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! 

July 11, 2018

Marches to Reunite Families Separated at the Border; Marches to End Gun Violence in Chicago; and Another Victory for Loyola’s Project for the Innocent

Love filled the streets as hundreds of thousands of activists in more than 600 nationwide marches protested the recently imposed Zero Toleration immigration policy that caused over 3000 children to be separated from parents. Some of the children were scuttled across the country to various undisclosed detention centers by cover of night. In an Atlanta march, civil rights icon Representative John Lewis rallied crowds with the simple phrase: “We are all humans.” In Los Angeles, pop singer John Legend treated crowds to a debut of a new song that aptly explained the need to take concrete action. As he tickled the keys of a grand piano, Legend sang: “I can’t just preach.” Similarly, Senator Kamala Harris – honored in Loyola’s Fritz B. Burns Lounge just three years ago as the recipient of the Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Public Service Award -- passionately declared: “We can do better.” And while a small fraction of the separated children have been united with their parents pursuant to a court order by a federal judge in San Diego, it appears that many, many children, specifically including toddlers, will be difficult if not impossible to reunite due to the failure to properly track the separations. In some cases, the children simply cannot be located. In others, the parents already have been deported. As Senator Harris implores, we certainly can do better.

This past weekend, Chicago hosted a march against gun violence. Thousands of activists shut down portions of a local interstate to protest the hundreds of lives in low-income areas that have disproportionally been lost to gun violence. Chants included “Enough is Enough,” echoing the sentiment of the nationwide marches following the school shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Those marches highlighted the need to protect all children from gun violence, specifically including those in Chicago. In a show of unity, the rally ended with Reverend Michael Pfleger, the organizer of the protest, linking arms with a superintendent from the Chicago Police Department, Eddie Johnson, and long-time civil rights leader, Reverend Jesse Jackson.

Loyola’s Project for the Innocence has done it again. Marie Mendez, a grandmother who served 11 years of a 25-year sentence resulting from the death of her grandson has been released from prison. After carefully reviewing the evidence, Mendez’ attorneys persuasively demonstrated that a traumatic brain injury suffered by the grandson may have been caused by an earlier fall. For more information about the many victories achieved by Loyola’s Project for the Innocent, check out their inspiring Facebook page. Do also consider being a volunteer advocate.