Darren Walker and Sherrilyn Ifill to talk Racial Justice in the United States at This Year’s Emilio Mignone Lecture on Transitional Justice


ICTJ and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law are pleased to announce that that Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, and Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, will join ICTJ President David Tolbert in conversation for the ninth Emilio Mignone Lecture on Transitional Justice. 

The November 9th lecture, titled “Reckoning with Racial Injustice in the United States,” aims to gather thinkers and actors in the continuing movement for racial justice in the United States. This includes human rights activists, policy makers, scholars, and practitioners engaged in confronting the history of racism in this country and ending its current manifestations.

Walker has been an outspoken advocate for the need to face the unbroken legacy of slavery, and under his leadership the Ford Foundation has been a key contributor to public discussions of race in the United States. In his recent open letter “A Call for Moral Courage in America,” he urged public interrogation of the history of racial injustice. "America made no sustained effort toward what some today might call transitional justice,” Walker said. “The nation paid no reparations to freed slaves; the '40 acres and a mule' promised to most freed blacks never materialized. Our country never convened a Truth and Reconciliation Commission nor engaged in an officially sanctioned public interrogation of our shared history, North and South."

Darren Walker and Sherrilyn Ifill

Likewise, Ifill works at the forefront of public dialogue on race: she has written extensively about the silence surrounding the country’s history of racism and about the struggle for structural change in the criminal justice system and beyond. “It's because the wall of silence fell and has been maintained so perfectly that we have to have these conversations. This is not something that we've talked out and now we're revisiting it,” Ifill said when promoting her book, On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty First Century. “We've never been able to confront in any comprehensive way the history of lynching in this country and the widespread complicity in that history of lynching.”

ICTJ President David Tolbert will moderate the discussion. Tolbert has worked in the former Yugoslavia, Palestine, the Middle East, eastern Europe, Cambodia, Lebanon and a host of other countries, but his roots lie in the Carolinas, where he grew up in the segregated South and has advocated for the United States to confront its own troubled past.

The event will take place one year to the day the United States first woke up to President-elect Trump. In the time since President Trump has been in office, revisionist narratives have found stronger footing in the country, fomenting deeper divisions and claiming yet more lives. Confronting these false narratives and reckoning with the United States’ racist past is essential to building a just society. . This event will ask how concepts and strategies of transitional justice might contribute to this process and advance racial justice in the United States.

The conversation will be held on Thursday, November 9th from 7:00- 8:30 pm at NYU School of Law’s Lipton Hall, 110 West Third Street New York, NY 10012. A reception will follow.

To reserve seats, please RSVP below.