Tools for Social Change: Race and Justice Clinic
What can lawyers do?
The Tools for Social Change: Race and Justice Clinic (previously Race and Justice Clinic) will examine and practice methods that lawyers use to respond to social problems. In the 2013-14 academic year, the clinic will respond to the systemic issues that have resulted in an increasingly disproportionate number of minority youth being excluded from school and pushed into the juvenile justice system.
- Locking youth up: In King County, African American youth are 9 times as likely as white youth to be confined in detention or a youth prison.
- Educational Equity: Currently, 5 school districts in Washington (including the Seattle School District) are being investigated by the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights for discriminatory practices related to school discipline and treatment of English Language Learners.
This clinic will explore how lawyers and law students can make a difference for youth of color in our legal system. We will address race in the justice system through multi-forum advocacy focusing on disparities for youth of color in the juvenile Justice and education systems. We will examine the issue from multiple angles, review current and past efforts to reduce the disparities, talk to youth and community members, study how systems can change, and explore how lawyers can make a difference and work in multiple forums to achieve change. We will work together to choose our intervention points: representing youth directly, providing community education, conducting empirical research and exploring policy change and impact litigation.
Examples of past projects include: Partnering with a youth organization to draft Police in Schools: Student Perceptions of School Resource Officers and drafting an Amicus brief filed in the Washington Supreme Court; representing youth in probation violation, sentencing and school discipline hearings; conducting focus groups with youth who were previously incarcerated; educating youth in detention and attending school board and community meetings.
Race and Justice Clinic in the News