As the stories in this newsletter make plain, the Law, Societies, and Justice Program continues to thrive, most notably by inspiring our students to do outstanding work and to engage meaningfully with the wider world. I have the great privilege of bearing witness to this on a daily basis, but you can see it through reading these stories.
A group of our honors students, for example, spent two quarters determining just how many juveniles are held in adult jails in the state of Washington. Their research, by far the most extensive ever done on the topic, will be used by Columbia Legal Services in their efforts to address juvenile justice policy. As one student said about the challenging but rewarding course: “The reason I came to college was for experiences like this.”
This year, for the first time, two of our students interned at the Innocence Project Northwest. Run from the UW Law School, the effort seeks to free wrongfully convicted individuals. The work, unsurprisingly, proved very meaningful for senior Jessica Gonzales. She said: “This is a great opportunity whether you’re interested in criminal laws or any other issue because this gives you the opportunity to go in depth on how the laws of the United States work, and how it impacts not only a specific person, but their entire family. This is something that I think impacts us all in society.”
Others of our interns found equally meaningful work, including some who focused on immigration-related issues. Yuridia Equihua, for example, worked for a law firm that seeks to assist those with issues connected to their migrant status. “You’re dealing with real people’s lives,” Equihua said of working with immigrants. “It’s a completely different experience.”
LSJ prides itself on providing students with precisely these types of life-changing experiences. This is made possible by my devoted faculty colleagues and, increasingly, by our devoted alumni, as well. We deeply welcome any support that comes from our alumni community, in whatever form it might take. That support matters greatly, especially when it helps our students direct their energies toward becoming active and consequential citizens. Such transformations occur daily around here, and help perpetuate the legacy of LSJ of which you are a part.