The Chronicle of Higher Education
July 20th, 2015
Justin Hansford lives 10 minutes from
Ferguson, Mo., where last summer a white policeman shot and killed
Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. The incident set off months of
protests, as people from all walks of life took a stand against police
Mr. Hansford, an assistant professor of law at Saint Louis
University, just back from a conference in Washington, was among them.
When he joined the law faculty at the university, in 2011, it never
occurred to him to cast his causes aside: "I was an activist before I
was a scholar, you could say."
In the months since the unrest in Ferguson, Mr. Hansford has become a
well-known face in the Black Lives Matter movement. He has served as a
legal observer during protests, was once arrested and jailed overnight,
and was a key organizer of #FergusonToGeneva,
a delegation that frames police violence in the United States as a
human-rights issue worthy of global attention. Mr. Hansford and others
in the group accompanied Michael Brown’s family to Geneva in November to
testify before the United Nations Committee Against Torture.