Law School Dean JoAnne Epps shares vision for diversity, inclusion
Epps accepted the 2016 Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity.
Amid an ongoing national dialogue about race relations, Temple’s Beasley School of Law Dean JoAnne A. Epps made an impassioned case for embracing diversity this month.
Epps delivered her speech in San Diego Feb. 6 as she accepted the 2016 Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. In her address, she implored others to rid society of incivility, to understand true diversity, to eradicate biases, and to better prioritize education for all, regardless of the neighborhoods in which children reside.
Epps accepted the award with three other recipients. It recognizes distinguished lawyers who foster a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession.
Dean of the Law School since 2008 and a faculty member since 1985, Epps was also recently recognized as one of the most 25 influential people in legal education by National Jurist magazine. She’s been named to the list every year since 2012.
“Diversity is not just ‘not a white male.’ Those who are physically disabled can be seen, but are too often overlooked,” she said in her speech. “But many of our differences, however, are hard to ‘see.’ Those fighting depression, survivors of sexual abuse, those struggling to decide whether to come out publicly as LGBTQ, or first generation college students who must balance on the one hand gratitude with a crushing weight of expectations on the other. These are people who offer valid perspectives—if we are open to receiving them. My point is that when we think about ‘other’ compared to the person next to us, we are all ‘an other.’ We are all different. We are all diverse.”