University of St. Thomas Magazine Fall/Winter 2020

Heather Shirey (Art History) are working to ensure the art created during this vital moment in history isn’t forgotten. They run the Urban Art Mapping Research Project that includes a George Floyd and Anti-Racist Street Art database. Along with student research collaborators, the team has documented hundreds of examples of street art since Floyd’s death as part

Three areas of focus outlined in the plan are: advancing societal reform, supporting professional formation and building a community of belonging. The plan is constantly evolving, and progress will be measured regularly. “We’re a predominantly white law school community,” he said. “Our first step is to grow in self-awareness of areas we can improve, both internally – becoming a more welcoming community for all people where it’s easier for everyone to get a sense that they belong; and externally – how we can leverage the resources we have as a law school community to impact our surrounding culture.”

Distinguished University Chair, Professor and Founding Director of the Racial Justice Initiative (RJI) Yohuru Williams. Photo by Mark Brown.

of an ongoing movement demanding social justice and equality. (A COVID-19 Street Art database was started last April.) “This is an important cultural moment, a historic moment,” Lawrence said. “And this is one way to preserve some of the communication around that, some of the cultural production inspired by the moment, and keep it in a place people can come back and look at it for as long as the computers are running. This is a way we’ll be able to revisit this moment and continue to think about what’s important.” Shirey added: “We want to keep the voices that are on the walls alive. We want to make sure that they continue to be heard going forward so that this can be used as an active tool for anti-racism in the future, too.” If you’re inspired to take action, the Center for the Common Good has collected opportunities to get involved at their Working for Justice site on stthomas. edu/center-for-common-good. n

Center for the Common Good intern Johannah Freund hands out food to students and community members in need on south campus in St. Paul. Photo by Mark Brown.

Vischer said lawyers have a big part to play in the quest for racial justice. “If you look back through our nation’s history, lawyers are almost always at the center of the struggle for justice,” he said. “Sometimes playing positive roles, sometimes playing negative roles. But lawyers are always there because the law is the shared language of social change. It’s not the exclusive set of levers, but it’s like an essential set of levers in facilitating justice in our society.” George Floyd and Anti-Racist Street Art database The killing of George Floyd last May reverberated across the world with people taking to the streets to protest police brutality and systemic racism. Some of those people responded by creating art. College of Arts and Sciences associate professors Todd Lawrence (English), Paul Lorah (Geography) and

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