Black Law Students Association Hosts “Everyone an Advocate”

September 25, 2013 — How do you become an agent of change? Turn to Twitter, for starters.

“What we’re seeing is a revolution in the social media sphere in regards to advocacy and in particular legal advocacy,” said Yolanda Young (L’95), founder of On Being A Black Lawyer. Young cited the Trayvon Martin killing as one example of how social media can move opinion.

When the case hit the news, a woman named Maria Roach started a petition to ask that George Zimmerman be put on trial. “Within a day, she had 75 people sign the petition; within a week, over 75,000,” Young said. “When Trayvon Martin’s parents did a similar petition they ended up with over 1.5 million.”

Young was part of “Everyone an Advocate,” hosted by the Georgetown Black Law Students Association on September 19 in conjunction with the National Black Law Students Association. Rep. Baraki Sellers, D-S.C., led the panel, which also included Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga.; Leigh Chapman of the Advancement Project's Voter Protection Program; Phillip Agnew, executive director of Dream Defenders; and Brandi Richard, president of the National Urban League Young Professionals.

Chapman described her fight against voter suppression through a challenge to Wisconsin’s voter identification law. “I met a 93-year-old woman who had voted since Roosevelt,” she said, noting that the woman has no birth certificate. “She will actually be disenfranchised if this law goes into effect.”

Johnson, meanwhile, urged the young lawyers in Hart Auditorium to follow their dreams. “It takes courage to do what you really want to do,” he said. “You’ve learned an honorable profession; you must leave the hallowed halls of this institution and go forth to serve.”

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