Foreword

Essay — Volume 107

107 Va. L. Rev. Online 1
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*Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law.Show More

Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed

a nation that isn’t broken

but simply unfinished1.Read: Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s Inaugural Poem, CNNPolitics (Jan. 20, 2021), https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/20/politics/amanda-gorman-inaugural-poem-transcript/index.html [https://perma.cc/AX6X-GU86].Show More

Amanda Gorman

If a foreword were to be limited to one word, and one word only, this foreword’s one word would be joy. It is a joy to introduce to you a diverse group of authors and their writings on the past, present, and future of a social justice movement that we now know must be founded on intersectional solidarity.

The papers in this collection are blunt. Their messages are confident and unapologetic. The authors trace our faltering progress in a century-long struggle for legal and social justice for people of color, for women, for LGBTQ+ folks, and for others whom white supremacy has silenced and erased. The authors do not hesitate to call out some of their would-be fellow travelers—including, I dare say, themselves—for failures to listen and lift up marginalized points of view. The authors address divergent topics and apply distinct methodologies, but, I suggest, their objectives converge as each seeks to articulate the conditions necessary for an intersectional understanding that produces durable alliances.

So, as you move ahead into these papers, prepare yourself for joy: The joy of listening to authors voicing complex concepts clearly. The joy of hearing about the ancestors whose works they have studied and deployed. The joy of feeling the energy that is produced as we begin to learn how to resist, even as we never deny, the suffering imposed by the conjoint forces of racism, sexism, homophobia, and classism. The joy of finding new alliances as we work to shed our own “public and private rituals” that have “help[ed] maintain the culture of domination.”2.bell hooks, Teaching To Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom 27 (1994).Show More The joy of knowing that it “is not a naive fantasy” for us to try to act “as a catalyst for social change across false boundaries.”3.Id. at 72.Show More

  1. * Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law.
  2. Read: Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s Inaugural Poem, CNNPolitics (Jan. 20, 2021), https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/20/politics/amanda-gorman-inaugural-poem-transcript/index.html [https://perma.cc/AX6X-GU86].
  3. bell hooks, Teaching To Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom 27 (1994).
  4. Id. at 72.

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