Protests in the US to address racial injustices sparked by the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other people of color have brought the stark realities of police brutality and systemic racism more broadly to the national fore. In the process, the need for scholarly literature to unpack the many layers of racial inequity present in all aspects of society has become ever apparent. Particularly in legal fields, there is also a pressing need for research proposing ways to approach criminal justice reform and public policy changes.
Many law reviews are responding to the call to expand the literature around racial inequities by organizing special issues on related topics, including the Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy. The journal is currently seeking submissions for a Spring special issue on the theme “race relations.” In the interview below, KJLPP’s Editor in Chief Jared Jevons shares more details about the upcoming special issue and how the journal is working to create a forum for innovative public policy solutions.
JJ: The goal of our Spring Issue is to provide a bona fide dialogue on systemic racial inequality following the recent police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others. The decision to feature articles addressing racial inequality in our Spring Issue was inspired by the racial justice protests seen in America this year. As a public policy journal, we are compelled to participate in this public policy discussion.
JJ: Articles related to Black Lives Matter are welcome, but so too are articles confronting broader issues of racial inequality in the US. These articles might include a discussion of white privilege, anti-racism, structural racism, criminal justice reform, or other topics that seek to achieve racial equity.
On the KJLPP website it says that the first goal of the journal “was, and remains, to prompt policymakers and scholars to address policy issues left unaddressed.” In what ways do you think race relations remains unaddressed in current legal scholarship?
JJ: More legal scholarship with public policy solutions is needed to inform legislators, judges, educators, and voters of potential avenues for change. By featuring articles of this nature in our Spring Issue, we seek to facilitate the public policy discussion surrounding racial inequality; especially, as our collective conscious better understands the ways in which our institutions perpetuate inequality. In our thirty years of publishing, KJLPP has sought to be a forum where readers can find new, unique, and informed solutions to systemic problems — our mindset remains the same today. Bringing forth public policy solutions can lead to substantive changes in our country, and KJLPP is excited to be a part of the change.
In what ways is KJLPP working to create a forum open to different solutions to public policy issues covered in this special issue and more broadly?
JJ: We create an open forum in several ways. First, we consider analytical and provocative articles written by law students, professors, lawyers, scholars, and public officials. Second, we seek contributions from scholars and authors with expertise from all practices of law. Third, we seek contributions containing a contemporary discourse on judicial decisions, legislation, and other legal and social issues. Doing all of this allows us to reach a broad audience of decision-makers and intellectually curious individuals. Furthermore, it allows us to create an open forum to different solutions to public policy issues.