Minister of Justice of France (2012-2016)
Vice President, Schleswig-Holstein Parliament
Mary D. Lewis
Robert Walton Goelet Professor of French History, Harvard University; CES Resident Faculty & Seminar Co-chair, Harvard University
When George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis last year, Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstrations erupted across the United States and Europe. From Berlin to Barcelona, demonstrators not only condemned police violence and systemic racism in the United States, but also in their own countries. Across Europe, these events rekindled long-brewing debates about colonial legacies, the nature of racism, and legislative changes to address past wrongs and protect citizens with minority backgrounds. Many politicians who advocate on these issues have faced hostile backlash and racist attacks.
Her Excellency Christiane Taubira, Minister of Justice of France (2012-2016), and Aminata Touré, Vice President of the Schleswig-Holstein Parliament in Germany, will share their experiences and challenges of working on issues of race in their respective countries. Taubira will speak about her activism that eventually led to “Taubira’s Law” (Act 2001-434). Passed by the French Parliament on May 21, 2001, the law recognizes the Atlantic slave trade and slavery as a crime against humanity in France. As the first Afro-German vice president of a parliament in Germany, Touré will highlight her experiences and engagement in an initiative to remove the term ‘race’ from the country’s constitution.
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