Monday, August 24, 2020

For twenty years the UI Center of Human Rights (UICHR) has been dedicated to standing up for the rights of all people, in the US and abroad. Established in 1999, by Iowa Law Professor Burns H. Weston, Professor Rex Honey, and Dorothy M. Paul, the UICHR has worked to fulfill its mission of revisiting the most fundamental aspects of human rights for evolved discussion amidst our community. 

In recent months, as the painful and unjust history of systemic racism in this country was brought to the forefront once again, UICHR responded quickly with a new web series to increase the dialogue around these important issues, titled Racial Equity and Human Rights. The webinars alone drew over 3,000 attendees and twenty plus speakers joined together over the past two months to discuss the many manifestations and implications of a system that has long oppressed communities of color in America. 

Associate Dean for International and Comparative Law Programs, Adrien Wing, serves as the current director for UICHR, along with Brian Farrell as the associate director and Amy Weismann as the assistant director. 

“We were very pleased with our ability to learn how to produce content via zoom so quickly,” Dean Wing said, “We had nearly 3,500 attendees in a period where we would never have had live programming. We look forward to doing future webinars in the coming academic year.”

The webinars featured esteemed faculty and speakers well-versed in the topics of injustice. Speakers included Raneem Hamad, organizer for Iowa Freedom Riders, Simon Balto, author of Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power, and Professor Angela J Davis, national expert and editor of Policing the Black Man, among others

Iowa Law Dean Kevin Washburn participated in two panels in the series including Moving Forward on Native American Rights and Race, Health, And Covid-19.

“The programming came together very quickly due to campus and broader interest,” Dean Wing said, “Normally, our semester programming ends when classes end. Instead, we continued and did a total of 13 webinars, starting on April 8th and ending August 5th. We had three webinars in the COVID series and eight webinars in our Human Rights and Race series, plus two other programs as well.” 

Eight webinars were held in total: Activism, Dialogue, & Healing, The Right to Protest, Understanding White Privilege, Historical Perspectives on AntiBlack Violence And Visions for the Future, Police, Prosecutors And Race, Race, Health, And COVID-19, Race and International Human Rights, and Moving Forward on Native American Rights. 

Anyone looking to watch these webinars can find them at UICHR’s website here.

As the programming through UICHR continues to evolve and adapt with the ever-changing social climate, suggestions for future topics are welcomed through Dean Wing’s email -


Payten Little is the Assistant to Social Media for the College of Law in External Relations. She majors in Journalism and Creative writing and will graduate from the University of Iowa in December 2020. When she’s not drafting social content or editing web content, she’s writing articles for HerCampus at Iowa.