On May 5, 2020, George Floyd’s public execution at the hand of a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota was a call to action for many institutions and individuals. It was a catalyst for Sinclair Community College to issue a statement against racism and to commit to an Equity Plan for all faculty, staff and students at the college and in the community.
It was also an impetus for the Law and Public Safety Department to create a vehicle to educate the community on issues related to social justice. This innovative effort aligns with the college’s DEI initiatives. In May 2020, a new course, Race and the Law, based on Richard Rothstein’s book, The Color of Law, was developed. It is an 8-week course that thoughtfully addresses how race, racism, and the law intersected in our past and continue to intersect today. The course is offered to anyone in the college, or community who wishes to register, for free or for PLA course credit (1 hour). Sinclair students, community leaders such as judges, business leaders, church leaders, and interested citizens of all ages have been brought together in an online learning environment that challenges attendees to take action to create positive meaningful change in racial and social justice. Many have taken the course more than once.
The course dives into current and relevant topics that are addressed in the book, but localizes them to ensure participants feel more connected and engaged with the information. The course also addresses some of the solutions and ways in which participants can become active in their respective communities.
The Professor also hosts guest speakers and the course has provided a safe space for dialoguing about race within a diverse population. At this point, 250 people have successfully completed the course.