Community Justice Project
Be an Engineer of Social Justice
The Community Justice Project (1 semester, 6 credits) offers an opportunity for students to integrate the University’s mission into their Clinic experience as they work for justice and reconciliation. Following the sub-Saharan African ideology of "ubuntu," students will focus on creating systemic changes that will further humanitarian goals. According to Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1999,
"A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed."
The Community Justice Project focuses on bridge building with community stakeholders and problem solving in distressed communities. Students will gain valuable advocacy, legal research and writing, litigation and outreach skills. Students in the practice group will be agents of change to ensure that justice is obtained for underserved members of the community. For example, students conducted research related to community policing models and problem solving techniques.
The Community Justice Project (CJP) will take a comprehensive look at improving the lives of the African American community in the Twin Cities. The CJP has engaged in intensive research into practical solutions to longstanding challenges such as racial disparities in the criminal justice system, police brutality, and racial disparities in the educational and juvenile justice systems for at-risk youth. CJP projects have included:
- Providing community education and mobilization around social justice issues and improving relationships between community members, the police department and local government;
- Creating a Community Awareness Program, where law students travel to local elementary and secondary schools to educate youth about the law, their rights, and interactions with police officers;
- Proposing and organizing an integrated approach to addressing gang violence by creating a reintegration/prevention program called Brotherhood, Inc., patterned on an organization in Los Angeles (offering a social enterprise and integrated social services for young African-American men who have had contact with the criminal justice system);
- Working in restorative justice programs; and
- Conducting research related to community policing models, police conduct review boards, and problem solving techniques.
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