Sukanya Pillay, a visiting professor at Windsor Law and Law Foundation of Ontario Scholar, has launched with a team of law students a weekly podcast which, in its first season, is covering how COVID-19 has affected issues around global justice.
Just Planet: Laws, Life and Global Crises explores the choices that contribute to crises including anti-black and anti-indigenous racism, exploitation of labour and resources, resulting extreme poverty and inequality, and spreading authoritarianism and ubiquitous surveillance.
“Before the pandemic hit this year, Canada and the rest of the world were facing the results of laws, policies, and agreements that created existential crises like climate change and global inequality,” says Prof. Pillay. “COVID-19 has only made it worse for those most afflicted.”
So far, she has interviewed international and Canadian experts including journalists, doctors, lawyers, researchers, and local activists on complex issues including extreme poverty, conflict in Syria, the global housing crises, spyware and malware, democracy and civil liberties in the United States, and the issues of migrant farm workers in Canada.
Starting a podcast can be daunting, but Windsor Law’s COVID-19 Expanded Research Assistant Program provided funding to hire four research assistants — Gideon Ampofo, Robin Goldber, Chris Hennigar, and Maya Koparkar — through the summer.
“By the time the students came on board this summer, I had taped the first batch of interviews, but they brought a whole new dimension of energy and aesthetic to the work,” says Pillay. “They undertook considerable research on Canadian and international laws to make sure each topic was presented accurately.”
No stranger to media herself, Pillay received her undergraduate degree in communication studies from the University of Windsor while working at CJAM campus radio and the Lance student newspaper before earning her law degree from Windsor Law. Her work with international and domestic organizations provided further expertise in litigation and in using media to advance human rights protections.
So far, listeners have tuned in from Canada, the United States, Syria, Australia, Nigeria, Holland, UK, Ireland, India, Japan, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. Episodes are released each Thursday anywhere listeners get their podcasts.