As part of the heightened consciousness about systemic racism and racial injustice, the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation is inaugurating a Racial Justice Fellowship Program focusing on three critical areas: Black community-police relations; voting rights; and juvenile justice in minority communities.
Foundation President John Oberdorfer said, “Last summer, after the killing of George Floyd, the Foundation convened a conversation with our Fellows about racism and racial justice. Inspired by that moving and provocative exchange, the Foundation decided to take additional concrete steps by creating and financially supporting three Racial Justice Fellowship Partnerships.
Today, we are proud to launch our partnerships with superb organizations engaged in the hard, impactful work towards racial justice, and to announce the selection of three outstanding law students to be the inaugural 2021 class. Each will be working this summer with one of our Racial Justice Fellowship Partners.”
In conjunction with the Foundation’s 18 Deans’ Circle law schools, the Foundation has selected three organizations with which to partner:
- The Charlottesville Police Department (CPD), Charlottesville, Virginia
- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Voting Rights Project
- The Lone Star Justice Alliance, Dallas, Texas
Rodney Slater, partner and Chair of the Foundation’s Board, said of its three participating organizations, “Each organization has dynamic and innovative leadership, and they will be outstanding partners with us in the pursuit of racial justice. This is a sustained impact program that will be repeated in coming years.”
Leaders from each organization expressed the lasting impact this Fellowship Program will have:
“The Charlottesville Police Department is thrilled to partner with the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation for the Racial Justice Fellowship Program as it will provide us with the necessary tools, resources and expertise to examine and assess our Investigative Detentions, while uniquely positioning our police department to lead national conversations on best practices for disrupting potential patterns and practices of disproportionality during those encounters. Social and racial justice and its intersectionality with public safety, more specifically policing, demands agencies examine their policies, procedures and practices to identify areas of institutional supremacy, disproportionality and disparity. Without the Foundation’s support and commitment, the CPD would find itself lacking the necessary resources, credibility and legal expertise to do this most important work.”- RaShall M. Brackney, Ph.D., Chief of Police, Charlottesville Police Department
“The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is excited to partner with the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation to train the next generation of racial justice advocates and leaders. By getting hands-on experience with civil rights litigation and advocacy, these fellows will be prepared to take on the toughest inequities and racial justice challenges facing our country.” - Damon T. Hewitt, Acting President & Executive Director/Executive Vice President, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
“The Lone Star Justice Alliance is honored to partner with the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation for its inaugural Racial Justice Fellowship Program. Through this sustained fellowship, we will be able to provide aspiring attorneys education and practical experience in identifying and dismantling racial injustice in the American criminal legal system, focusing on minority youth and emerging adults.” - Yulise Reaves Waters, Deputy Director, Lone Star Justice Alliance
The Racial Justice Fellowship is the second initiative within the Foundation’s Sustained Impact Fellowship program, designed to provide pro bono legal services over a multi-year period to address a seemingly intractable problem. The Sustained Impact Fellowship – Puerto Rico, now in its third year, focuses on post-hurricane disaster relief and community rebuilding in Puerto Rico by partnering with two organizations in San Juan, Centro para Puerto Rico and Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico.
The Sustained Impact Fellowship program runs in tandem with the Foundation’s signature Public Policy Fellowship Program that includes 18 US law schools and the Collège d΄Europe in Bruges, Belgium, as well as its Pulitzer Center Fellowship, in which the Foundation and Case Western Reserve University Law School partner with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting on a Fellowship focusing on law and journalism.
The three Fellows who were selected for the inaugural Racial Justice Fellowship are:
Nancy Amin, who will work with the Charlottesville Police Department, is a rising 2L at The University of Texas School of Law in Austin, Texas, where she is Vice President of the Muslim Law Students Association, Pro Bono Chair of the Thurgood Marshall Legal Society and a member of the Women’s Law Caucus. She is the newly elected Editor in Chief of the Texas International Law Journal and serves as Staff Editor of the American Journal of Criminal Law. With a strong interest in the criminal justice system, Ms. Amin attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice for undergrad, where she accepted a fellowship at the Vera Institute of Justice during her senior year, exploring how colorism plays a role in policing in New York, New Jersey and California.
Charkera Ervin, who will work with the Lawyers’ Committee, is a rising 1L at Howard University School of Law in Washington DC, where she participates in the 1L Student Class Council and the Howard Public Interest Law Society (HPILS). Ms. Ervin has a strong history in activism and is invested in working towards helping communities of color and other vulnerable populations with a specific interest in movement lawyering and civil rights work focused on housing and education equality. She graduated from Bluefield State College, on the Dean’s List, in Bluefield, West Virginia, where she was President of the Black Student Union, Treasurer and Multicultural Secretary of the Student Government Association, and a member of Model UN.
Skyler Arbuckle, who will work with the Lone Star Justice Alliance, is a rising 2L at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in Dallas, Texas, where she is the President, and former Vice-President, of the Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA), a member of the Dean’s Diversity Council and serves as the law school’s representative for SMU’s Black Unity Forum. Ms. Arbuckle was the recipient of the Professor Bill Bridge Award for Outstanding 1L (2019 – 2020) and received the 2020 J.L. Turner Legal Association Foundation Scholarship. She graduated from Howard University, cum laude, and was inducted into the Epsilon Tau Sigma Honor Society and the Golden Key National Honor Society. With an interest in public interest work on behalf of marginalized people whose voices and causes are stifled due to systemic oppression, Ms. Arbuckle has interned and externed with two federal judges with a long-term career goal of becoming a federal judge and serving as a bridge to justice for her community.
The Foundation is rooted in a history of civil rights advocacy, originally funded with lawyers’ fees from a pro bono employment discrimination case. Further information on the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation is available here.