Maryland Carey Law launches Gibson-Banks Center for Race and the Law

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(l-r) Professor Larry Gibson, Dean Renée Hutchins, Professor Emeritus Taunya Banks, Professor Michael Pinard 

The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law has launched a new center to advance racial justice through education, advocacy, and research. The Gibson-Banks Center for Race and the Law is named in honor of Maryland Carey Law professors  Larry Gibson and Taunya Lovell Banks, the first Black man and Black woman to become tenured professors at the law school. The announcement was made on Sept. 24 at Maryland Carey Law’s 5th Black Law Alumni Reunion, which has taken place every five years since 2003. 

The overarching aim of the center is to improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities impacted by historical and modern-day racial and intersectional oppression. The center will engage in these efforts in partnership with a diverse array of stakeholders in Baltimore, the state of Maryland, and throughout the United States, including individuals and communities directly impacted by inequality and injustice, as well as organizations committed to racial and economic justice. 

“The Gibson-Banks Center for Race and the Law is a vital addition to our law school and to the community,” said Maryland Carey Law Dean Renée M. Hutchins. “The center will provide a critical space for scholarship, engagement, and action on issues of race and the law. It will also serve as a resource for students, lawyers, and community members who are working to advance racial justice. The beauty of this center is that it will be a convener of all the relevant voices so we can get to the best solutions.” 

The Gibson-Banks Center is led by Michael Pinard, the Francis & Harriet Iglehart Professor of Law, a nationally recognized expert on issues related to race and the criminal legal system who will serve as the center’s inaugural faculty director. 

“I am honored to direct the Gibson-Banks Center for Race and the Law,” said Pinard. “The center’s overall focus and vision is to work with community stakeholders to improve the lives of those harmed by historical and modern-day racial and intersectional oppression. We look forward to engaging the issues thoroughly, expansively, and tenaciously.” 

The Gibson-Banks Center will offer a variety of programs and initiatives in the areas of education and engagement, advocacy, and research.  

Programming will include courses, workshops, and community conversations on race and the law. Advocacy work will center on litigation in state and federal courts and agencies; promoting policy and legislative change at the local, state, and federal levels; and authoring amicus briefs in cases of local, state, and national importance. The center’s research arm will include legal scholarship on race and intersectionality as well as policy and evidence-based research that will provide insights and data related to racial and intersectional marginalization. Maryland Carey Law faculty, affiliated faculty, and center fellows will conduct the expansive research. 

Maryland Carey Law alumnus, the Honorable William H. “Billy” Murphy ’69, has made a $1 million commitment to help build a solid foundation for the center. 

“We are so grateful to Billy for supporting the Gibson-Banks Center for Race and the Law,” said Hutchins. “With his support, we have the opportunity to make a profound impact in advancing racial justice in Baltimore, Maryland, and beyond.” 

To give to the Gibson-Banks Center for Race and the Law, visit the center’s giving page.