Bankruptcy Judge Mark Randon, who sits on the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, will deliver the keynote address at The PuLSE Institute Forum on Bankruptcy and Poverty, an online public forum, which will take place on Tuesday, May 25 from 5:30pm-7pm. The theme of the virtual program to examine how the bankruptcy system can grant relief from debt from people who are economically disadvantaged is “Is the Court System Accessible to Low-Income Families?” The forum is free and open to the public and tickets can be obtained through the eventbrite link https://www.eventbrite.com/e/federal-bankruptcy-judge-to-keynote-pulse-forum-on-bankruptcy-poverty-tickets-152142144249.
Judge Randon will speak about whether the system can be enhanced to address the debilitating impact of poverty as well as the power that bankruptcy judges have to ensure a fair system of jurisprudence for those who appear before them. His address is coming at a time when there is an ongoing national debate about the state of the federal bankruptcy system, and how the unaffordability of attorneys presents a series of challenges for individuals who are impoverished but need to access the bankruptcy system.
Following the keynote address, nationally renowned journalist and culture critic Bankole Thompson, the editor-in-chief and dean of The PuLSE Institute, will moderate a Q&A interview with Judge Randon about issues that are at the center of the debate around debt relief including commitment of the legal profession to help poverty-stricken families in bankruptcy court. Thompson is a twice-a-week opinion columnist at The Detroit News.
A 1992 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, Randon, is currently the only African American judge serving in the Detroit Federal Bankruptcy Court. After graduating from law school, he worked as a labor and employment attorney for Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, and then for Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone PLC, before becoming counsel for United Technologies Automotive.
In 2001, Randon became the youngest individual to be appointed as a state of Michigan district court judge when he was appointed to the 36th District Court. He served as a 36th District Court Judge from 2001-2009. In July 2009, he was sworn in as a magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. He served in that position until his appointment as a United States Bankruptcy Judge in 2014.
Judge Randon is an Adjunct Bankruptcy Law Professor at the University of Detroit Law School and Western Michigan Cooley Law School. He also taught Criminal Justice at Wayne State University. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the Federal Bar Association, and the Association of Black Judges of Michigan.
A national independent and non-partisan anti-poverty think tank headquartered in Detroit and commonly referred to as Detroit’s anti-poverty think tank, The PuLSE Institute, has a National Advisory Panel made up of leaders and thinkers who are invested in the fight against global poverty, inequality and racial injustice including Dr. Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Bernard Lafayette, National Coordinator of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign under civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Weiner, former White House spokesman, Sister Simone Campbell, a leading anti-poverty crusader in the American Catholic community, Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr., Presiding Bishop Emeritus of the Church of God in Christ, the largest Black Christian denomination in America etc.
The Institute has an Academy of Fellows program, that brings together diverse individuals from various backgrounds who have a commitment to social justice. The fellows come from the community, government, academia, all with a commitment to address inequality.
The Institute’s online speaker series program deals with issues from poverty to criminal justice reform that features an array of speakers including activists, thought leaders, policy makers and public officials whose work reflect the push for anti-poverty policies and reforming our system of justice. The Institute believes there is a moral necessity for these reforms to take place now especially in the era of the racial justice movements pricking the conscience of our nation and the world.
Most recently Dr. Natalia Kanem, the United Nations Under-Secretary General delivered a keynote address at The PuLSE Institute on women, poverty and the pandemic.