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Pepperdine Caruso Law Celebrates Diversity Week 2021

Pepperdine Caruso School of Law hosted its fourth annual Diversity Week that featured a series of events to celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion with representatives from across the community. After an entire year of virtual gatherings, the enthusiasm for Diversity Week celebrations felt especially palpable. Organized by the Caruso Law Diversity Council, the daily events took place at the Malibu campus from Monday, September 13 through Friday, September 17, 2021.

"The purpose behind each diversity and belonging event is to celebrate and unite all of our diverse and unique students and staff at the Caruso School of Law," offers Chalak Richards (JD '12), associate dean of student life, diversity, and belonging and director of the Parris Institute for Professional Excellence at Caruso Law. "We hope that every student, faculty, and staff member felt heard, recognized, and celebrated as we continue to create an environment that is welcoming to everyone no matter their cultural, ethnic, or religious background."

The annual celebration kicked off with a beloved community tradition–Global Village Day–a popular showcasing of numerous national, ethnic, and regional cultures through the sharing of traditional foods, and the display of garments, books, music, photographs, and information. Faculty, staff, and students shared these proud displays of their cultural or regional heritages. Nations from around the world were represented, including Brazil, Greece, Honduras, India, Iran, Jamaica, and Latin America. There was also regional representation with tables from the American South and New Mexico. Dean Caron even shared some sweet delicacies from his Finnish culture!

Members of NLLSA at their Global Village day display

Two students in traditional wear at Global Village Day

Members of the South table for Global Village Day

Four students from the Iranian Student organization

On Tuesday, an Interfaith Panel, moderated by Zac Luben, associate chaplain for partners, Seaver College Hub for Spiritual Life, featured faculty members of diverse faith backgrounds. The panel of Ahmed Taha, Sarah Nissel, Jennifer Koh, and Sukhsimranjit Singh discussed how their respective faiths of Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Sikhism impact their careers and inform the ways in which they approach the law and life.

Zac Luben speaking into a microphone

The five member interfaith panel

The events continued on Wednesday with the first Open Conversation of the year, moderated by Professors Jeff Baker and Tanya Cooper. The dialogue centered around the topic of vaccine mandates. During the conversation, students brought up a variety of thoughtful and important points on the legality and constitutionality of federal versus state mandates. Open Conversation serves as a time for students to respectfully discuss important current issues.

On Thursday, Ann Claire Williams, a retired judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, participated in the first Dean's Speaker Series of the year. Finally on Friday, in commemoration of Constitution Day, the school hosted a special virtual event focused on student free speech and the United States Constitution.

Judge Ann Claire Williams giving a Zoom presentation

Caruso Law is proud to continue this annual tradition that stands to deepen the strength of our community. For additional information about Diversity Week, visit the Diversity and Belonging website.

BLSA student

Two representatives for Jamaica at Global Village Day