October 2022 symposium

Structural Racism in the United States: Engaging the Interstices of Migration, Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, and the Legacies of Settler Colonialism

O​ctober 6-7, 2022
Gasson 100

​This 1.5 day ​symposium ​will explore the nature, history, legal, and institutional and societal instantiations of structural racism at three particular sites: struggles for self-determination, claims for reparations, and im/migrants’ rights claims.​

Natsu Taylor Saito

Keynote address

It begins with a 7PM lecture on Thursday, October 6, by Natsu Taylor Saito, Regents' Professor Emerita at Georgia State University’s College of Law, who will frame the symposium with a ​lecture entitled "Settler Colonialism, Race and the Law: Why Structural Racism Persists." The lecture is also part of the Lowell Humanities Series at Boston College. More information on the Oct. 6 keynote lecture here.

All day session

Friday, October 7

8:30AM - Continental breakfast | 9:00AM-4:30PM - Symposium program

All day session with three topical panel presentations followed by a concluding panel. Current lineup of presenters and topics on the panels:

9:00AM - Welcome and introduction

9:25AM - Settler Colonialism, “Race” and Indigenous Survivance and Resistance

Moderator: Nell Jessup Newton, Professor of Law, Interim Dean, Wake Forest University Law School


Kyle T. Mays, Associate Professor of African American Studies, American Indian Studies, and History at UCLA. 

"'When Black people are free, all people will be free: Black Freedom, Indigenous Sovereignty, and the Limits of Reparations Discourse"

Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Harry Burns Hutchins Collegiate Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

"The Duty of Protection for Indian Tribes"

Strong Oak Lefebvre, MSSA: Executive Director and co-founder of the Visioning B.E.A.R. Circle Intertribal Coalition INC.

"Transforming the Culture of Power: Indigenous Perspectives on accountability and healing trauma and thriving"

10:40AM - Coffee break

11:00AM - Structural Racism and Redress

Moderator: Zine Magubane, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Boston College


Thomas Mitchell, JD, Professor of Law, Boston College 

"Shaping Law and Policy to Redress Long-Established Racist Property Regimes"

Rebecca O. Johnson, Activist, Author, Grassroots Organizer and Fellow, 2021-22 Alliance for Historical Dialogue & Accountability Fellow, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University

"Movement Memorialization and Redress in Southwest Georgia: Honoring the Southwest Georgia Civil Rights Movement and Documenting Institutional Complicity in Black Land Loss and White Land Theft" 

Jeffery Robinson, JD, Former ACLU Deputy Legal Director; Founder and CEO of the Who We Are Project; Jerome Lyle Rappaport Distinguished Visiting Professor in Law and Public Policy, 2022-23, Boston College 

"Reparations- Neither New nor Impossible"

12:15PM - Lunch

1:15PM - Migration, Rights and Reclamations

Moderator: Raquel Muñiz, Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership & Higher Education, Lynch School of Education & Human Development, and Assistant Professor (by courtesy), School of Law, Boston College


Barbara Sostaita, Assistant Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies, U of Illinois, Chicago

 "Transnational Longings, Root Causes of Global Migration, and the Right to Stay Home"

Aziz F. Rana, Professor of Law, Cornell University

 "Settlers and Immigrants in the Formation of U.S. Law"

Robin C. Reineke, Assistant Research Social Scientist, The Southwest Center; Assistant Professor, School of Anthropology University of Arizona; Co-Founder, Colibrí Center for Human Rights

"Decolonizing Care at the US-Mexico Border"

2:30PM - coffee break

2:50PM - Concluding panel

Panel co-chairs & moderators:  CHRIJ co-directors Brinton Lykes, Professor of Community-Cultural Psychology, BC Lynch School of Education and Human Development; and Daniel Kanstroom, Professor of Law, BC Law School


Natsu Taylor Saito, Regents' Professor Emerita at Georgia State University’s College of Law

Kristen Carpenter, Council Tree Professor of Law and American Indian Law Program, University of Colorado

E. Tendayi Achiume, Professor of Law, and Alicia Miñana Chair in Law, UCLA Law School

Gabrielle Oliveira, Jorge Paulo Lemann Associate Professor of Education and of Brazil Studies, Harvard U. Graduate School of Education

4:30PM - End of program

Symposium co-sponsored by the BC ​African and African Diaspora Studies​ program.​

Continental breakfast and a light lunch to be served.

Register for the Friday, October 7 program

Recent works of interest from symposium speakers:

Prof. Thomas Mitchell has co-authored a paper that conservatively estimates that the present, compounded value of Black land loss int the US from 1920 to 1997 is roughly $326 billion. Read the paper here: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4214797

Read press coverage of the paper and its findings here: