Addressing Access to Justice

On November 16, at 6:00 p.m., Marcilynn A. Burke, Dean and Dave Frohnmayer Chair in Leadership and Law, will speak with Kimberly Johnson, UO’s Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Student Success. Burke and Johnson will explore the topic of access to justice in a session called “This is My America: Stories, Storytelling and Access to Justice,” part of the Pac-12 Access to Justice series.

The basis for their discussion will be Vice Provost Johnson’s acclaimed debut novel, This is My America. Johnson’s novel explores racial injustice against innocent Black men who are criminally sentenced, leaving family members behind to pick up the pieces. Curriculum based on the book is being taught in middle and high schools around the country, and the novel is in the works to be made into a television series to stream on HBO Max. Burke and Johnson will discuss the important and often overlooked role of storytelling and the arts in reforming and reimagining our justice system.

The Pac-12 Access to Justice Series features free lectures from law schools in the PAC-12 network, including Oregon Law. This 10-week lecture series is open to the public and explores issues and innovations in access to justice across the United States. Lectures take place every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom, through November 30, 2021.

Vice Provost Johnson grew up in Eugene and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon and a master’s from the University of Maryland. She has previously served as interim vice provost for the Division of Undergraduate Education and Student Success since February and has held a variety of roles at the University of Oregon since 2014. Before serving as interim vice provost, Johnson served as assistant vice provost for advising, where she provided divisional and campus wide leadership for academic advising. She oversaw the Office of Academic Advising, the Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence and many of the university’s wraparound advising services, including Tykeson College and Career Advising.

Dean Burke came to Oregon Law in July 2017, becoming the first black female dean in the law school’s 134-year history. Before arriving in Eugene, she was Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Houston Law Center, where she was the Law Center’s first black person to hold that position. During 2009-2013, she served in the Obama Administration at the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI). Initially she was appointed as the Deputy Director for Programs and Policy for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). President Obama later appointed her as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management for DOI, where she oversaw four bureaus, including the BLM. While at the DOI, she engaged in efforts to diversify the workforce and to help ensure that the work of the Department considered the interests of all stakeholders, including those who traditionally had not had a seat at the table.