Dear Members of the Santa Clara Law Community,
The month of December juxtaposes darkness and light in countless ways. Longer nights are accentuated by starry skies. Heavy hearts weighted by the loss of loved ones over the past year are buoyed by the promise of a new year. In our own experience, the ongoing pandemic, the persistence of racial injustice, and the tragedies we experienced right here on our campus, cast shadows over all of our lives, but as is recognized by many different religious traditions, our lives are also brightened by the hope filled message contained within this season of lights.
Two weeks ago, the law school community together with the university community gathered to light the Hanukkah Menorah, a holiday that celebrates our shared belief that even a flicker of light can drive out darkness and illuminate the world. That same weekend, as Santa Clara University’s championship women’s soccer team sought to defend their National Championship crown in this year’s College Cup (final four) hosted on our campus in front of a sold-out crowd, the University community gathered at the Mission Church for the Festival of Lights, renewing a sacred Santa Clara tradition of prayer and song.
Last week, the law school community returned to the Mission Church for the swearing-in ceremony for those who passed California’s July 2021 Bar Exam. For this diverse group of law school graduates, this ceremony provides light at the end of their educational tunnel. They will now head out into the world, serving clients and shedding light on the truth.
A few days later, the Law School gathered to honor the 20th Anniversary of our extraordinary Northern California Innocence Project (“NCIP”). Under the heroic leadership of Linda Starr, NCIP’s faculty, administrators, staff attorneys, students, and volunteers have achieved the exoneration of 33 wrongfully convicted clients. Many of these exonerees attended the ceremony and spoke beautifully and powerfully about their faith, their families, their perseverance in the pursuit of justice, and their remarkable ability to reach for reconciliation. Their stories, and the indefatigable work of the NCIP on their behalf, are sources of light for all those who are subjected to the darkness of wrongful incarceration and injustice. They are shining examples of our humanity, and they inspire us all to hold dear to faith, family, hope, and love.
May the transcendent light of the holiday season bring peace and joy to you and your loved ones. Thank you for the many ways you honor, support, and represent Santa Clara Law in your daily lives.
With warm regards and tremendous gratitude,