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Co-Chairs: LaKeecia Allen and Tiffany Harvey
It's been a busy year for the Diversity Committee. The year started off with the We the Jury project at two local high schools in Prince George’s County, Maryland. We the Jury is a program that YLS MSBA puts on every year to teach students about the justice system, particularly the Courts and its processes including the history and importance of the jury system. Lawyers come into the classroom to conduct a mock voir dire and then guide the students through mock jury service by using videos provided by the American Bar Association. Throughout the course of the program, students had the opportunity to learn about the jury process and sit as jurors on a criminal and civil trial. The experience was incredibly rewarding and we are excited to continue and build our presence in Prince George's County Public Schools.
The Prince George’s County Schools have been very welcoming to the Young Lawyers Section; this is the second year we have been allowed in the various public high schools in Prince George’s County to facilitate these projects. Last bar year, the Diversity Committee worked with high school students in various Prince George’s County public schools on They Had a Dream Too: Young Leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, an 11th and 12th grade curriculum project designed to assist educators, challenge and inspire students, and help build future leaders. This project was originally produced by the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) and YLS has implemented it in Maryland. They Had a Dream Too: Young Leaders of the Civil Rights Movement consists of a 28 minute film highlighting the achievement of a few of the thousands of young people who made a difference in the 1950s and 1960s when the struggle for civil rights reached its peak in the United States. The film includes interviews with people who as young adults helped changed their world. The film also educates students about civil rights struggles that have occurred since the 1960s and challenges young people to become leaders today.
Both They Had a Dream Too and We the Jury were such a success that YLS has been welcomed back for another year. We are looking forward to working with the students again next year on these great projects. The Diversity Committee would like to thank the Prince George’s County public schools for allowing us into their classrooms to conduct these programs.
This year, we also hosted a panel discussion at the University of Maryland School of Law on diversity in the legal profession and issues facing minority attorneys in the workplace. There was a panel of four attorneys from various backgrounds: Michelle Lipkowitz, Saul Ewing LLP, Benjamin Wilson, Beveridge and Diamond, PC, Lisa Hall-Johnson, Dickstein, Shapiro and Pilar Nichols, Tomes, Salter, Nichols, Moody & Gomes LLC. The event was moderated by LaKeecia Allen, Office of the County Attorney for Prince George's County and Tiffany Harvey, Office of the County Attorney for Prince George's County. The welcome and introduction were graciously provided by Dean Dana Morris, University of Maryland Career Development Services.
The event was well attended and the panelists were outstanding. Everyone in attendance was engaged and stayed afterwards to continue discussions with panelists. YLS has been asked to continue this program next year. Overall, it was a great event and we look forward to next year’s panel discussion. The Diversity Committee is extraordinarily grateful to the University of Maryland for its assistance with the program and use of the facilities. Special thanks also go to Dean Morris for all her assistance.