Loyola University Chicago

Student Activities

School of Law

Race and the Law Symposium

2015 Race & the Law Symposium 
Thursday, March 19th
11:30 AM – 2 PM 

Philip H. Corboy Law Center
25 E. Pearson Street, Chicago
Kasbeer Hall, 15th floor

A Post Racial Police State:
Examining the Role of Racial Bias in Police Action 

Symposium Brochure (PDF)

This program will be offered for 1.5 hours of General MCLE credit; Professional Responsibility may be offered pending approval.

Click here to register

Loyola University Chicago’s Race and the Law Symposium is designed to bring awareness to legal issues that affect minority communities. In 2008, the Los Angeles Times published the article “Obama’s Post-Racial Promise,” which examined how the election of America’s first black president ushered in a new and improved era of race relations in our country.  To the contrary, the killings of unarmed African American men by law enforcement officials in the past year has casted more than a shadow of doubt on the premise that we have truly moved past racial bias in our society. Within the last year, the killings of Mike Brown, John Crawford III, Eric Garner, and most recently, 12-year-old Tamir Rice at the hands of law enforcement officials, have made our society question what role racial bias may play in law enforcement actions. Our esteemed keynote speaker and panelists will explore this issue while offering solutions based on their professional and personal experiences.



Neil Williams, Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Special Address
Jasson Perez, National Co- Chair of Black Youth Project 100

Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project
Cara Smith (JD ’92), Executive Director of Cook County Jail
Stan Willis, Civil Rights & Criminal Defense Attorney

Professor Alexander Tsesis

Q & A

Closing Remarks
Neil Williams




Cara Smith a Loyola law graduate and the executive director of the Cook County Department of Corrections, one of the largest single-site jails in the country. She is also responsible for developing and executing strategies that impact the jail’s population with an emphasis on its vulnerable populations, such as those suffering from mental illness and those charged with crimes of survival. Prior to joining the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in 2012, Smith served as an assistant attorney general, deputy chief of staff and public access counselor for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and also served as legal counsel and chief of staff to the Illinois Department of Corrections. 


Jasson Perez lives and works in the Chicago community. A firm believer that liberation comes from the bottom up, he is active in labor movements, community organizing, the cooperative agenda, and public education. He serves as national co-chair of BYP100.  He is also a member of We Charge Genocide, a grassroots, inter-generational effort to center the voices and experiences of the young people most targeted by police violence in Chicago.


Jay Stanley is senior policy analyst with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, where he researches, writes and speaks about technology-related privacy and civil liberties issues and their future. He is the editor of the ACLU's "Free Future" blog and has authored and co-authored a variety of influential ACLU reports on privacy and technology topics.


Professor of Law Alexander Tsesis speaks and writes extensively on legal issues related to constitutional law, civil rights, and hate speech legislation.  He has written six books and numerous law reviews article on these topics. Professor Tsesis has been an expert witness for the Canadian Department of Justice and a legislative advisor to Senator Edward Kennedy. He joined the Loyola University Chicago’s full-time law faculty in July 2007.  


Professor of Law Neil Williams served as law clerk to the Hon. George N. Leighton of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. After his clerkship he joined the Chicago law firm of Sidley & Austin, where he handled general corporate finance and securities law matters. Professor Williams joined the School of Law’s full-faculty in 1989. He is the faculty advisor to Loyola’s Black Law Students Association.


Stan Willis is an attorney specializing in criminal defense and federal rights cases. He has tried numerous federal and state jury and bench trials, and has argued many cases before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2002, Willis was named one of the "30 Tough Lawyers” by Chicago magazine. During summer 2005, Willis led a group of lawyers and community activists to internationalize the Chicago police torture scandal, first presenting evidence before the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In February 2008, Stan testified before the United Nations Committee to Eliminate Racial Discrimination “CERD” in Geneva, Switzerland and subsequently drafted “The Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission Bill,” which was signed into law August 10, 2009.  Willis is co-authored of the 2014 stakeholders report, “Torture in the Homeland” for the Committee Against Torture.