College of Law > About > News > racial-justice-initiative
November 17, 2022 /
Posted in: Faculty News /
The RJI will seek to have an impact in key areas at the intersection of
justice and community equity, such as policing, housing, economic opportunity, education, health and voting rights. It
have an interdisciplinary
focus on the legal system and public policy, particularly in Chicago and the State of Illinois.
to attack systems that perpetuate racial injustice
take actions to
build momentum for broader, scalable reform.
In Spring 2023, the RJI will hire student research assistants.
RJI students will work on local and state change campaigns and develop innovative and systemic strategies to advance racial justice for marginalized individuals and groups. Students will conduct legal and social science research and analysis, interview stakeholders and experts, draft legislation, plan events, and develop oral advocacy and public relations skills. “Ultimately, the RJI will prepare students to use their legal skills to develop and execute social change campaigns,” says Mate.
will seek to collaborate and build partnerships with stakeholders within
with community partners. The RJI
civic leaders, advocates, practicing attorneys, academics, residents impacted by racism and the broader public to gather input and explore solutions that will reduce racial inequities.
“It is our goal to create a space for communities of color to share their narrative experiences that intersect with race and law,” says Fleming.
The son of
immigrants from India,
holds a JD from Harvard Law School and a PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. He
brings significant legal and policy experience to
as RJI faculty director. He formerly served
Mayor Julián Castro in San Antonio, Texas, where he worked on
green jobs, sustainability,
energy and health policies, and led the creation of the city’s first Mayor’s Fitness Council. He
practiced election law and
worked on voting rights initiatives in California, including work for the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute for Law and Social Policy at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. “I am honored and excited to serve as the inaugural RJI faculty director and to work with our outstanding RJI fellow, Nathan Fleming; DePaul
colleagues and students; and community partners
Chicago and Illinois,” says Mate.
“The Initiative will advance racial justice through research, policy work and advocacy on equity issues impacting minority communities.”
Immediately after completing a joint program in law at Berkeley and in public policy at Harvard, Fleming served his hometown as DC’s Shadow U.S. Representative, an elected advocate for DC statehood and self-determination in Congress. He is currently completing his doctorate in higher education at the University of Pennsylvania. He is “impressed by how much is being done at the College of Law and University to advance racial justice,” and he looks “forward to working with all facets of the DePaul community to create meaningful change in vulnerable communities.”
For more information on the RJI, please email RJI Faculty Director Manoj Mate at
firstname.lastname@example.org or RJI Fellow Nathan Fleming at