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University of Houston and Georgetown University Law Schools Partner in Colloquium on Race, Racism, and American Media

Race, Racism, and American Media

Feb. 21, 2022 – The University of Houston Law Center and Georgetown University Law Center, in collaboration with Free Press’ Media 2070 project, will explore historic and contemporary racial discrimination in all modalities of modern media. The virtual colloquium will run from February 25 to February 26 and will begin at 10:30 a.m. EST on Friday and 10:50 a.m. EST on Saturday.

The Media 2070 project, launched by the media and tech advocacy organization Free Press, is calling for media to repair the harm caused to the Black community by media institutions and government policies. As part of this effort, Media 2070, and more than 100 allied organizations and leaders, joined 25 members of Congress last year in calling for the FCC to conduct an equity audit of its historical and present-day policies and their impact on the media landscape.

Inspired by the Media 2070 project, UH Law and Georgetown Law, along with Free Press, decided to convene this virtual colloquium on race and racism in American media.

UH Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes said, “I am delighted that UH Law is collaborating in holding this important conference along with Georgetown Law and Free Press. The goal of the conference is to examine issues of underrepresentation of people of color in the media in ownership and employment historically leading to suboptimal programming, representations, and coverage. By bringing together such impressive and knowledgeable scholars, government officials, policy makers, activists, and business owners, we hope to chart a path forward to remedy this lack of representation and its negative consequences.”

"It is incumbent upon us as leaders to help and guide the community to address our own unconscious biases that impact how we learn and interact with each other," said William M. Treanor, Executive Vice President and Dean of Georgetown University Law Center. “I, along with my colleagues, are looking forward to participating in this virtual conference and tackling issues of racial injustice and the causes at the root of racial inequities within our society.”

“We are so grateful to the University of Houston Law Center and Georgetown Law for their partnership in convening this critical discussion. The conference is an important opportunity to address how government policies exclude the Black community — and other communities of color — from controlling our nation’s communications infrastructure. This exclusion has resulted in the creation and distribution of anti-Black narratives that continue to undermine our country from fully realizing a racial justice society and democracy,” said Joseph Torres, Senior Director of Strategy and Engagement Free Press/Media 2070.

Panelists will cover topics including the history of racism in American media; assessment of historic efforts by (and failures of) the FCC, Congress, state regulators, and others to address racism; the role of the Speech Clause of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as legal frameworks; legal and policy approaches to address racial injustices, including corporate activism; and how reparations may fit into a remedial approach.

Speakers include:

  • Leonard M. Baynes, Dean and Professor of Law University of Houston Law Center
  • William M. Treanor, Executive Vice President and Dean of Georgetown University Law Center; Paul Regis Dean Leadership Chair; Professor of Law
  • Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, U.S. Member of Congress for 18th District of Texas
  • Howard Shelanski, Professor of Law Georgetown University Law Center
  • Paul Starr, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, and Stuart Professor of Communications and Public Affairs, Princeton University
  • Cathy Hughes, Founder and Chairperson of Urban One
  • Joseph Torres, Senior Director of Strategy and Engagement Free Press/Media 2070
  • Robin A. Lenhardt, Professor of Law Georgetown University Law Center
  • Anthony E. Varona, Dean Emeritus and M. Minnette Massey Professor of Law, University of Miami School of Law
  • Anupam Chander, Scott K. Ginsburg Professor of Law and Technology, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Mignon Clyburn, Former Commissioner Federal Communications Commission
  • Catherine J. Sandoval, Associate Professor of Law, Santa Clara University School of Law
  • Safiya U. Noble, Associate Professor of Gender Studies and African American Studies University of California, Los Angeles, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (C2i2).
  • Malkia Devich-Cyril, founding and former executive director of MediaJustice

Click here to register for the event.

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University of Houston Law Center media contacts: Carrie Anna Criado, UH Law Center Assistant Dean of Communications and Marketing, 713-743-2184, cacriado@central.uh.edu; Elena Hawthorne, Assistant Director of Communications and Marketing, 713-743-1125, ehawthor@central.uh.edu.

Georgetown University Law Center media contact: Deborah Gales, Georgetown Law Assistant Director, Office of Event Management, 202-662-9003, dmg99@georgetown.edu.

About the University of Houston Law Center

The University of Houston Law Center (UHLC) is a dynamic, top tier law school located in the nation’s 4th largest city. UHLC’s Health Law, Intellectual Property Law, and Part-time programs rank in the U.S. News Top 10. It awards Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees, through its academic branch, the College of Law. The Law Center is more than just a law school. It is a powerful hub of intellectual activity with more than 15 centers and institutes which fuel its educational mission and national reputation. UHLC is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.

About the University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter for excellence in undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city and one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse regions in the country, UH is a federally designated Hispanic- and Asian-American-Serving institution with enrollment of more than 47,000 students.

About Georgetown University Law Center

Georgetown University Law Center is a global leader in legal education based in the heart of the U.S. capital. As the nation’s largest law school, Georgetown Law offers students an unmatched breadth and depth of academic opportunities taught by a world-class faculty of celebrated theorists and leading legal practitioners. Second to none in experiential education, the Law Center’s numerous clinics are deeply woven into the Washington, D.C., landscape. Close to 20 centers and institutes forge cutting-edge research and policy resources across fields including health, the environment, human rights, technology, national security and international economics. Georgetown Law equips students to succeed in a rapidly evolving legal environment and to make a profound difference in the world, guided by the school’s motto, “Law is but the means, justice is the end.”

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