Pepperdine Caruso Law Celebrates Diversity Week 2023
Pepperdine Caruso School of Law held its sixth annual Diversity Week featuring a series of events to celebrate diversity and belonging in the Caruso Law community. Hosted by the Office of Diversity and Belonging, the Diversity Week events were well-attended by joyful and engaged participants from September 11-15, 2023.
Dean of students, belonging, and career development Chalak Richards comments, “Diversity Week is an opportunity for us to engage with the rich and varied cultures, viewpoints, religious traditions, and global identities that make our Caruso Law community so special. This year we were pleased to begin our journey as a community of truth seekers by sharing and celebrating the things that make us unique knowing they are also what unites us.”
On Monday, September 11, the annual celebration began with the beloved community tradition, Global Village Day, a popular showcase 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 festive displays of their cultural or regional heritage.
On Tuesday, the law school focused on the impact of diversity and belonging on the global community. This year, students, staff, and faculty were engaged and challenged by speaker Hugh Dugan, founder of Truce Foundation, a non-profit promoting Olympic Truce, an ancient tradition with a goal of peace, friendship, and understanding through sport. He discussed the original purpose of the games of bringing countries and cultures together and the efforts to bring back unity through the Olympics again. The event was hosted in partnership with professor Colleen Graffy and the Caruso Law International Law Society.
The week's events continued on Wednesday, September 13, with the first Open Conversation of the year. The conversation was moderated by professor Tanya Asim Cooper and associate dean Al Sturgeon. For the first time, students at Caruso Law's London campus participated in an Open Conversation led by professor Christine Chambers Goodman and Ronnie Baruch, diversity chair for the Student Bar Association.
Thursday, September 14 was a day focused on religious diversity, encouraging a deeper understanding of the religious diversity in our community. The event was in partnership with the Nootbaar Institute and moderated by professor Michael Helfand. The community was privileged to hear professor Netta Barak-Corren explain the conflict in Israel over judicial reforms and how a religiously diverse society facilitates political institutions that represent religious and secular interests. Professor Barak-Corren is one of the world’s experts on Israeli constitutional law and is a professor of law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
On Friday, the Office of Diversity and Belonging was pleased to celebrate Constitution Day 2023 as part of its partnership with California Law Pathways. Caruso Law was especially proud that Dean Richards presented on the panel that engaged students, staff and faculty across the state of California.
Diversity Week concluded on Saturday, September 16 with the sixth annual For People of Color Law School Admissions Conference, in collaboration with For People of Color, Inc. Over 100 attendees received a comprehensive overview of the law school application process from Anthony Solana Jr., followed by an application workshop led by dean Shannon Phillips. The attendees also heard from Caruso Law alumna Capri Maddox (JD ‘01), executive director of the City of Los Angeles Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department. They then received a law school tour and participated an extended panel with current students.
Attendees said that they left the day encouraged that not only can they go to law school, but determined to attend Caruso Law.