In the early morning of March 13, 2020, Louisville police entered Breonna Taylor’s home on a no-knock warrant, shot her six times, and killed her. At age twenty-six, Breonna Taylor became one of the many Black lives our country has lost at the hands of police violence.

The Georgetown Law Journal is committed to advancing antiracist scholarship and addressing social injustice in all forms. In support of this mission, the Journal is introducing the Breonna Taylor Prize for excellence in student scholarship on issues of social justice. This annual award recognizes the best student Note the Journal receives each year on a social justice issue. The winning Note will be published in an issue of The Georgetown Law Journal, and the author will receive a $500 donation made in their name to a social justice organization of the author’s choice. By awarding this prize annually, the Journal will ensure we say Breonna Taylor’s name for years to come.

The Journal’s full press release introducing the award is available here.

Volume 110 Breonna Taylor Prize Winner:

From ‘Hearing’ to Listening: Access to Justice & Indirect Displacement

The Georgetown Law Journal is proud to announce that the Volume 110 recipient of the Breonna Taylor Prize is Emily McWey, for her Note “From ‘Hearing’ to Listening: Access to Justice & Indirect Displacement.” The Note addresses the due process issues that arise when government zoning policy acts to gentrify neighborhoods and displace residents, and the recourse available to those residents is to seek justice from the same government, now acting as adjudicator. It does so by focusing on the H-street neighborhood of Washington, D.C., and telling the story of pro se plaintiff and longtime H-street resident Sharon Cole, who sought justice through the available legal process and was denied a meaningful opportunity to be heard.

The Note makes a compelling case that the process available to displaced longtime D.C. residents is fundamentally insufficient to defend these communities against indirect displacement and resulting homelessness caused by zoning-induced gentrification. The Note advocates further studies on local community experiences with indirect displacement to promote awareness of the issue, create more accurate understanding of the relationship between gentrification and displacement, mitigate the impact of bias, and facilitate access-to-justice interventions among policymakers and nongovernmental organizations. Read the Note in full here.

The Journal‘s full press release announcing the Volume 110 award is available here.

Volume 109 Breonna Taylor Prize Winner:

Forced Betting the Farm: How Historic Preservation Law Fails Poor and Nonwhite Communities

The Volume 109 recipient of the Breonna Taylor Prize is Alden Fletcher, for his Note Forced Betting the Farm: How Historic Preservation Law Fails Poor and Nonwhite Communities. The Note discusses historic preservation law in the context of the redevelopment fight over the D.C. neighborhood Barry Farm. The piece argues that historic preservation law is inadequately structured to protect and preserve properties associated with poor and nonwhite communities. It does so by closely examining the efforts of Barry Farm tenants to have their homes historically designated, and it shows how current law placed unnecessary barriers in their path. As a remedy, the Note recommends removing physicality requirements from historic preservation laws. Read the Note in full here.