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Racial Justice Speaker Series


As protests over police brutality and systemic racism have swept the nation, UC Davis School of Law has reaffirmed its longtime commitment to racial justice. Throughout 2020-21, the law school will offer a Racial Justice Speaker Series examining some of the most urgent issues facing our nation and world today. 

The series has gathered leading voices on civil rights, criminal justice, and civic and governmental responsibility. The goals are to inform, enlighten, and - most important - engage in meaningful conversation with our King Hall community and the larger public.


Sept. 16, 2020

12:15-1:15 p.m. PST

'A riot is the language of the unheard': Is Racial Justice Possible in America?

Brendon Woods
Alameda County Public Defender

Appointed in December 2012, Brendon Woods is the first Black Chief Public Defender in Alameda County’s history and is currently the only Black Chief Public Defender in California. Woods has 20 years of experience in criminal defense litigation and leads a staff of 170 in providing superior legal defense in more than 3,000 new files monthly.

Woods is committed to providing holistic representation to his clients and is a nationally recognized leader in public defense. He is a board member and former president of the California Public Defenders Association, and was honored with the Harvard Law School Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship for outstanding public service.

From a young age, Woods' formative experiences with law enforcement steered his life and career toward public defense. He feels fortunate to fight for those battling systems of oppression, and strives to reshape the discourse and nature of public defense and criminal justice as a whole.



Sept. 23, 2020

12:15-1:15 p.m. PST

Protests and Pandemic: An equity response

Darrell Steinberg
UC Davis Law ‘84, Mayor of Sacramento

Darrell Steinberg is one of Sacramento’s most accomplished public servants, serving the Sacramento community for more than 20 years. He is a graduate of the UC Davis Law Class of 1984.

Steinberg served on the Sacramento City Council and later ran for State Assembly and then State Senate, becoming the first Sacramentan to serve as President of the Senate in more than 125 years.

During his tenure in the Legislature, Steinberg championed economic development, education reform, building sustainable communities and major investments in healthcare and education.

With Steinberg as mayor, development will soon start on the long-vacant railyard north of downtown and Sacramento will become the next Major League Soccer city.



Oct. 21, 2020

12:15-1:15 p.m. PST

Robin Lenhardt
Professor, Georgetown Law


Oct. 27, 2020

12-1 p.m. PST

Angela Onwuachi-Willig
Dean, Boston University School of Law


Nov. 19, 2020

12-1 p.m. PST

Irene Joe
Professor, UC Davis School of Law


Jan. 25, 2021

12-1 p.m. PST

Tracie Olson
Yolo County Public Defender


March 3, 2021

12:15-1:15 p.m. PST

Paul Butler
Professor, Georgetown Law


March 9, 2021

12-1 p.m. PST

Song Richardson
Dean, UC Irvine Law