May 5, 2011
More than 100 Lawyers to Serve the Public Interest
Civil Rights Leader Julian Bond is Commencement Speaker
More than 100 CUNY School of Law students will receive their Juris Doctor degrees at a May 13th graduation ceremony. “CUNY Law’s 2011 graduates are passionate advocates, eager to devote themselves to lawyering for social justice,” said CUNY Law Dean Michelle J. Anderson.
CUNY Law was recently named the #1 public interest law school in the nation by PreLaw Magazine. Since its founding in 1983, CUNY Law has trained lawyers to serve the underprivileged and disempowered and to make a difference in their communities. The Law School’s clinical program, which requires all third-year students to provide direct, supervised client representation to low-income individuals, is consistently ranked among the top ten of law schools nationwide.
Civil rights leader Julian Bond, who helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and was the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, is the 2011 commencement speaker. Bond will also receive an honorary degree, along with anti-death penalty activist and musician Steve Earle. “We are pleased to celebrate these individuals, whose achievements will inspire our graduates as they go forward in their public interest careers,” added Dean Anderson.
Bond has been an activist in the civil rights, economic justice, and peace movements since his college years. In 1960, he helped found SNCC and soon became its communications director. While at Morehouse College, Bond was a founder in l960 of a student civil rights organization that directed three years of non-violent, anti-segregation protests that won integration of Atlanta’s movie theaters, lunch counters, and parks.
Bond served for two decades in the Georgia House and Georgia Senate. He was president of the Atlanta branch of the NAACP for 11 years and, in 1998, was elected chair of the NAACP national board and served for 11 terms until stepping down in 2010. Bond received the Civil Liberties Union Bill of Rights Awards of Massachusetts and Georgia, and Time magazine named Bond as one of America’s top 200 leaders. A collection of Bond’s essays is published under the title A Time to Speak, A Time to Act.
Steve Earle is a musician, writer, and poet. He is best known for his long-time, anti-death penalty activism. He has written and produced Karla, a play about executed murderer Karla Faye Tucker, and several songs about the injustice of capital punishment. He has also given his time to anti-death penalty organizations as varied as the Abolitionist Action Committee, the Journey of Hope from Violence to Healing, and Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation. In 2010, he received the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty’s Shining Star of Abolition Award for his many years of advocacy against capital punishment.
Graduation will be held on May 13th at 11 a.m. at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts, Colden Auditorium, Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, Queens. Contact: Vivian Todini 718-340-4530.