Conference on Juvenile Justice and the African American Community

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, DC, March 27, 2009 – American University Washington College of Law is pleased to announce the upcoming 13th Annual Sylvania Woods Conference on African Americans and the Law, entitled “Juvenile Justice and the African American Community: Reversing the Trend”, taking place Thursday, April 2nd from 2 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. 

The conference breaks down into three main segments.  The first is a networking session with a range of legal employers that will meet informally with students to discuss the realities of working in their respective areas of practice.

The next session will be a discussion on how to transform the existing juvenile justice system by instilling positive alternative strategies designed to prevent crime and reduce violence.  The panel will include experts from the DC Public Defender Service, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Advocates for Children and Youth, to name a few.

The final session will be an awards dinner to recognize student and alumni accomplishments.  This portion will feature a unique presentation: the Hon. C. Darnell Jones II (WCL ’75) will be presented with the Special Hairston Alumni Award by the Hon. Gerald Bruce Lee (WCL ’76).  Judge Lee will also read a letter submitted for the occasion by the Hon. Reggie Walton (WCL ’74).  All three men graduated from WCL in concurrent years, all three sit on the bench as judges, and they have remained close friends since their days on campus.

The North Star Award will be presented to Professor Perry Wallace by WCL Dean Claudio Grossman.  Excerpts from the ESPN film “Black Magic”, featuring Prof. Wallace’s career in the SEC will also be shown.  Before his successful legal career, Prof. Wallace broke the color barrier in the SEC, becoming the first prominent African American basketball player in the Southeastern Conference during his time at Vanderbilt University.

The Rising Star Award recipient, current student Arnette “Art” Steele will also be recognized. 

For more information on this conference or to learn more about the WCL alumni that will be honored, please contact Jason Policastro at (202) 895-4537 or via email at Policastro@wcl.american.edu.  Thank you for your consideration.

Full Schedule:

2:00-3:00 – REGISTRATION

 

3:00-4:00 – CAREERS TABLE TALK

Representatives from a range of legal employers, some of whom are alumni, will meet informally with

students to discuss the realities of working in their respective areas of practice.

 

4:15-6:00 –DEAN’S WELCOME, INTRODUCTIONS, PROGRAM

A group of legal experts and other stakeholders will discuss how to transform the existing juvenile justice

system by setting in place positive alternative strategies designed to prevent crime and reduce violence.

Sheila Bedi, Esq. (WCL ’01), Juvenile & Criminal

Justice Attorney, Southern Poverty Law Center

Jason Downs, Esq., Public Defender Service for

the District of Columbia

Will Harrell, Esq. (WCL ’90, ’97) Chief

Ombudsman, Office of the Independent

Ombudsman for the Texas Youth Commission;

2009 Recipient of the WCL Cicchino Award

Angela Conyers Johnese, Esq. (WCL ’01),

Juvenile Justice Director, Advocates for Children

& Youth (MD)

Dr. Joseph Richardson, Jr., Assistant Professor,

African-American Studies Department,

University of Maryland

Lynn White, Esq., Senior Policy Associate,

Juvenile Justice, Children’s Defense Fund

WCL Associate Dean Mark Niles, Moderator

 

6:00-8:30 – AWARDS DINNER

Recognition of Student Accomplishments

Rising Star Award Recipient: Ms. Arnette “Art” Steele, ‘09

Special Hairston Alumni Award Recipient: the Hon. C. Darnell Jones II. ‘75

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Presentation by the Hon. Gerald Bruce Lee, ‘76

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

North Star Award Recipient: Perry E. Wallace, Jr, Professor of Law

Excerpts from the ESPN film “Black Magic”, featuring Prof. Wallace’s career in the SEC, will be shown.

Presentation by Claudio M. Grossman, Dean of the American University Washington College of Law