Hansford on listening tour for U.N. Permanent Forum of People of African Descent

Justin Hansford, professor of law at Howard University, executive director of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center, and representative to the new United Nations Permanent Forum of People of African Descent, will visit Pittsburgh on Nov. 18 and 19 as part of a “listening tour” in preparation for the inaugural meeting of the forum in early December. 

The U.N. Permanent Forum of People of African Descent is “a consultative mechanism for people of African descent and other relevant stakeholders as a platform for improving the safety and quality of life and livelihoods of people of African descent, as well as an advisory body to the Human Rights Council.”

The Pitt Human Rights Working Group will host a series of campus events Nov. 18 and a community event on Nov. 19.

The campus visit on Nov. 18 will include a panel discussion featuring Hansford in conversation with community leaders on “Using the Human Rights Framework for Racial Justice,” from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium. After Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, Mo., Hansford helped Brown family members bring their appeal for justice to the United Nations. This conversation brings together Black community leaders, advocates and educators to discuss this effort and understand how Professor Hansford views social movements and the law means of social transformation.

Hansford also will meet with graduate students and separately with faculty to discuss how the work of the new U.N. forum might be advanced and supported through campus educational and research activities. 

On Nov. 19, a community coalition will convene Black-led organizations, allies and members of Black communities from across Southwestern Pennsylvania to formulate a plan of action for this region and its future grounded in the priorities, goals and the concerns of Black people. This event, “Taking Back Our Rights: Shaping Black Pittsburgh’s Appeal to the World,” is an opportunity for Black residents from Pittsburgh and the surrounding region to assemble stories and visions for change. 

The event is from 11:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Obama (Peabody) Academy, 515 N. Highland Ave., East Liberty. To register, click here.

Community partners for Hansford’s visit include: the Pittsburgh Human Rights City Alliance, the Urbankind Institute, Gwen’s Girls and the Black Girls Equity Alliance, the Alliance for Policy Accountability, Black Women's Policy Center, Hill District Consensus Group, Penn Plaza Support and Action Coalition, Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations, 1Hood Media, Pittsburgh Black Equity Coalition, Global Switchboard, West End POWER, Center for Family Excellence and New Voices for Reproductive Justice.

Campus partners include the Graduate School for Public and International Affairs, Global Studies Center, World History Center, School of Education, Center for Civil Rights and Racial Justice in the School of Law, Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for the Health Sciences, Center for Race and Social Problems, and the departments of Africana Studies, English, Political Science and Sociology.