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Amplifying the Sound of our Voices

April 25, 2018

This post comes to you from the City University of New York Law Review. In the coming weeks we’ll share more highlights and stories from our Law Review team highlighting student authorship and advocacy.

 

One of the biggest obstacles students face is envisioning themselves at their end goal, particularly students who are the first in their families to pursue college and advanced degrees. As we get lost in our work, we lose sight of the fact that others once sat in our seats: our incredible professors, the scholars who wrote our textbooks, the lawyers who have argued or decided the cases we’re reading. As (future) public interest lawyers, however, it’s important that our voices ring loudly in the halls of justice. It needs to be our work and words teaching the next generation of lawyers, writing the textbooks, deciding the outcome of cases. We need to be the lawyers in the room when important decisions are being made about the livelihood of the communities in which we have entrenched ourselves and from which we come.

That’s why we must write. We must write to lift the voices of the people we serve and to gain the recognition our work deserves. And, because of the way the system is built, we must write to access the decision room. Publishing work as a student can be a giant leap towards reaching the goals we’ve set out to achieve, yet obstacles stand in the way of writing and publishing for many students. For this reason, the CUNY Law Review has developed the Student Authorship Initiative (SAI).

As the inaugural Student Authorship Editor, I serve as a guide and advisor in the research, writing, and editing process, and in connecting students to the resources they need to develop their best work. This commitment, along with the SAI, is an extension of CUNY Law’s belief that a student’s familial, financial, and professional obligations should not dictate the ability to build their legal careers.

The Writing Warrior Workshop is our first initiative to that end. This intensive seven-week training and support program is for students interested in publishing social justice scholarship; held on weekends and designed to provide childcare and breakfast, the program allows participation from our part-time, working students, our parenting students, and those facing financial barriers.

I’m pleased to say that we received an overwhelming amount of interest in the program and accepted 14 students as our inaugural class of Fellows, who completed the program on April 21st. The next phase of work, in partnership with our Editor-in-Chief, Lovely Bonhomme, I will be assisting the Fellows in the writing and editing process until their pieces are complete.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be highlighting the work of our Fellows – so stay tuned for some new publications. And, for those who’ll be students in the fall, we’ll be running the program again; we hope to launch a modular program that the broader community can access. We look forward to sharing more with you soon.

 

Questions about the Student Authorship Initiative?  Lauren DiMartino can be reached at lauren.dimartino@live.law.cuny.edu

 

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