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One by One, Students Achieve Justice for All

Dayna Maeder

One by One, Students Achieve Justice for All

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Justice for all.

What a concept, and arguably, too much for a handful of law students to take on in one magazine. As I reflected on this subject matter and the implications of crafting such an issue, I wondered how in the world we could possibly include every organization that’s working toward ensuring justice. There are so many groups, nonprofits, missions, and clinics that strive to help particular groups of people. We can’t possibly list them all out in a way that does justice to them all.

But isn’t that just it? There may not exist one singular organization that can help everyone. There may not be one sole person who can champion justice for all. It’s the groups that comprise individual warriors, who, one by one, help those who need a voice.

Righting the Wrongs

Throughout the pages of this magazine, you’ll find veterans-turned-law students who seek out those who served in the military to ensure they’re getting the support and benefits they need. You’ll be introduced to sons and daughters of immigrants who are working toward streamlining citizenship processes and helping to create opportunities for those seeking asylum.

You’ll read stories about law students combating human trafficking, helping those with disabilities, supporting elder rights, and fighting in the courts for religious freedom for all.

These are just a small smattering of law students who work each and every day on pro bono initiatives aimed at supporting those who need the help of someone who can navigate complex and often confusing policies and systems. This concept itself can seem overwhelming when looked at as a whole. How can we help everyone who needs our help?

We've Got Soul, and We're Soldiers

The truth is we can’t. Not all at once. But we can help each individual, one by one. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes an army of law students to effect change. Each law student you read about in the pages of this magazine, each person they’ve helped, and each family who is better off is a step in the right direction of creating true justice for all.

We’ve attempted here to represent a variety of students across a variety of causes. It was humbling and overwhelming—and impossible to feature everyone we wanted to—but we’ve walked away from this issue with another emotion: Hope. We’re hopeful for the future of this profession and for the future of those we seek to help. We’re all soldiering on, one step at a time, doing our part to fix the brokenness in the world around us.

My Personal Crusade

I’m working in a specialized clinic at my school called the Children in Prison Project. It was created in response to Florida’s imprisonment of children in the adult criminal system. Through this clinic, students have helped shape the law, and its director, Paolo Annino, was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark Graham v. Florida.

Through heartbreaking conversations and hopeful research, I’ve experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. When I began working in the Children in Prison Project, part of my “homework” was to research the children we were representing and to gain an understanding of their crimes, their current situation, and, essentially, how they’ve changed and grown over the years.

It’s been humbling to see those who, at the time, knew they had no chance of release earn their GED, take tons of classes, complete certifications, mentor others, and generally just blossom into helpful, productive people as they grew up in prison. It lends itself to the notion that children are amenable to rehabilitation.

True Justice for All

Similarly in this magazine, you’ll read about students working to restore voting rights for felons. You’ll read about restorative justice—which shifts the relationship from the offender and criminal justice system to the offender and victim—which is working especially well with juveniles and has reduced recidivism.

We’re excited to bring to you news of the good works law students just like you are doing across the nation. We hope you find as much hope in this magazine as we did when we crafted it for you.