By Aviva Simon, UC Davis NLG
Many of us at the UC Davis NLG Chapter were fortunate enough to attend the annual NLG conference held in Oakland last fall. We returned to Davis inspired by the speakers and fellow Guild members, and have put together a series of events to build on this momentum. This spring we are working with the UC Davis Cross-Cultural Center to develop an Anti-Racism Training specifically for law students, integrating cases and current legal issues to see how race shapes our experiences and principles, and in turn, our legal system.
Our chapter will marked Student Week Against Mass Incarceration by welcoming students from the Underground Scholars Initiative (USI). USI was created to support all prospective and current UC Berkeley students impacted by mass incarceration, imprisonment, and detainment of any kind. USI has the unique opportunity of making UC Berkeley a catalyst for the development of a Prison-to-School pipeline within the University of California educational system.
We are also honored to have had filmmaker Bryan Gibel hold a screening of his film “Chicago Confessional.” The film tells the story of Stanley Wrice, a Chicago man who was imprisoned for 31 years for a murder he did not commit. Wrice was tortured by officers under the command of former Chicago police Lt. Jon Burge, who gained notoriety for torturing more than 200 criminal suspects between 1972 and 1991 in order to force confessions. With the help of a federal public defender, Wrice was exonerated in 2013.
Finally, we facilitated a conversation between lawyers and leaders of Community Land Trusts (CLTs) in the region. CLTs are a powerful and flexible tool that have been an effective vehicle for removing housing from the speculative market, while empowering communities to be stewards of their land.