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CUNY Sociologist Tsedale Melaku to Deliver Smith Lecture at W&L Law The title of her talk is “From Intersectionality to Allyship: Bridging the Gaps.”

tsedale-726x533 CUNY Sociologist Tsedale Melaku to Deliver Smith Lecture at W&L LawDr. Tsedale M. Melaku

Tsedale Melaku will deliver the annual Leslie Devan Smith, Jr. Lecture at W&L Law this April. The title of her talk is “From Intersectionality to Allyship: Bridging the Gaps.” The lecture is scheduled for Thursday, April 4 at 1:00 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee University. The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Tsedale M. Melaku is a sociologist and an assistant professor of management at the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College (CUNY). She is the author of “You Don’t Look Like a Lawyer: Black Women and Systemic Gendered Racism” (2019). The book reflects the emphasis of her scholarly interests in race, gender, class, workplace inequities, systemic racism, intersectionality, organizations and diversity. “You Don’t Look Like a Lawyer” was selected for the 2020 Eastern Sociological Society (ESS) and Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) Author Meets Critics book salons.

As part of her visit, Dr. Melaku also will participate in a panel discussion about her book on April 3. This event will be held in the main reading room of the law library and is scheduled to begin at 5:45 p.m. following a reception.

Dr. Melaku’s work focuses on how race and gender affect advancement in traditionally white institutional spaces, and how white racial framing and systemic gendered racism play a critical role in the experiences of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and more specifically, BIPOC women in organizations. Dr. Melaku investigates how institutional practices perpetuate structures of racial and gender inequality that create barriers for Black professionals. She is particularly interested in the intersection of race, gender, and class and how they jointly operate on the experiences of Black women in the workplace. She earned a Ph.D. and M.Phil. in Sociology from The Graduate Center, City University of New York, and a B.A. in Sociology and Africana Studies from New York University.

Dr. Melaku is a sought-after speaker on the topic of systemic racism, intersectionality, gender inequities, and allyship in organizations. Dr. Melaku’s recent book and articles have garnered international attention, with features in the Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg Law, CBS News, TODAY Show, Inside Higher Ed, The Boston Globe, Forbes, Fortune, Teen Vogue and various other outlets.

The annual Smith Lecture is named in honor of Leslie Devan Smith, who graduated from the law school in 1969 and was the law school’s first African American graduate. In 2019, the Law School unveiled a new installation in Lewis Hall that celebrates Smith’s life and legacy. The display, located in the lobby outside the Millhiser Moot Court Room, tells the story of Smith’s arrival in Lexington, his many accomplishments as a student, and his all-too-short career with the U.S. Department of Justice before his tragic passing.