UM Center for Air and Space Law to Host Seminar on Race

OXFORD, Miss. – The Center for Air and Space Law, part of the University of Mississippi School of Law, is hosting a free online discussion of “Race in Space: A Conversation about Equality and Civil Rights” on Thursday (June 18).

Set for 10 to 11:15 a.m., the webinar will feature experts discussing race from different perspectives and offering suggestions as to how all individuals can fight against systemic racism. Anyone interested in attending can register at

The discussion is hosted by Michelle Hanlon, co-director of the Center for Air and Space Law and co-founder of For All Moonkind, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting human heritage in space.

“Recent events give us all pause to consider equality and justice,” Hanlon said. “As we lay the groundwork for a spacefaring and multiplanetary future, we cannot ignore the racism that seems so difficult to eradicate at a societal level.

“Indeed, we must address it and work together to end it.”

Guest speakers for the webinar are Jarard Williams, a recent Ole Miss law graduate who will share his research on black representation in space; Yvette Butler, a new UM law faculty member who will discuss the state of race in the U.S., how to promote equality and how to prevent the extension of racism with humans into space; and Kevin Myrick, co-founder of Synergy Moon, an official Google Lunar XPRIZE team, who will discuss how space can help race relations and promote justice and racial equality on Earth.

“From the displacement and murder of indigenous people, the dehumanization of black people through slavery, institutionalizing white supremacy and black inferiority through the ‘black codes’ to the ‘othering’ and disenfranchisement of Asian Americans and Latino/as, all the way to the ways we recognize and handle discrepancies in housing, education, incarceration and employment between whites and nonwhites, racism is a part of our national and global culture,” Butler said.

“I want people to walk away from this webinar ready to confront the ways we need to tackle inequity and oppression in all its forms, so we make Earth a better place and don’t bring these issues to space with us.”

The webinar is also sponsored by For All Moonkind and SpaceWatch.Global, a Switzerland-based digital publication for those interested in the impact of the space sector.

“The bottom line is that diversity fuels humanity’s greatest achievements,” Hanlon said. “The purpose of this webinar is to take the first steps to assuring that we do not continue to miss the many opportunities diversity affords.”