College hosts Diversity Week beginning April 1

The university community is invited to spend lunch hours throughout the week of April 1 with the College of Law as it hosts Diversity Week 2019. 

Events organized by the College of Law’s Student Council on Diversity and Inclusion will include discussions about same-sex marriage legalities, legislation impacting Native American populations, career obstacles for women, challenges posed by the U.S. immigration system, and community transformation through strong leadership.

All events are free and open to the public, and lunch will be provided each day for up to 50 guests. 

The one-hour events take place daily in the College of Law, Room 132, beginning at noon, starting with a panel discussion followed by a question-and-answer session with attendees.

Events include:

Monday, April 1 – “Linking Communities,” sponsored by the Black Law Student Association

University of Memphis School of Law Assistant Professor Demetria Frank will discuss how advocacy work of attorneys, policymakers, and leaders can transform the culture of legal environments by paying attention to the narrative of the community. Learn how the social inequity impacts access to opportunity. 

Tuesday, April 2 – “Obergefell and On,” sponsored by Lambda Law Society

American Civil Liberties Union Attorney Abby Rubenfield will discuss Obergefell v. Hodges,the landmark civil rights case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5–4 that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples. Rubenfield will examinethe challenges state legislatures have posed to the ruling, including Tennessee’s. She will offer advice to students who wish to engage more fully in effective activism. 

Wednesday, April 3 – “Tribal Law in Review,” sponsored by the Native American Law Students Association

Senior Managing Director of Teach For America’s Native Alliance WaziHanska “Robert” Cook, of the Oglala Lakota, will discuss the struggles and triumphs he has faced in advocating for policies that impact his community, ranging from child welfare to the opioid crisis.

Thursday, April 4 – “Uncommon Paths,” sponsored by Law Women                                                          

Five distinguished women attorneys will speak about the variety of career paths that a JD can offer and the unique struggles and triumphs women encounter on those paths. Jennifer Roche, Christina Magrans-Tillery, Amanda Morse, Jamie Ballinger, and Kellye Teste will discuss their current positions in government relations, legal aid, politics, organizational leadership.

Friday, April 5 – “Latinidad in the Law,” sponsored by the Latino Law Students Association

Immigration attorneys Arlene Amarante and Liana Montecinos will talk about the challenges they’ve faced as Hispanic women attorneys. They will discuss immigration policies and share insights about their interactions with our immigration system.

The College of Law will also host two university events in conjunction with Diversity Week.

Monday, April 1, Room 237, 3 p.m. – “Working It: The Legality of Sex Work” 

Hear from UT Law Professors Lucy Jewel and George Kuney, Merchant & Gould Attorney John Winemiller, and a professional dominatrix about legal issues relevant to sex work and sex workers. 

Thursday, April 4, Room 262 (Faculty Lounge), 3 p.m. – “Meet Asian American Dance Rock Band Member Simon Tam,” sponsored by the Sports Entertainment Law Society

Simon Tam, a member of The Slants, won a groundbreaking decision at the Supreme Court that helped expand civil liberties after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied his request to register his bands name – citing that it was disparaging to Asian individuals. This was a complex case in intellectual property and constitutional law. 

For additional information about these events, contact Lynn Ryan at