At the Brandeis Center we are thrilled to be launching an important, brand new initiative: law student chapters at select law schools throughout the United States. The new chapters will advance the organization’s mandate to combat campus anti-Semitism through legal means. This news is absolutely exhilarating because there are law students throughout the United States who wants to help with us with our mission to advance the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and promote justice for all.
LDB President, Kenneth L. Marcus, points out in our newly produced short film, The Louis D. Brandeis Center: For Human Rights Under Law, that the crucial aspects of the law chapter initiative is that it is a “vehicle for law students to get together to see what’s going on their campus and other campuses throughout their region, to get the training they need to address it, to educate undergraduates, and to take a leading role on their campus and their part of the country, to advance the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and promote justice for all.” Everybody that is concerned about justice should be a part of these chapters, which are not just for Jewish students. The new film, by the way, is discussed by Eesha Bhave elsewhere at this blog.
There will be various programs included in the LDB Law student chapter. With the Louis D. Brandeis Center’s help and the student leadership, LDB student chapters will host speaker events, lead discussions, and conduct advocacy-orientated training sessions. Speakers will address such topics as Jewish civil rights advocacy, campus anti-Semitism, international human rights law, Israel legal advocacy, and counter-terrorism legal policy.
The LDB President expresses the importance of the new initiative by saying, “This is one of the most exciting things that the Louis D. Brandeis Center has done. We have been able to identify law students at scores of universities who are passionate about our mission and who want to share in our campaign against campus anti-Semitism.”
Brandeis Center lawyer, Danit Sibovits explains how student chapter members will be engaged:
“We are really trying to engage law students in civil rights work and engage them in public advocacy. We think that this is a great opportunity for law students to gain practical legal experience while they are still in school as well as an opportunity for them to get out there and really see what’s going on with the legal world especially if they are interested in civil rights work.”
LDB is looking forward to work with student leaders who want to make a difference.
Our first chapter has launched at UCLA. Shuey Greer, the UCLA Chapter President shared his motivations for starting a chapter with the LDB, in an interview. He says he started the chapter because he is interested in going into civil rights, and as a Jewish individual he is very passionate about Jewish rights and Jewish identity. When asked about the Law Chapter with Louis D. Brandeis Center, he says that there is a big need for this type of organization on many of the west coast college campuses. As a first year law student he is extremely busy, yet he finds time to work on the chapter because it is an extremely important endeavor.
At UCLA the launch took place on October 15, where sixteen people showed up. This number indicates the interest from students wanting to engage themselves more actively with civil rights. Shuey reports that the launch meeting went really well, as they watched a video explaining the mission of the organization and had an open discussion about the organization’s goals and various ideas.
When asked about his future plans for the UCLA chapter, Shuey described an ambitious agenda:
“I plan on establishing a known presence on campus both in the law school andwith the rest of the school. I want to be capable of dealing with any legal issuesthat may arise on campus, and I want people to know that they have our support and that we are ready to help support them however we can.”
This is exactly the kind of work the LDB center wants Law students to be engaged in.
Ben Lichtman, a second year law student and the chapter head at American University is trying attentively to launch a chapter at AU. He has led a petition drive that has attracted about 100 signatures. Ben concludes that some people who signed the petition may not ultimately join the chapter but they support the idea that their law school should have one.
Why are students interested in joining the chapter? Ben says that many students have great interest in Israel. They understand how anti-Semitism is an area of concern that needs more attention and most would probably say that anti-Israel activity, which often encompasses anti-Semitism, is the greatest concern.
Ben explains, “Jewish Law Students Association was dormant last year, and has not really done any substantive legal programming for students so I was hoping to fill that void.” He sees an interest in the community for those who support Israel and has concerns about anti-Semitism growing. These students have no place to share their concerns and discuss the potential actions they can take to prevent Anti-Israeli acts. If the LBD Law chapter gets launched at AU, these students will find a common and safe place to share their concerns.
These passionate student leaders and many more will make an impact to stop the spread of anti-Semitism. We must realize the crucial need for addressing discriminatory acts though legal means; if problems and actions are not addressed effectively, the problem will only increase. That is why the LDB has launched its new law school student chapter initiative, to share a common space and fight for human rights.
If you are interested in helping to organize an LDB law student chapter, please contact Danit Sibovits at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you have questions or concerns please visit us at http://brandeiscenter.com/ or call at 202-756-1822.