Monday, October 15, 2012

The Power of We: Pink, Networking, Mentoring! Blog Action Day 2012

Way back in 2006, I wrote a series of blog posts here, here, here, here and here that used the color pink as a way to think about so-called “feminine” aspects of the workplace and law school. I talked about my own experience as a child, law student, young lawyer and then law librarian. My reaction to the heavily male, patriarchal law school culture, like that of many young women, was to join up as one of the guys, even when I was pregnant! It made for a very alienated young law student, lawyer and law librarian – alienated from myself! And my guess is that it’s not just women, but also anybody who has an emotional, expressive side to their personality that gets suppressed in the traditional law school culture! So many of us are round pegs trying to fit into those square holes!

One important part of repairing the brokenness we experience in the law school culture is reaching out, and building an awareness that there is WE. Law students need to know that they are not alone, and so do young (and older!) lawyers and librarians who may be struggling with identity and simple expression of their selves. Times have changed since I went to law school – there are many organizations at most schools and later:

By gender and sexual orientation and identification:
National Womens’ Law Students Association (NWLSA) (these seem to be organized by school, for example at my school, Suffolk

National Women Law Students’ Organization (apparently affiliated with Ms JD blog)

National LGBT Bar Association Law Student Congress

By Ethnicity:
National Black Law Students Association

National Latin American Law Student Association

Hispanic Law Student Association (seems to be school affiliated)

Asian-Pacific American Law Student Association

National Native American Law Student Association

By Religious Affiliation:
(I don’t find any national association for Buddhists, B’hai’s, Hindus or Sikhs though we have small groups for law students at our school)

Catholic Law Students Association

Christian Legal Society (a more fundamentalist flavor than some sects)

National Jewish Law Students Association (Affiliated with Hillel -- does that explain everything?)

National Muslim Law Students Association

These student organizations raise money for causes, they offer advice and assistance for members, as well as mentoring and job networking. They are powerful organizations for students to empower themselves and to find a voice in an intimidating world. One example might be found here, in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, requesting him to investigate the New York City police’s surveillance of Muslim members of the community. Among a long and diverse list of signing organization is the National Muslim Law Students Association and Muslim Law Students Association – New York University School of Law.

You don't have to think pink to see how much more powerful we are when we stand together for whatever we are, we believe in, or hope for. But I think it helps.

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