On June 6, 2020 Santa Clara Law School’s Center for Social Justice recognized and acknowledged the graduating students who received a social justice certificate. Unable to gather in person, the event was held via zoom with faculty and students, many of whom were accompanied by family and friends, joined the celebration. While Santa Clara believes that social justice is the province of all lawyers, these 32 students demonstrated their unique commitment and focus through their concentrated coursework, their supervised internships for underrepresented individuals and and by their volunteer hours in the community. Students either received a general certificate, or a certificate with a specialization in criminal justice or a specialization in immigration and asylum work.
Interim Dean Anna Han provided a warm welcome and congratulations to the assembly of students and families recognizing the importance of their work in these difficult times. The Honorable Stephanie Grogan Jones JD ’04 spoke to the students recalling her own social justice graduation just over 14 years ago. Her dedication to service as a public defender and her recent appointment to the bench in Solano County was an inspiration to all.
The Director of the Center for Social Justice, Professor Ellen Kreitzberg, spoke to the group invoking the words of Martin Luther King Jr. that “the arc of the moral universe is long- but it bends towards justice.” But reminded them that “this quote does not allow us to be complacent. This arc of morality and justice is not an inevitability. It bends towards justice because of individuals committed to justice—individuals like yourselves—who alone and together always push and pull the arc to achieve those goals.” And finally she reminded them that “as graduates of a Jesuit law school and as social justice scholars and activists, this is part of your mission”.
It was a warm and inspiring event where students clearly appreciated the ability to gather in the midst of so much turmoil. We all look forward to the time when we can gather in person to truly celebrate, but until then, the day was about a group of students who are strong, committed and will speak truth to power in the world.