MLK Forum

The annual Chicago-Kent MLK Jr. Forum was established in 2016 to raise awareness about social justice issues impacting various communities in Chicago and beyond, identify potential causes of those issues and solutions and end with a call to action. Managing diversity equity and inclusion requires a sustained commitment. We must all play an active role in dismantling systemic oppression as a barrier to equity and justice.

This forum was originally inspired by student concerns in 2015 about the need to engage in sensitive yet critical conversations following the Laquan McDonald shooting and other highly publicized police shootings that were occurring around the country. As an institution, we want to acknowledge our responsibility to provide our students with a holistic educational experience.

2022 MLK Forum

The Intersection of the Criminal Justice System and the Education System: Transforming Schools to Protect our Youth

7th Annual MLK Jr. Forum - January 20, 2021

This VIRTUAL event, which is a collaboration between Chicago-Kent College of Law and Represent Justice, will start with a documentary film screening of "On These Grounds" followed by a short break and a panel discussion with legal experts, activists, and local leaders.

The event is also co-hosted by the Chicago-Kent Law Library and Chicago-Kent student organizations ACLU, ACS, APALSA, BLSA, Criminal Law Society, DALSA, HLLSA, Lambdas, MLSA, NLG, PACCK, REAA, Women in Law, and SBA.

 Register to receive the link to the documentary film screening and/or the panel discussion here:


7th Annual MLK Forum - Panelist Graphic


- Vivian Anderson, Founder of EveryBlackGirl, featured in documentary film "On These Grounds"
- Dana Butler, retired Chicago Public Schools Principal and Field Service Specialist, Illinois Principals Association
- Stacy Davis Gates, Vice President of the Chicago Teachers Union 
- Niya Kenny, Student featured in documentary film "On These Grounds"
- Nancy Krent, Law Professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law and Loyola University School of Law
- Michelle Mbekeani, Senior Legal & Policy Advisor for Justice Reform in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office

Past MLK Forums

Moving From Equity Talks to Action: Ways to Walk the Talk 

6th Annual MLK Jr. Forum - January 22, 2021


  • Leslie A Hairston, 5th Ward Alderman, City of Chicago
  • Lotika Pai, Managing Director, Access to Capital at Women's Business Development Center
  • Hannah R. Walsh, Employment Rights Helpline Attorney at Equip for Equality
  • Jessica Estrada & Roxanne Smith, Communities United


Equality without Equity, A Roadblock to Justice

5th Annual MLK Jr. Forum - January 24, 2020 


  • Dr. Helene D. Gayle, President and CEO, the Chicago Community Trust
  • Maurice Cox, Commissioner for Planning and Development, City of Chicago
  • Toi Hutchinson, Senior Advisor for Cannabis Control, State of Illinois


Legal Racism: How Inequities Created by the Law Can be Eliminated by the Law

4th Annual MLK Jr. Forum - January 24, 2019


  • Erika K. Wilson, Thomas Willis Lambeth Distinguished Chair in Public Policy & Associate Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law
  • Sidney Dillard, Partner, Head of Corporate Investment Banking Division, Loop Capital
  • Candace Moore, Senior Staff Attorney, Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights
  • Michael Seng, Director, Fair Housing Legal Support Center & Clinic, The John Marshall Law School


The Impact of Hate Speech on Our Community

3rd Annual MLK Jr. Forum - January 18, 2018


  • Amanda Antholt, Senior Attorney, Equip for Equality
  • Becky Carroll, President and CEO, C-Strategies LLC
  • Steven Heyman, Professor of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • Julie Justicz, Program Development Counsel, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
  • Norman White, Hate Crimes Victim Advocate, City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations


Restorative Justice: Where the Law and Community Meet

2nd Annual MLK Jr. Forum - January 19, 2017 


  • Emmanuel Andre, Attorney, Lawndale Christian Legal Center
  • Randall Roberts, Compliance Officer, Maryville Academy
  • Honorable Colleen F. Sheehan, Circuit Court Judge, Juvenile Justice Division in Cook County, IL
  • Robert Spicer, CEO at Restorative Strategies, LLC
  • Ifran Zafran Walden, COO, Umoja Student Development Corporation
  • Vanessa Westley, CAPs Program Manager, Chicago Police Department
  • Jeramey Winfield, Restorative Justice Practitioner, Lawndale Christian Legal Center 


Civil Rights and the Chicago Police Department

1st Annual MLK Jr. Forum - January 21, 2016 


  • Daniel Coyne, Clinical Professor of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • Martin Gould, Romanucci & Blandin, LLC
  • David A. Harris, Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
  • Jeanette Samuels, Samuels & Associates, Ltd.
  • Karen Sheley, American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois
  • Matt Topic, Loevy & Loevy