UHLC’s Dean Baynes joins Soledad O’Brien in ‘Black in America Tour’ panel 


Feb. 24, 2015 -- Soledad O’Brien, award-winning broadcast journalist, producer, documentarian, and philanthropist, brings her “Black in America Tour” to the University of Houston campus tonight to lead an interactive discussion about race relations with panelists including UH Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes.

O’Brien has worked in various capacities for NBC, CNN, HBO, and the Discovery Channel. The program in the Cullen Performance Hall is sponsored by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion as part of its Spring Speaker Series.

“Ms. O’Brien is a pioneering broadcaster who brings to the forefront difficult conversations about race,” Baynes said. “Over the course of its history, the United States has made tremendous progress in racial equality and justice.

“But we still have such stark contrasts where on the one hand we have incredible opportunities open to all Americans irrespective of race while at the same time such dispiriting racial disparities in income, education, and health.  The recent deaths of unarmed African American men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City also bring to the surface concerns on policing practices and policies.”

Baynes pointed out several recent Law Center initiatives, including a pipeline program to foster an interest in the law among promising college students from groups that are underrepresented in the legal profession and help them prepare for the LSAT and law school; a program to mentor potentially at-risk middle schoolers; and a CLE program earlier this month that explored issues surrounding grand juries, policing, and civil rights. He also noted faculty members are actively involved in criminal justice reform, including Professor Sandra Guerra Thompson who serves on a board overseeing the city’s crime lab.

Tonight’s panel includes Dr. Julianne Malveaux, an economist, author, and former president of Bennett College in Greensboro, NC., and Antonio French, a St. Louis Alderman.

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