Campus life was vibrant this past month, with numerous student org events by groups including the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, South Asian Law Student Association, Women’s Law Caucus, Black Law Students Association, and Child Advocacy Law Society.
APALSA Judicial Roundtable — By Chae Kim
Students were able to meet and network with Asian-American judges at a judicial roundtable Feb. 15 hosted by the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA). Judge Selena Epley, a San Diego Superior Court judge, led the panel with a light and fun tone as she questioned the other judges. First to be introduced was Judge Truc Do, the first Vietnamese judge appointed to the San Diego Superior Court bench. The second was Judge Rohanee Zapanta, the second-ever Filipino judge appointed to the San Diego Superior Court. And last but not least was Judge Dana Sabraw, a U.S. District Court judge who recently gained notoriety when he ruled to reunite separated migrant families along our southern border.
First, the judges discussed the importance of finding mentors, broadening our experiences in law school, and reducing the pressures we place on ourselves throughout law school.
The panel slightly changed course in the discussion as the judges began to share their personal experiences in dealing with hurdles they had to overcome as people of color. They recognized although we’ve come a long way as a society, stereotypes and biases still exist. With that said, they provided a gentle reminder that society’s ethnic bias is continuously improving. Judge Zapanta tells us, “don’t compromise,” because doing so is to damage ourselves.
SALSA Festival of Colours — By Arlena Parmar
The South Asian Law Student Association (SALSA) hosted its Festival of Colours Celebration on Feb. 16 in honour of Holi, a traditional Hindu holiday that is now a widespread cultural event in India.
Students wore white attire and threw coloured powder at each other during the SALSA Holi celebration, held at Mission Bay Beach. Holi signifies the start of spring and is a celebration of light over darkness, good over evil, etc. Students also had opportunities to network with attorneys.
WLC Human Trafficking Panel – By Melissa Owens
Women’s Law Caucus (WLC) hosted a human trafficking panel on Feb. 26, a truly inspiring event. We had the honor and privilege of being joined by Christy Johnson (Life Experience Expert), Jamie Quient (President and Managing Attorney of Free to Thrive), Fanny Yu (Deputy District Attorney), and Jennifer Gigliotti (Program Manager for ICare Program at S.D. Youth Services).
The panel was led by WLC’s own Deveney Wells-Gibson, who eloquently summarized the event: “The human trafficking panel was an informative insight into the experiences of one of San Diego’s own citizens. We had a panel of powerful voices who have made it their mission to combat human trafficking. Participants were engaged on both an intellectual and emotional level, and left with a new understanding of what human trafficking means.”
BLSA Soul Food Fair – By Brandon Birungi-Sengendo
The Black Law Students Association (BLSA) hosted a Soul Food Fair on Feb. 26 in the 350 building first-floor lobby, as a fundraiser for the organization. People who purchased food had the option of getting chicken or catfish as their entree. Purchasers could choose from macaroni and cheese, yams, or collard greens as the sides, with a piece of cornbread or Hawaiian bread. BLSA shirts also were offered for sale.
Careers in Child Advocacy Panel — By Lindsey Cherpes & Stephanie Mercado
On Feb. 28, the Child Advocacy Law Society held its annual Careers in Child Advocacy Panel. The panelists included an array of distinguished players in the many child advocacy fields, including Hon. Marian Gaston, San Diego Juvenile Court; Shawnalyse Ochoa, Assistant Chief District Attorney, Juvenile Division; Kimberly Soule, Soule Family Law; Christine Espejo, Children’s Legal Center; and Megan Marashlian, Voices for Children.
The panelists answered questions about their day-to-day activities and shared personal anecdotes for ways they have been able to effectively advocate for children in their own respective jobs. The panel wrapped up by offering students advice on how to break into the child advocacy world, and what steps to take as law students in order to help us get there. We laughed, we cried, and we were offered invaluable advice on how to make it in law and in this crazy thing called life. The whole evening was very inspiring, a definite must-attend next year!