Community Dialogue Series; Free Speech & Mutual Respect: The First Amendment, Social Justice, and Inclusion


Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 4:00pm



Four First Amendment experts and free speech scholars smiling, including Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, Emerson Sykes, Sigal Ben-Porath, and Sherri Ann Charleston

How does free speech and open expression impact our ability to advance the equity, inclusion, and social justice imperative movements? First Amendment experts Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Berkeley School of Law, and Emerson Sykes, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, will join Sherri Ann Charleston (CDIO) and Sigal Ben-Porath (Fellow in Residence, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics) in a conversation about the possibilities and challenges of advancing social justice and protecting speech in an academic environment. The Community Dialogue Series is a University-wide initiative that brings together experts from different viewpoints to discuss critical issues in productive ways.

Erwin Chemerinsky

Dr. Chemerinsky is the 13th Dean of Berkeley Law and the Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law. Prior to this, he was the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at University of California, Irvine School of Law. He has authored eleven books, including leading casebooks and treatises about constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal jurisdiction. His most recent book is We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century. In 2017, National Jurist magazine named Dean Chemerinsky as the most influential person in legal education in the United States.

Emerson Sykes

Mr. Sykes is a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project where he focuses on First Amendment free speech protections. Previously, he was a legal advisor for Africa at the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) where he worked to protect the freedom of association, assembly, and expression at the regional and national levels. Mr. Sykes has also served as an assistant general counsel to the New York City Council, a senior policy fellow for a Member of Parliament in Ghana, and a writer and researcher on U.S. foreign policy for The Century Foundation.

Sigal Ben-Porath

As an Edmond J. Safra Center fellow in 2020-21, Dr. Ben-Porath is working on a book project on open expression and civic dialog. She earned her doctorate in political philosophy from Tel-Aviv university in 2000, after which she received two presidential fellowships and joined Princeton University's Center for Human Values as a post-doctoral fellow. In 2004 she moved to the University of Pennsylvania where she is currently a professor of education, philosophy and political science. Her most recent books are Free Speech on Campus and Making up Our Mind: What School Choice is Really About with Mike Johanek.

Sherri Ann Charleston

Dr. Charleston serves as the first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CDIO) at Harvard University. She is one of the nation’s leading experts in diversity and higher education. Trained in U.S. history with a focus on race, women, gender, citizenship, and the law, Dr. Charleston is also an attorney with a specialization in constitutional and employment law. Her focus is on translating diversity and inclusion research into practice for students, staff, researchers, postdoctoral fellows and faculty of color. Most recently, she served as the Assistant Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Chief Affirmative Action Officer at the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison