Future Voices of the People event held
by: Antonio Bonnetty
High school students from City Charter, Sto Rox, McKeesport, Baldwin-Whitehall, Urban Pathways, and South Allegheny converged on our campus on March 25 as our School of Law hosted its first "Future Voices of the People" event. This event, which was made possible by a grant from the E. Louis Feldman Charitable Trust, allowed the approximately 60 local high-school students from the Pittsburgh area to experience a day in the life of a law student. Inviting these students to experience what law school is like, many of whom are from low income communities, opens so many doors to a life that they may not have ever dreamt possible. The event was organized by Leadership Honors Fellows Kebron Assefa, Antonio Bonnetty, Maura Clark, Brooke Shuck and Kaila Williams.
The event began with a welcome by Dean April Barton and Crystal McCormick Ware, Duquesne University's first chief diversity officer and Senior Advisor to the President for diversity, equity, and inclusion. The event included several activities, including a scavenger hunt that allowed the students to learn about different law school organizations; a mock class session led by Professor Jalila Jefferson-Bullock; and a panel that allowed the high-school students to ask current law students, pre-law students, faculty, and financial aid questions that they may have. These activities were followed by an award ceremony and concluding remarks by Dean Barton.
The "Future Voices of the People" event is groundbreaking for many reasons. When the law was developing in the United States, it did not take into consideration the interest of women, or people of color. However, over time, these two groups have shattered expectations by inserting themselves into a profession that has been primarily dominated by white men. By inviting students from all walks of life to see that diversity is not only welcome, but necessary in the law, we open the door to a better future. Duquesne Law hopes to further these efforts by hosting more events like "Future Voices of the People."
Dean Barton, along with the Leadership Honors Fellows, would like to thank the following who have helped make this event possible: The E. Louis Feldman Charitable Trust, Samantha Coyne, Maureen Stokan, Beth Bauer, the Office of Civic Engagement and External Relations, Professors Richard Heppner, Maryann Herman, Jefferson-Bullock, Marissa Meredith and John Rice, and the students and staff that have volunteered their time.
Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University’s academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.
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