"As societies build walls of separation between communities,
ICAAD works to remove each brick to illuminate our common humanity"

Lesley Wexler, JD

 

Professor Lesley Wexler joined the Illinois Law School faculty in fall 2010, teaching torts, laws of war and international environmental law. Before coming to Illinois, Professor Wexler taught at the Florida State University College of Law. Prior to teaching at Florida State, she spent two years at the University of Chicago Law School as a Bigelow Fellow and Lecturer on Law.

Professor Wexler has broad research interests in international humanitarian law, human rights law, and sex discrimination. Professor Wexler specializes in those legal areas that reflect the movement of anti-discrimination and humanitarian norms through domestic law, international law, social movements, and corporations. She has written on the legitimacy of targeting decisions, the blood diamond trade, and the regulation of depleted uranium and landmines, along with a series of articles on human rights impact statements. Her work has drawn on case studies using DeBeers, Wal-Mart, and Chik-fil-A.

Professor Wexler earned her B.A. with honors from the University of Michigan and her J.D. with honors from the University of Chicago Law School. While in law school, she served on the board of both the Chicago International Law Journal and theChicago Legal Forum.

Professor Wexler has clerked for Judge Thomas Reaveley of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She has also clerked for Judge William Wayne Justice on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. She worked for two law firms: Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood (Chicago, Washington D.C.) as well as Wilmer Cutler & Pickering (Washington D.C.).

Lesley served on ICAAD’s Board of Directors from 2013-2015.

#RaiseYourShield

This Civil Rights and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’d like to challenge you to reflect on how fear may have influenced your opinions, especially of others, and to take a step towards the courage to overcome those fears. Why the focus on fear you might ask?

Famed marketer and author Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why” outlines six typical manipulations used in sales and marketing, one of which is the use of fear. On fear, Sinek says, “When fear is being employed, facts are incidental. Deeply seated in our biological drive to survive, that emotion cannot be quickly wiped away with facts and figures.”

In the current political atmosphere, in the U.S. and around the globe, fear is often used by politicians and campaigners to polarize debates and to demonize marginalized communities, using them as scapegoats for the real economic, social, and political challenges that societies face.

Martin Luther King, Jr. understood how important fear is, so much so that he gave a sermon on it named “Antidotes for Fear.” It’s worth reading in its entirety, especially because it recognizes the importance, necessity, and creativity of fear (kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/draft-chapter-xiv-mastery-fear-or-antidotes-fear). However, particularly pertinent section was highlighted by King’s wife Coretta Scott King in her book “My life with Martin Luther King, Jr”:

“First Martin spoke of the many kinds of fear that troubled men and women in this period of change and "calamitous uncertainty"— fear of illness or economic disaster, fear of personal inadequacy in our highly competitive society. More terrible was the fear of death, even racial annihilation, in this atomic age, when the whole world teetered on "a balance of terror . . . fearful lest some diplomatic faux pas ignite a frightful holocaust."

"Some fears are normal and necessary," he said, like the fear of snakes in a jungle, but when they become neurotic and unchecked, they paralyze the will and reduce a man to apathy or despair. He quoted Emerson, who wrote, "He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear."

How, then, to overcome fear? First, Martin said, "We must un-flinchingly face our fears . . . this confrontation will, to some measure, grant us power. . . . "Second, we can master fear through one of the supreme virtues known to man— courage . . . courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.”"

MLK Coretta Scott King Simon Sinek
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