August 12, 2018

Lots of Love for LeBron’s “I Promise School”: Tributes for Heather Heyer on the One-Year Anniversary of Charlottesville; and Orientation Week at Loyola!

NBA star LeBron James sported his altruism when he cut the ribbon to open the “I Promise School,” a public grade school in Akron, Ohio. The school enrolled 240 at-risk third and fourth graders. Courtesy of LeBron, each student received a free uniform and a bicycle. Meals also are provided and there is extensive mentorship. Eventually, each student will receive guaranteed tuition at the University of Akron. The goal is not only to provide a solid chalk-and-talk education, but to also better the lives of at-risk children in their community. That is why it was so important to LeBron to provide each student with a bicycle. LeBron shared that when he was a child, his bicycle represented freedom. It enabled him to travel around town with his friends. He was quoted as saying: “Everything I do comes from my childhood, from my growing up, and what I feel was part of my success.” LeBron is paying it forward. His initial financial contribution has been estimated at two million dollars in start-up costs. His foundation will continue to provide financial and other resources as the school moves toward annual enrollment of 1000 students (grades 1 through 8) by 2022. But not everyone is a fan. LeBron was criticized by President Trump following a CNN interview given by LeBron promoting the school. Yet just about everyone in the world sided with LeBron, even including First Lady Melania Trump, who tweeted her support and her willingness to visit the “I Promise School.” No doubt, LeBron’s legacy will extend well beyond the basketball court. For more information about the “I Promise School,” click here

August 12, 2018 marked the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville riots that resulted in the death of Heather Heyer, an activist for equality who was employed in the legal community as a paralegal. Heather was killed when a white supremacist purposefully drove his vehicle through a crowd of counter-protestors at an “Unite the Right” rally. At least 19 others were injured. While white nationalists sought to commemorate the Charlottesville events with a new “Unite the Right” rally in Washington D.C., the memo may have gotten lost. Attendees at the high-profile march were estimated at about 30. (No, that’s not a typo: thirty.) By contrast, counter-protestors numbered in the thousands. So strong was the counter-message, that the white nationalists had to be escorted away by police in vans. In Charlottesville, Heather’s family and friends mourned the anniversary of her death. She was heralded as a “sweet soul” who regularly spoke out against inequality. Heather’s mother, Susan Bro, carries on Heather’s fight through the Heather Heyer Foundation. A placard next to her desk captures her daughter’s favorite motto: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

Speaking of paying attention . . . It’s Orientation Week at Loyola! Have you got your books? Already working on that first assignment? Still wondering why the law school is in DTLA instead of by the beach at LMU’s Westchester campus? If any of this describes you, it might mean you’re a member of Loyola’s incoming first-year class. The first year of law school famously is tough, but you’ll find that you have lots of support. You’ll form friendships that will be with you for the rest of our life. And at the end of it all, you’ll be an attorney. For the rest of you who are one year closer to that goal, Loyola’s staff, faculty and administrators enthusiastically welcome you back! Put simply, the campus is not the same without your inquisitive minds and vibrant energy. Together, we all can change the world!

Editor’s Note: EQ4AL@LLS loves LeBron. And that’s not just because he’s now a L.A. Laker! LeBron long has used his platform to fight for equality and equity for all, specifically including supporting impoverished youth. The “I Promise School” is a wonderful model that can and should be emulated in communities across the nation to support at-risk children. In terms of civility, LeBron also is quite the role model. He even called former Laker Cedric Ceballos for permission to use Cedric’s jersey number upon joining the team. Way to go, Number #23!  

July 27, 2018

July 27, 2018

The Border Crisis: Another Deadline Passes with Only Limited Results; Celebrities Using Their Platforms to Combat White Privilege and Challenge Gun Lobbyists; and Time to Stock Up on School Supplies / Congrats to Bar Examinees!

Government lawyers once again failed to meet deadlines set by a San Diego federal judge for returning children who were separated from their parents under the “Zero-Tolerance” immigration policy. Judge Dana Sabraw previously ordered the Department of Justice to reunify all parents and children by the revised deadline, but 711 children remain in custody. These children were characterized by the Department as “ineligible for reunification.” This includes more than 400 children whose parents already have been deported. Judge Sabraw rejected the “ineligible” classification and instead ordered the Department to begin a “second stage” of compliance, meaning reuniting all families. Judge Sabraw further stated that a final stage would be to take steps to ensure “this never happens again.” In a related proceeding in Los Angeles, Judge Dolly Gee – who oversees the 1997 Flores Settlement that set certain mandatory standards for the detention of undocumented minors – issued an order to appoint a special monitor to oversee alleged deplorable conditions in a detention center in Rio Grande, Texas. Local advocates for the children include Peter Schey and Carlos Holguin of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law. For more information, go to reunify.org. 

Celebrities are using their platforms to promote peace and equality for all. Oscar-winning film star Anne Hathaway used her Instagram account to call out whites who have done nothing or too little to combat racial injustice and white privilege. Hathaway’s passionate cry was in response to the recent murder of Nia Wilson, an African-American teen stabbed to death in an Oakland BART station by a white man. Hathaway urged that “White people – including me, including you – must take into the marrow of our privileged bones the truth that ALL black people fear for their lives DAILY in America and have done so for GENERATIONS. . . . Given those givens, we must ask our (white)selves just how “decent” are we really? Not in our intent, but in our actions? In our lack of action.” Other celebs used their platforms to call out their own toward different peace-related goals, such as country-singer Eric Church, who just this week in a Rolling Stone’s interview called out lobbyists for the National Rifle Association (NRA). Church’s comments were prompted by last year’s mass shooting at the Route 91 Country Festival in Las Vegas that took 59 lives. Church performed at the venue just two nights prior to the massacre. While he received some criticism from fans for his remarks, others applauded him for starting the conversation and taking a stand.

Have you started your get-ready-for-school shopping? It’s that time again . . .  Loyola will begin classes in just a few short weeks. We look forward to welcoming our incoming first-year class and congratulate those who have edged one year closer to graduation. And let’s not forget our recent grads who have just sat for the California Bar Exam. Let loose and have some well-deserved fun! 

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