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Cornel West to speak at conference on race

Cornel West, one of the nation's preeminent thinkers on race relations in America, will give the keynote address at a conference titled, "Where Do We Go from Here?: A Colloquium on Race in the 21st Century," to be held Saturday, April 4, on campus. The one-day conference, sponsored by the Black Law Students Association and Stanford Law School, will bring together legal scholars and others from across the country.

West, a professor of Afro-American studies and philosophy of religion at Harvard University, will give a talk titled "Restoring Hope" at 9 a.m. in Cubberley Auditorium. Later in the day there will be panel discussions on criminal justice, education and coalition building. Those sessions will be held in Rooms 180 and 190 in the Crown Quadrangle.

The criminal justice panel, scheduled for 10:15 a.m., will include Stanford trustee Charles Ogletree, a professor at Harvard Law School, and Kim Taylor-Thompson, a former Stanford professor who teaches at the New York University School of Law. Robert Weisberg, vice provost for faculty recruitment and a law professor here, also will participate in that panel. The moderator for that session will be Angela Jordan Davis, a professor at the Washington College of Law at American University.

Sally Dickson, director of campus relations and a lecturer at Stanford Law School, will moderate the panel on "Race and Education," also at 10:15 a.m., in the Crown Quad. Participants will include Gordon Chang, director of Asian American studies at Stanford; Michael Wald, the Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of Law at Stanford; Jewelle Taylor Gibbs, the Zellerbach Family Fund Professor at the University of California-Berkeley; and Ronald Takaki, ethnic studies professor at Berkeley.

A 1 p.m. panel on coalition building will be moderated by Dorothy Roberts, a professor at Rutgers University School of Law, and will include Al Camarillo, director of Stanford's Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity; Geetanjali Dhillon, executive director of the California Minority Counsel; and Frank Tse, attorney for the San Francisco-based Asian Law Caucus.

At 2:30 p.m. participants will return to Cubberley Auditorium for a plenary session on agenda for the civil rights movement. Moderated by Ogletree, that session will include Eva Jefferson Paterson, executive director of the Bay Area office of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, and Joaquin Avila, a voting rights attorney. Constance Rice, Western Region counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, will participate in that panel as well as give the closing address at 4:30 p.m. that afternoon.

Law student Jacqueline Sutton, chair of the colloquium steering committee, said the passage of Propositions 209 and 187, efforts to end bilingual education programs and other recent political developments have exacerbated the color divide. "It's frustrating to only hear about what are the issues and why they exist," she said. "Answers to these questions are important, but only to the extent that they help to inform the creation of pragmatic solutions and strategies that will address these racial tensions."

Sutton added that West will bring a progressive voice to the current discussion about race. "He is a dynamic speaker, and he espouses a theory of the intermingling of race and class issues and how America needs to address both in order to fully address one."

West is the author of 13 books including Keeping Faith: Philosophy and Race in America; Jews and Blacks Let the Healing Begin, with Michael Lerner; and Race Matters. His most recent book, Restoring Hope: Conversations on the Future of Black America, is a compilation of interviews he conducted with prominent African Americans. West earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard and his master's and doctoral degrees from Princeton University. He was head of Princeton's Afro-American Studies Department before joining Harvard's faculty in 1994.

In addition to the Black Law Students Association and Stanford Law School, co-sponsors of the event include the Federalist Society, the Stanford Law Students Association, the Black Community Services Center, the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, the Department of Afro-American Students, the Asian and Pacific Islander Law Students Association and the Stanford Latino Law Students Association.

Registration for the conference, which includes lunch, is $35 for the general public. Admission is free to Stanford students, who will be charged $5 for lunch and must register in advance. For non-Stanford students with valid identification, admission, which includes lunch, is $10. Online registration is available at For more information contact the Black Law Students Association office at (650) 723-1873 or


By Elaine Ray

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