UofL Law School offers class on Breonna Taylor, systematic inequality

Updated: Aug. 20, 2020 at 7:46 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law has created a new class centered around Breonna Taylor.

Breonna Taylor
Breonna Taylor(Bianca Austin)

The class is called “Breonna Taylor’s Louisville: Race, Equity and Law,” a 14-week, discussion-based class featuring weekly lecturers.

The topics of conversation include housing, health care, environment, and policing, among others, and is inspired by a University of Maryland class called “Freddy Gray’s Baltimore,” which tackled similar issues following Gray’s death in 2015.

The class does not specifically pertain to Taylor’s death but is more about the current and historical happenings that facilitate a culture in which police shootings happen.

The University of Louisville's law school Dean has created a new class centered around race...
The University of Louisville's law school Dean has created a new class centered around race relations in Louisville.(Courtesy: WAVE 3 News)

Brandeis School of Law Dean Colin Crawford created the class this summer and said once he saw the protests begin in downtown Louisville, he wanted to find a way to take the conversation off the streets and into the classroom, where he could moderate a discussion between students and professionals.

“We’re the only law school in this city, so it’s really important that we engage,” Crawford said.

He told WAVE 3 News he hustled to create the syllabus and reading list to offer the class during the fall semester that just started this week.

Crawford said the main assignment will be for students to find one law that shows some aspect of systematic inequality and propose a change to it.

“So I’m really hoping they’ll come up with a solution of their own and feel that they’ve been empowered to think about these matters differently and to use law as a tool for positive change,” Crawford said.

It’s a challenge Erin Langley said she wanted to tackle head-on.

Langley is a third-year law student and said she felt a calling over the summer to take the class.

“I think everyone who lives in Louisville has an obligation to engage in at least a conversation,” Langley said. “At least educate ourselves, in what it means to be part of this community.”

Crawford said he hopes his students can leave the class with a passion to make change in their communities and in the courtroom.

“We are educating lawyers here, and so my charge to the students is, to think about, in each other these areas, what lawyers can do to redress that balance,” Crawford said. “To find solutions, not just to look at the past facts, but to really think about how we can engage and, as lawyers, help change realities.”

Crawford told WAVE 3 News he is hoping to get a member of the Taylor family to talk to his class before the semester ends.

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