Nowhere to Run to, Nowhere to Hide

Clinical Law Review, Vol. 28, P. 199 (2021).

U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 21-36

45 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2021

See all articles by Praveen Kosuri

Praveen Kosuri

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Lynnise Pantin

Columbia Law School

Date Written: Fall 2021

Abstract

As the COVID-19 global pandemic ravaged the United States, exacerbating the country’s existing racial disparities, Black and brown small business owners navigated unprecedented obstacles to stay afloat. Adding even more hardship and challenges, the United States also engaged in a nationwide racial reckoning in the wake of the murder of George Floyd resulting in wide-scale protests in the same neighborhoods that initially saw a disproportionate impact of COVID-19 and harming many of the same Black and brown business owners. These business owners had to operate in an environment in which they experienced recurring trauma, mental anguish and uncertainty, along with physical destruction of many of their businesses and communities. This essay looks at how the generation-defining events of 2020 and the first half of 2021 affected the landscape of operating a small business, particularly for Black small business owners in Philadelphia and New York, where the authors run transactional law clinics at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Columbia Law School. It goes on to describe how the pandemic and George Floyd protests affected their clinic students, clients, and themselves. The essay analyzes the events of the last year and a half in the historical context of past events of economic disruption and racial unrest. It concludes that a lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be the recognition of systemic racism and inequity that has persisted in American society for over 150 years and how it stunts Black and brown entrepreneurship.

Keywords: Clinical legal education, transactional law clinics, COVID-19 pandemic, new obstacles for black & brown small business owners, racial disparities, generation-defining events of 2020-2021, long-term systemic racism & inequity, economic disruption & racial unrest stunt black and brown entrepreneurship

Suggested Citation

Kosuri, Praveen and Pantin, Lynnise, Nowhere to Run to, Nowhere to Hide (Fall 2021). Clinical Law Review, Vol. 28, P. 199 (2021)., U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 21-36, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3966528

Praveen Kosuri (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Lynnise Pantin

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, 10027
United States

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