• Oct 17 - 18, 2008

Charting New Pathways to Participation & Membership

  • 1:30 PM
  • Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall, Harvard Law School, 1515 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

Sponsored by Bingham McCutchen LLP

Featuring a keynote address given by The Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor and a concluding panel and awards ceremony featuring The Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor, The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, The Honorable Pius Nkonzo Langa and Dolores Huerta, this two-day conference will explore ways to foster full and equitable participation in the economic, political and social life for people who live in the United States.

We will address many timely and timeless topics, including race and gender in politics, and the changing demographics of the labor force, of the voting public, and of corporate America. We will consider these issues from multiple perspectives that are rarely brought together. Speakers and panelists will discuss the roles that the judiciary, locally elected officials, public school teachers and national leaders might play in charting new pathways to participation and membership. Given this pivotal time in American politics, the role of the 2008 election in fostering inclusion and cohesion will be a principal topic.

Visionary South African leaders will offer an international example of building a traumatized society anew. Scholars of labor, demography and immigration will examine the nature of barriers to full participation and then suggest what kind of work is necessary to move past those roadblocks. Business leaders will consider the role of changing demographics upon their workplaces. Mayors will discuss their role in creating opportunities for meaningful participation in rapidly changing, often resource-strapped cities. Community organizers will share coalition building strategies. Seasoned print, radio and television journalists will offer their perspectives on the role that the 2008 election – with its emphasis upon race and gender – might play in increasing political participation and inclusion of often marginalized groups.

We also have the pleasure of hosting retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who, in a major address, will reflect upon the state of civic engagement today and the continuing significance of her statement in the 2003 decision in the affirmative action case, Gratz v. Bollinger, that benefits of inclusion and of racial and ethnic diversity “are not theoretical but real, as major American businesses have made clear that the skills needed in today’s increasingly global marketplace can only be developed through exposure to widely diverse people, cultures, ideas, and viewpoints…”

Keynote Speaker:

The Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor (Associate Justice, Retired, Supreme Court of the United States)


The Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor (Associate Justice, Retired, Supreme Court of the United States)
The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu (Archbishop Emeritus, Anglican Church of Cape Town, South Africa)
The Honorable Pius Nkonzo Langa (Chief Justice, Constitutional Court of South Africa)
Dolores Huerta (Co-founder and First Vice President Emeritus of the United Farm Workers of America; President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation)
John Hope Franklin* (James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University)
* honoree will not be present

Confirmed Speakers:

Douglas A. Blackmon (Atlanta Bureau Chief, Wall Street Journal)
Mary Curtis (Columnist, The Charlotte Observer)
The Honorable John DeStefano (Mayor of New Haven, CT)
Jennifer Gordon & Robin Lenhardt (Associate Professors of Law, Fordham University Law School)
Gregory M. Hall (Journeyman Carpenter, Foreman)
Alex Jones (Laurence M. Lombard Lecturer in the Press and Public Policy; Director, Shorenstein Center, Harvard Kennedy School)
Rosabeth Moss Kanter (Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School)
Robert Kaplan (Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School)
The Honorable Scott Lang (Mayor of New Bedford, MA)
Meira Levinson (Assistant Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education)
Dahlia Lithwick (Senior Editor, Slate Magazine)
Glenn E. Martin (Vice President of Development and Public Affairs, The Fortune Society)
Karen Narasaki (President & Executive Director, Asian American Justice Center)
John Payton (Director-Counsel and President, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.)
Harvey Pitt (Chief Executive Officer, Kalorama Partners, LLC)
Robert Odawi Porter (Professor of Law & Director of the Center for Indigenous Law, Governance & Citizenship, Syracuse University College of Law)
Sally Quinn (Reporter, Washington Post)
Gregory Rodriguez (Irvine Senior Fellow & Director of California Fellows Program, The New America Foundation)
Robert Salinas (Partner, Sundeen, Salinas & Pyle)
Rinku Sen (President and Executive Director, Applied Research Center; Publisher, ColorLines Magazine)
Richard Sobel (Faculty Affiliate, Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies, Northwestern University; Associate, Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University)
Carola Suárez-Orozco (Professor of Applied Psychology, NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education & Human Development)

Scheduled Events:

Friday 10/17

1:30 PM – Keynote Address: The Gratz-Grutter Decisions: Reflections Five Years Later
3:00 PM – Panel #1: The Financial Crises: CEOs Discuss Competition and Inclusivity in Today’s Market
4:15 PM – Panel #2: Will the 2008 Campaign Pave a Path Toward Inclusive Politics? America’s Leading Journalists Discuss Race, Ethnicity, Age, Gender and Division

Saturday 10/18

10:00 AM – Introductions
10:15 AM – Panel #1: One Nation Indivisible? Challenges, Conflicts and New Coalitions in a Demographically Changing Nation
11:30 AM – Panel #2: Equalizing the Pursuit of Happiness: Knocking Down the Barriers to Full Participation
1:00 PM – Lunch Presentation: Courting Justice, A Film by Ruth B. Cowan
3:00 PM – Panel #3: Coalitions as Paths to Full Membership: Bridging Divisions in Communities, at Work and on the Streets
4:15 PM – Award Presentation: Path Breakers: Five Visionaries Who Charted the High Road to Democracy and Equality
4:45 PM – Panel #4: The Path to Inclusive Civic Participation
6:00 PM – Public Reception

This event is free and open to the public.


Luminaries gather to discuss race and social justice at two-day HLS event (Harvard Law School News)
Affirmative action is still necessary, says O’Connor in HLS keynote address (Harvard Law School News)
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Archbishop Desmond Tutu honored at Houston Institute conference this weekend (Harvard Law School News)
O’Connor and Tutu Discuss Race at HLS (The Harvard Crimson)
Justice O’Connor: Affirmative action should continue (The Harvard Law Record)