Speakers: Jeff Robinson, Esq.
Date: May 10 2021, 1-4pm
For almost four decades, attorney Jeffery Robinson has devoted his legal career to racial justice. In recent years, he has travelled the country speaking hard truths about race in America. “Our history,” he tells audiences, “has been stolen from us.” Weaving heartbreak, humor, passion, and rage, Robinson takes us through this stolen history, showing us how the legacy of slavery and U.S. imperialism impacts every aspect of our society – from 1619 through the present.
Not only is it time for all Americans to reckon with the true history of racial oppression in this country, but also to understand its impact on today. Robinson’s presentation aims to help us do just that. From the historical connection of slave patrols to local police departments, through the massacres of communities of freed slaves, to the fact that the essential elements of the practice of modern day slavery continued long after the Civil War, Robinson challenges us to think about where we started as a country, where we are, and where we want to end up. His words lay bare an all-but-forgotten past, as well as our shared responsibility to create a better country in our lifetimes.
There is a direct line from the values of white supremacy held by the people who founded America to present day America, and Robinson’s presentation demonstrates how those values and resulting laws have led us to our current circumstances. When people reflect on police violence today few people see the direct connection between laws on police use of force and laws passed in the 1600’s making it clear that if a slave was killed while resisting a master, no crime had been committed. People are unaware of the connection between slave patrols and modern-day police departments. These kinds of connections are critical to understanding that the devaluation of Black lives today can be traced to historic examples of devaluation that continue unbroken throughout American history and especially the criminal justice system.
The history Robinson imparts is not easy. It is not comfortable. But it is necessary. In the end, Robinson’s words are a call to arms. He empowers his audience to change the future, leaving them with a sense of optimism about what America could look like if we have the courage to change it.
CLEs: 3 each for YAD Appeals, YAD Trial, CAFL Trial, CAFL Appeals, Criminal Trial, Criminal Appeals; 2 each for SDP/SORB; Mental Health (Trial Skills)