Letter From the Chair, Katherine Beckett

Submitted by Nicole Jamet on

Dear Friends of LSJ~

Greetings from LSJ! As we begin a new year, I am thrilled to announce the addition of a talented young scholar to our faculty. Morgan Vickers is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at UC Berkeley, where they study Black ecologies and geographies, environmental history and justice, property rights, and dispossession. Morgan will join the LSJ faculty this fall and will teach a large enrollment class on Race, Law, and Justice as well as small seminars on Reparations and Repair and Infrastructures of Exclusion. We are thrilled that Morgan will be joining our community, and grateful for the opportunities this will create for our students. 

We are also delighted that our abundant experiential learning opportunities are thriving. This year, we are offering two year-long practica. The first, taught by Professor Angelina Godoy, is called “Story Telling for Migrant Justice.” In it, students are compiling and sharing the stories of people facing deportation. These stories will eventually be published in an edited volume. And on March 3, the Seattle Rep is hosting a theatrical reading of testimonies of those deported through the King County airport. The event will take place at 5:30 PM, just before a 7:30 PM showing of their currently running play, "Sanctuary City." 

In addition, I am teaching the Juvenile Parole Project this year, in which students are working alongside volunteer attorneys and with the support of the Seattle Clemency Project to develop clemency and parole petitions for people who have been serving very long or life sentences, often for decades. We’ve also been able to revive our “mixed enrollment” book clubs. Led by Ann Frost, LSJ students and incarcerated readers meet together once a month to discuss great works of fiction at the Twin Rivers Unit (and, eventually, a King County work release facility). The ever-successful Philanthropy Lab will run, once again, this spring, this time focusing on youth-led social movements in Mexico and Central America. And over the next year, LSJ will offer five study abroad courses in places ranging from the United Kingdom and Amsterdam to Jamaica, Geneva, and New Zealand. 

It comes as something of a surprise to me that this is my last “letter from the chair,” as my five-year appointment as chair will end in June. I became Chair of LSJ in the summer of 2019, and much has transpired since that time. The pandemic was an extraordinarily challenging period in higher education, at UW, and in LSJ specifically. Like everyone everywhere, we struggled to stay motivated, to stay engaged, and to stay hopeful. And we have. It has been such an honor to work alongside such dedicated staff, educators, students, and alums, whose commitment to both learning and to justice are truly an inspiration. 

We think of our alums often and are so grateful for the opportunity to keep in touch and sometimes collaborate with you. As always, your support is greatly appreciated!

All best wishes,

Katherine Beckett