On Common Ground

by Aastha Maadan

           Every year since 1999, Whittier Law School organizes a week-long series of events to raise awareness of multiple issues facing our society. The idea for this week of events first arose in response to the horrifying murders of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr.. Students at Whittier Law School created On Common Ground out of a desire to recognize and acknowledge our (dis)connections to other human beings. The issues that On Common Ground addresses include both social and legal problems concerning gender, sexual orientation, race, class, diversity and more. On Common Ground strives to encourage conversations about these issues in an attempt to confront them and eradicate them from society and the legal field. Events include distinguished speakers, The Clothesline Project, an annual brunch book discussion, a forum for students to express their views and many more. 

           This year, On Common Ground is being organized by a great, dynamic team of students. On Common Ground wants the Whittier Law community to “Speak up!” Confronting a problem is the first step to addressing it, and eventually stopping it. We invite you to actively participate this week through speaker panels, the ribbon wreath, the open house/forum, anywhere you see injustice being done, and of course, in your law school courses. 

          Some of the events this year include a movie screening sponsored by Whittier OUTLaw, a speaker panel on free speech in the classroom, diversity food fair, a panel of judicial officers who will speak about diversity on the bench, a brunch book discussion and many more events. On Common Ground  2011 is ending with a much anticipated production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues by Whittier students. This year’s production will raise money and awareness for organizations that work to stop violence against women. This year’s beneficiaries are the Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica - UCLA Medical Center and V-Day, a campaign to mobilize women and men to heightened awareness about violence against women and girls through various campaigns. 

          We encourage you to participate in each event and assist in the planning process for those interested. If you have any questions, please contact Aastha at amadaa@poets.whittier.edu, or Kelsey at kmckeeve@poets.whittier.edu

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