Through the Community Group Advocacy and Social Justice Lawyering Clinic, UC Hastings 2Ls Manny Rodrigues, Ryan Fisher, and Natasha Jha have interned all semester at the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. As a culmination of their studies, the students will be hosting a public hearing entitled "Healing and Trust: Understanding and Addressing Bias in Law Enforcement,” to create dialogue around the current state of community-police relations and to take steps toward building a safer community this Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall, Room 416.
As members of the Community Group Advocacy and Social Justice Lawyering Clinic, the students have been learning about the various strategies, practices, and skills used to advance social justice through "rebellious lawyering." "This clinic has given us an inside track into the inner workings of city politics and local government," says Ryan.
Throughout the semester, Natasha, Manny, and Ryan have interviewed and engaged with City government officials, activists, organizers, community members, and law enforcement officials to examine the causes, patterns, and impact of police bias on the San Francisco community. "Planning the hearing has been a series of successes and challenges, but we have learned so much through the process," notes Manny.
Their scheduled hearing is part of an ongoing effort to examine the ways in which police bias impacts the San Francisco community and how to explore solutions collaboratively. "Being a part of this clinic has made me reflect on the kind of lawyer I want to be and how I see myself as an advocate for social change," states Natasha.
The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has invited law enforcement officials, educators, and community leaders, among others, to attend and give testimony. In addition, the HRC is actively seeking community members to share their stories and recommendations in public comment.
Members of the UC Hastings Community are encouraged to attend and share their thoughts in public comment. “Have you followed Black Lives Matter or other group efforts intent on police accountability? Are you interested in learning more about how law enforcement bias impacts communities? Do you want to see criminal justice reform in action? If so, we hope you will attend and lend your voice,” suggests Natasha.
For more information on the "Healing and Trust: Understanding and Addressing Bias in Law Enforcement” public hearing, click here.
For more information on the Community Group Advocacy and Social Justice Lawyering Clinic, click here.