On July 31, in collaboration with Justice Revival, the live panel discussed our moment's potential to advance reform of law enforcement and learn how civil society, faith leaders, and communities can draw on the power of global human rights in their advocacy for police reform at home.
Executive Director, U.S. Program
Human Rights Watch
Executive Director, Thurgood Marshall Center for Civil Rights
Howard University School of Law
Gay J. McDougall
Leitner Center for International Law and Justice, Fordham University
The conversation will be moderated by Allyson McKinney Timm, Founder and Executive Director, Justice Revival
In June, the brother of George Floyd testified before the United Nations Human Rights Council about the trauma his family suffered after watching the death of their loved one at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derick Chauvin. At the same historic debate, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism and a coalition of African nations called for an independent Commission of Inquiry to probe systemic racism in law enforcement—in the U.S. and around the world.
Six years prior, the family of Michael Brown and civil society advocates testified before the U.N. Committee Against Torture about racially disparate excessive force in U.S. policing. Two years ago, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a comprehensive report on the human rights implications of racialized policing in the U.S.—the first report by this regional body on racism in this country.
In recent months, massive public outcry and unprecedented transnational protests have amplified longstanding concerns and sparked urgent conversations about the reforms urgently needed to overcome longstanding systemic racism in the U.S. criminal system.
What potential does this dynamic moment hold for further harnessing the power of global human rights principles and structures to advance reform? How can civil society, including faith leaders and communities, draw on the power of global human rights in their advocacy for police reform at home?
Panelists will reflect on the significance of the Floyd and Brown families’ engagement with the U.N. system in their search for justice. They’ll consider how survivors, advocates, and civil society can best utilize the human rights framework to further crucial goals of safeguarding Black lives, as well as moving the U.S. toward full equality and an end to grave racial discrimination in its criminal justice system.
Photo by Richard Grant