activists, health providers and scholars are working together through this conference to enable sustainable life for the many disadvantaged groups in the South, Mississippi in particular.
Richard Gershon, dean and professor of law, believes most people think justice is only found in the criminal justice system. He hopes this conference will bring to light the aspects of justice in the economic system.
“As a lawyer and legal educator, I see this conference as a great step in helping (to) change the conversation about economic justice in our state and our nation as a whole, “ Gershon said.
The theme of this year’s opening dinner is “The Sustainability Movement Past and Present: Passing and Carrying the Torch” and will feature civil rights leader Bernard Lafayette and attorney Chokwe Antar Lumumba.
“The issues discussed at the conference are not abstract or academic,” Gershon said. “They are issues that affect a large number of people in our state and region. I hope that the audience will see that necessary change must start with each of us.”
Director of the Center for Population Studies John J. Green, associate professor of sociology, wishes to engage with people across disciplines and professions to advance the conversation about socioeconomic dimensions in sustainable development.
“Sustainable development is the most pressing issues for us to address collectively,” Green said. “I hope to share information, build relationships and expand knowledge to inform action.”
The conference will also include panels consisting of students from the law school. These students will provide legal assistance to those who could not otherwise afford legal council.
“This access to justice for clients is very important to me,” Gershon said. “I believe that our nation must find a way to insure that everyone’s legal rights are protected and that the system is not just available to those who can afford to pay an attorney.”
This year’s conference is in partnership with the Center for Population Studies, the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, the Mississippi Center for Justice, the Center for Racial Inclusion, the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network and the Wallace Center at Winrock International. Registration is free for students and $20 for the public.