Student Organizations Host Social Justice Week
Georgia State Law students focused on the topic of social justice during their second annual Social Justice Week from Oct. 23-26 with multiple events throughout the week to help tackle important social issues and come together to advocate for change in our community and nationwide.
The week begin with a discussion co-hosted by American Constitution Society and the Black Law Students Association on “History or Hate: Discussion on the Removal of Confederate Monuments,” and included information on the history of these monuments and arguments on both sides. Speakers included Professor Ryan Rowberry, Lula Gilliam from the NAACP Atlanta and Sara Patenaude from Hate Free Decatur.
Later that evening Public Interest Law Association and the Family Law Society presented “Underrepresented and Navigating Through the Education System,” a panel that addressed how poverty, race, immigration status, and disability can effect a parent and child’s ability to access the education to which they are entitled.
On Tuesday, author Richard Rothstein presented his latest book, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, which outlines the ways in which racial segregation resulted from flawed urban planning and policy decisions that promoted discriminatory patterns still in place today. The Black Law Students Association and National Lawyers Guild co-hosted the event.
The Jewish Law Students Association, National Lawyers Guild and Muslim Law Society held “#50StatesAgainstHate: Efforts to Establish Hate Crime Legislation in Georgia.” Shelley Rose, senior associate regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, discussed how students can help push for a hate crimes law in Georgia, along with the legislation is needed and what the draft bill covers.
Georgia is only of one of five states in our country without a hate crimes law. The Anti-Defamation League’s #50StatesAgainstHate campaign has put pressure on the Georgia General Assembly to introduce and pass a hate crimes bill. At the event, students were given a sample letter to send to their legislators.
The American Constitution Society, Sports and Entrainment Law Society and the Black Law Students Association held “Taking a Knee for Justice.” Panelists included civil rights attorney Mawuli Davis (J.D.’02), NFL agent Mitchell Moorer, and First Amendment expert Derek Bauer. The panelists begin with Collin Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee during the national anthem. They also brought up the history of athletes expressing political views and receiving negative backlash.
“While athletes may not have First Amendment rights in respect to their job’s as athletes, students on public campuses do and public campuses are an important forum for the right to protest” Bauer said in answering questions on how politics in athletes and protests on college campuses relate,
“From Law School to Public Service,” a panel organized by the Latinx and Caribbean Law Student Association, featured Rep. Beth Beskin, Jason Carter, and Judge Dax Lopez talking about what influenced them to run for public office and how the law has helped them in their profession.
The panelists also discussed their journey to public office, their time in service, and steps law students should take if they have a desire to serve in a public capacity. The best advice the panel left with the law students was on what steps to take now to prepare for running for office later. “We live in a digital world and everything stays on there, this can impact everything you do,” said Judge Lopez.
Rep. Beskin encouraged students to “get out there and meet people” the first step in gaining people’s trust is to meet them.