Diversity & Inclusion

Professor Paula Johnson Featured on Frontline Episode on Wharlest Jackson Sr.

Paula Johnson

Syracuse, NY | February 4, 2022) Syracuse University College of Law Professor Paula Johnson will appear on an episode of Frontline entitled “American Reckoning” on February 15, 2022. The episode examines the unsolved 1960s bombing murder of NAACP and civil rights leader Wharlest Jackson Sr., offering rarely seen footage filmed more than 50 years ago.

“American Reckoning” examines Black opposition to racist violence in Mississippi, spotlighting a little-known armed resistance group called the Deacons for Defense and Justice, woven alongside the Jackson family’s decades-long search for justice amid the ongoing federal effort to investigate civil rights area cold cases. 

The episode airs at 10 p.m. EDT on February 15, 2022, on PBS and YouTube, and will be available for streaming. View the “American Reckoning” trailer, learn more about the program in this press release, and see further Frontline viewing options and information.

Johnson was tapped for the episode due to her work as Director of the Cold Case Justice Initiative (CCJI) at the College of Law and her ongoing work on the Wharlest Jackson case. CCJI conducts investigations and research on unresolved cases, offers academic courses, public forums, and other special events, and serves as a clearinghouse for sharing and receiving information on active cases. College of Law student members of CCJI were also interviewed for the episode. 

Johnson and CCJI students work with the Jackson family in sponsoring the Wharlest and Exerlena Jackson Legacy Project, which commemorates the legacies of Wharlest Jackson, Sr. and his wife Exerlena, and their contributions and ultimate sacrifices for racial justice, educational and employment opportunity, voting rights, and full participation in United States society.  The program includes speakers, and workshops for high school and junior high school students, parents, educators, and the public. The program will take place on April 1-2, 2022, on Zoom.  Further details will be available here.  Inquiries can be sent to The Jackson Legacy Project.   

October 2020: Progress on Campus Commitments

THURSDAY, OCT. 29, 2020
Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:I begin today’s monthly update on our Campus Commitments with an important reminder to participate in the Campus Climate Pulse Survey. If you have already participated, thank you for taking the time to share your concerns and recommendations about how this university is doing in terms of equity, diversity, accessibility and inclusion.If you have not yet completed the survey, please take time to answer the questions. Here’s how to complete the survey:Students:MySlice Portal: Click on the “Share Your SU Experience” button.Syr.edu Email: Click the survey link included in the weekly emails sent to you on Tuesdays from Damon A. Williams.Faculty and Staff:Syr.edu Email: Click the survey link included in the weekly emails sent to you on Wednesdays from Damon A. Williams.The survey will be live through tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 30. Your responses are critical to helping the University understand the diverse experiences of students, faculty and staff and how to foster an environment that is welcoming for all.We continue to progress on our commitments to our #NotAgainSU students, international students, Jewish students and Indigenous students. Here are updates to the Campus Commitments through Sept. 30:In the University’s expansion of funding for need-based and culturally based scholarships by $5 million, a total of $4.1 million has been raised so far. The following are included in the funding that has been raised.o   An initiative is underway to grow the Our Time Has Come scholarship endowment from $5 million to $10 million. Through donor gifts, the fund has increased to $7.1 million since spring 2020.
o   In addition to the Kessler Presidential Scholars Program award of $1 million, the University has also received $1 million for the Lotman Book Award. Both of these funds are directed at first-generation students.The fall 2020 cohort of resident advisors has a range of fluency in a second language. Thirty percent are fluent or proficient in a second language, other than English, and 8 percent are fluent or proficient in three languages, including English. At least one student is fluent or proficient in one of 16 different languages.Academic scholarships for international students, which have been provided to incoming students for the past seven years, continue to be awarded. Invest in Success Scholarships have been awarded to international students this year, for the third year in a row. The Syracuse University Greater China Scholarship has also awarded scholarships this year, for a third year. A goal has been established to grow the Greater China Scholarship fund from $250,000 to $1 million in the current campaign.Syracuse Hillel and the STOP Bias program have partnered to develop an anti-Semitism education and prevention training. A run-through of the final presentation of the anti-Semitism training was held on Sept. 9. Twenty-five students will be able to participate in the pilot session.Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and her team held virtual town halls last week to receive feedback on a proposed framework for the University’s Public Safety Community Review Board, and an update will be provided soon.Earlier this month, University leadership committed to addressing concerns put forth by Indigenous students, totaling seven new commitments. Those commitments are in progress, and updates will be shared in upcoming messages.Other notable events and progress toward our goals over the past month have included the following.A community discussion was held with Ibram X. Kendi, Ph.D., one of America’s foremost historians and leading anti-racist voices, about critical social issues on Oct. 21. The event was presented by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Hendricks Chapel and The Lender Center for Social Justice.The University announced a permanent installation on campus that acknowledges its relationship with the Onondaga Nation. The University is working with the Indigenous Students at Syracuse (ISAS), Native Student Program, Ongwehonwe Alumni Association and Haudenosaunee/Indigenous alumni representatives on this special recognition.We are making strides; we are making a positive difference. Again, please take the Campus Climate Pulse Survey, which will help in efforts to elevate our shared work toward ensuring an equitable campus experience for all.Sincerely,Keith A. Alford 
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer