October 23, 2007

BALSA Students Focus on Jena Six Incident

Student-sponsored event leads to discussion of racism in Minnesota

Quiana_Montgomery-retouched_0
BALSA President Quiana Montgomery
When the Jena Six incident in Baton Rouge, Louisiana made the news earlier this fall, The Black Law Students Association at Hamline seized the opportunity to sponsor a thought-provoking program about the situation. What started as a discussion about the treatment of the high school students in Louisiana expanded into an eye-opening look at issues of racial disparity closer to home. Hamline Law Professor Robin Magee lamented that "young black lives have been destroyed by a school yard fight. I hope this invites a larger conversation about race. . . we need to examine how white supremacy everywhere contributes to the situation."

Guy Gamill with the Council on Crime and Justice explained that African Americans comprise 3.5 percent of the state's Black population and 30 percent of its prison population. "Minnesota most closely resembles Detroit in terms of this discrepancy," he said. "A gross injustice has been perpetrated in the Jena Six case and we're not better in Minnesota, we're worse," he added.

depa-patel Earlier in September, the Culture and Diversity Committee of the Student Bar Association hosted a reception for multicultural students and students interested in promoting diversity at the law school. Dean Garon welcomed the students and reminded them about the importance of inclusiveness. "All of the communities at Hamline are part of one community, the Hamline Community," he said. Dean Garon also encouraged students in various student organizations to attend events sponsored by other organizations and to cross-promote their events. Deepa Patel ‘3l (shown right), chair of the SBA Culture and Diversity Committee urged students to pick at least three events each year to attend and "then go to them!"