Five students—Isiah Ellison, JD/MBA Class of 2023, and Natalie Graves, Elle Hashimoto, Miles Malbrough and Kate Uyeda of the Class of 2022—worked throughout the 2020-21 academic year to lay the groundwork for the journal as members of the New Journal Student Committee. Ellison will lead the editorial team in the coming year, and Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Community Yesha Yadav will be its faculty adviser.
“I am delighted to announce the launch of the Social Justice Reporter, which will provide a visible, accessible and impactful hub for leading scholarship, dialogue and debate on social justice, civil rights and public interest lawyering at this critical juncture in our nation’s history,” Yadav said. “We look forward to ensuring that this journal provides a platform for top scholars, practitioners, activists and students as they wrestle with some of the most challenging and consequential issues of the day.”
VLS issued a call this spring to recruit rising 2Ls and 3Ls interested in joining the journal’s inaugural editorial staff. “I encourage any VLS students who are interested in working with us to launch this exciting new journal to apply, “ Ellison said. “We are looking for students who are passionate about social justice, public interest and civil rights who are willing to work fluidly as a part of a small team that also includes faculty and staff and to commit to serving on the journal’s staff throughout the next academic year.”
As currently planned, the Social Justice Reporter will be published online and feature a mix of scholarship, short essays and opinion pieces.
“This new journal would not have been possible without the initiative, vision, dedication and hard work of an extraordinarily talented group of students. I would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Isiah Ellison, Natalie Graves, Elle Hashimoto, Miles Malbrough and Kate Uyeda for forming the New Journal Student Committee and devoting so much time and care to building a solid framework for this new journal. Their work highlights the enormous reserve of talent, enthusiasm and creativity at Vanderbilt that we hope will make the Social Justice Reporter a truly world-class and impactful publication in the years to come,” Yadav said.
The Social Justice Reporter takes its name from the storied Race Relations Law Reporter, a pioneering social justice journal launched at Vanderbilt in 1956 and funded by $200,000 grant from the Ford Foundation. The RRLR was published until 1972 to wide readership. The statutes, court decisions, administrative rulings and other legal developments related to race and the law published in the RRLR influenced legislation and jurisprudence.
“I am excited to build on the legacy of the Race Relations Reporter, and I am deeply grateful to the students and faculty who have developed this new journal.” said Chris Guthrie, Dean and John Wade-Kent Syverud Professor of Law.
Yadav and Ellison hope to have the inaugural editorial staff of the Social Justice Reporter in place by fall 2022.