advertisementApril 2024 — Penn State Dickinson Law’s Antiracist Development Institute (ADI) will hold a Writing Workshop this spring at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum at Hyde Park.

The April 19-21 gathering aims to support contributors to the nine-volume “Building an Antiracist Law School, Legal Academy, and Legal Profession” book series with finishing their chapters. The time will allow ADI coalition members to engage with other partners, chapter contributors, editors, and systems designers.

Everyone is welcome to the workshop, whether they have completed their chapter and can help someone along, have edits to incorporate into a chapter, are just getting started, or have no chapter to write.

“The workshop in Hyde Park is yet another example of inclusive engagement with systems design. Whether you are new to antiracism or steeped in its practices, you are welcome and encouraged to be in coalition with us.” said Dickinson Law Dean and Donald J. Farage Professor of Law Danielle M. Conway, the executive director of the ADI.

The workshop also includes project updates and refresher workshops on design thinking, along with guided tours of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum’s special exhibit on the civil rights movement.

“The passion and drive of this coalition keep us motivated and excited for what is to come. It is remarkable to see the collegiality and cooperation between chapter contributors, volume editors and co-editors, and systems designers, and this event will offer them even more time together as we continue editing and compiling the book series,” said ADI Program Manager TaWanda H. Stallworth.

The ADI was founded in 2021 to dismantle structures that scaffold systemic racial inequality using a three-pillar system based on systems design, institutional antiracism, and critical pedagogy. The book series has attracted contributors from across the country.

“It is rare in any discipline to see this kind of collective action, this collective growth and development among professionals,” said Dickinson Law Professor of Law and Harvey A. Feldman Distinguished Faculty Scholar Dermot Groome, the ADI’s associate director. “We look forward to coming together at Hyde Park.”

Location reflects strong ADI ties to Roosevelt family

The location of the workshop, like everything related to the ADI, is entirely intentional. Hyde Park is the estate where Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt lived, about two hours north of New York City. The 32nd president and his wife often went there during his presidency to “renew his spirit during times of personal and political crisis,” according to the historical site register.

Eleanor Roosevelt was the grandmother of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, a close friend of Conway’s. When Conway was brainstorming the concept for the ADI in 2021, the younger Roosevelt provided names of people and organizations from her extensive network of philanthropic foundations and corporate contacts who might be interested in the work.

One of those connections led to a $500,000 grant to the ADI from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Roosevelt has remained a trusted confidant to Conway and supporter of the ADI, and so when the Institute was looking for a place to hold a writing workshop, Hyde Park seemed a natural fit.

Roosevelt is on the board of the Roosevelt Institute, which manages the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum at Hyde Park. It features an exhibit, “Black Civil Rights Leaders and the Roosevelts,” that aligns with the ADI’s antiracist mission. It also presents the prestigious Four Freedoms Award, given to those committed to protecting four freedoms highlighted in Roosevelt’s January 6, 1941, speech to Congress: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

Writing workshop opportunities

In addition to touring the civil rights exhibit, participants in the ADI retreat will take a workshop on systems design, take time for writing, and enjoy a chat about book series editor Raymond Brescia’s recent book, “Lawyer Nation: The Past, Present and Future of the American Legal Profession.”

“I am so thrilled and honored to be invited to join the Antiracist Development Institute Writing Workshop at Hyde Park in April of this year,” said Brescia. “As part of this session, I hope to draw inspiration from and support the authors who will be contributing to the ‘Building an Antiracist Law School, Legal Academy, and Legal Profession’ book series and work on my own contributions to that series. Mostly, I am looking forward to learning from and collaborating with others committed to promoting antiracism principles and approaches throughout the law school curriculum and the broader legal profession.”

The workshop offers a unique opportunity for reflection, connection, and most of all learning for those ready to take action that will disrupt and dismantle systemic racial inequality and intersectional injustice. “We never stop learning within antiracism. You never come to a point of omnipotence and or omniscience with antiracism. It is a constant and recursive cycle of learning,” said Conway.

Very limited spots in the workshop are still available to anyone who is interested. Please complete this form to sign up.