IU McKinney dean Bravo to speak at Southern District Black History Month event

Karen Bravo, the first person of color to serve as dean of Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, will be the keynote speaker at the Indiana Southern District Court’s annual Black History Month event next month.

Bravo will deliver a speech, “Looking Back, Leaning Forward,” at a virtual event at 2 p.m. Feb. 24.

“Dean Bravo’s remarks will focus on key moments throughout African American history, while putting recent events into a broader historical context,” according to a news release from the court. The death in May of Minneapolis man George Floyd sparked what the Southern District Court described as “social unrest and a popular (re)awakening about the legacy of enslavement.”

“2021 brings the opportunity to recognize the 160th anniversary of the beginning of the U.S. Civil War, the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, and the 60th anniversary of the Freedom rides,” the court said. “Dean Bravo will reflect on these events, along with lessons she has learned, in an effort to build a better future.”

Shortly after Floyd’s death and the ensuing protests, Bravo released a public commentary reflecting on her role as a leader in the legal community and her identity as a Black woman. She wrote then that her “failure to speak up would let down the law school and legal community.

“The educational mission of the law school — preparing our students for their roles as legal professionals — demands that we commit to equipping them to create a future of justice, anti-racism, inclusion and opportunity for all members of our society,” Bravo wrote in June.

“As members of this community, as educators, as budding young professionals, and as new lawyers and well-established alums, we will continue to work toward these goals — in our classrooms and in our co-curricular endeavors, such as our pro bono programs and community service programs.”

Among her other professional achievements, Bravo is the founder and leader of the interdisciplinary project, “Slavery Past, Present and Future.”

The 2021 Black History Month event is co-sponsored by the U.S. District Court, Bankruptcy Court, Probation Office, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Federal Community Defenders and U.S. Marshals Service for the Southern District of Indiana.

One hour of CLE credit is pending approval. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required by sending an email to [email protected].

More information about the event is available online.

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