Dean Rougeau was among the first people to speak to my class during orientation. He welcomed us to BC and to the legal profession. Then he talked about truth. This was the summer of 2019 and then, as now, there were concerns that the very notion of truth was being degraded beyond redemption. At the time, an iconoclastic media personality-turned-politician had unsettled what many thought were enduring, if only partial, methods of verifying truth.
We don’t need to dwell on the politics of it. Dean Rougeau didn’t. He just took the opportunity to center truth in legal education and practice. He talked about how our profession’s procedures, norms, and expertise offered one important solution to the challenge our society faced. I was skeptical. But less than two years later, completely unsubstantiated claims of election fraud ran rampant through the public square until they crashed into the brick wall of the courts’ evidentiary standards. He may have been onto something.
I am sitting at my desk in my childhood bedroom, in the home where I grew up, starting my summer internship virtually and feeling admittedly silly as I pour a cup of coffee and don professional clothing while I am surrounded by mementos of my youth. Though the coloring books and childhood photographs on my desk have now been replaced by my laptop and a Bluebook, things still feel eerily similar to what I remember growing up.
It makes me think back to this time last year. Coming home last March as the pandemic shutdown hit was almost incomprehensible: sitting in the home that felt so familiar to me, I was also painfully aware of how foreign just about everything else around me really was. I watched my professors (and later my summer employer) scramble to get a handle of how best to continue on in a world that was suddenly unfamiliar. I adapted to virtual meetings, technical difficulties, and Zoom hangouts. I took on the unfamiliarity with an open mind, trying to adjust to the temporary surroundings I believed I was in.
But now it has been a year, and the unfamiliarity has transformed into the ordinary. What was once a few weeks at most is now over a year of remote school and work. Summer internships, clinics, classes, and virtual events have come and gone. Countless in-person events and programs have been transformed to account for the virtual world we remain in. I and most other rising 3Ls (ouch), are entering into another remote summer internship.
As AAPI Heritage Month comes to an end, we reflect on the tragedies of the past year and the surge of anti-Asian violence and racism that many Americans have faced.
At the same time, we celebrate Asian American pride and Asian American joy. We acknowledge the collective and diverse Asian American experience. We commemorate all the different ways we identify as Asian American.
Throughout the past semester, APALSA has put on a number of events to educate and engage the community in these discussions, here at BC Law and beyond. Some highlights include a book giveaway for BC Law students, a Minari movie watch party, the Instagram Story Project (which can still be found on @bc_apalsa), and America’s Anti-Asian Racism: Looking Back and Moving Forward — a joint collaboration event with Boston University APALSA featuring panelists Dr. Sherry Wang and Professor Andrew Leong.
This past month, APALSA has been working on another collaboration event. BC Law’s Just Law podcast invited APALSA to be featured in one of their episodes, and some members share their stories and provide insight on what it’s like to be an Asian person in America. In this episode, they address their personal experiences with the Model Minority Myth, the notion of the Perpetual Foreigner, and struggles with self-identity and sense of belonging. They discuss Asian American empowerment, cultural barriers and cultural reconciliation, and the various ways that racial trauma has been embedded in their lives and in our society.
In their conversation, they find that many of their experiences have been similar, and they can find a sense of camaraderie and validity in their lived experiences. However, they also find differences in their lived experiences and viewpoints — a testament to the multifaceted nature of Asian American identity, and dispelling the notion that Asian Americans are a monolith. Just Law and APALSA invite the BC Law community to tune in on this episode as they create space for an open and honest conversation highlighting the challenges and experiences that are uniquely Asian American.
You can listen to the podcast below. A video Zoom recording of the episode can also be found at the bottom of this post.
President Biden Withdrawing US Troops from Afghanistan –
In this episode, Tom Blakely interviews international security expert Peter Krause on the US decision to withdraw from Afghanistan by September 11th, 2021.
Peter Krause’s research and teaching focus on international security, Middle East politics, terrorism and political violence, nationalism, and rebels and revolution. He has recently published one book and two co-edited volumes Rebel Power: Why National Movements Compete, Fight, and Win (Cornell University Press, 2017), Coercion: The Power to Hurt in International Politics (Oxford University Press, 2018), and Stories From the Field: A Guide to Navigating Fieldwork in Political Science (Columbia University Press, 2020). He has published articles on the causes and effectiveness of terrorism and political violence, why states negotiate with ethno-political organizations, social movements and territorial control in Israel, U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war, the politics of division within the Palestinian national movement, the war of ideas in the Middle East, a reassessment of U.S. operations at Tora Bora in 2001, and field research amidst COVID-19.
Krause has conducted extensive fieldwork throughout the Middle East. He currently teaches courses on Middle East politics, terrorism and political violence, research methods, and international relations. He is a faculty associate in the International Studies Program and the Islamic Civilization and Societies Program at Boston College, as well as a research affiliate with the MIT Security Studies Program.
Krause was formerly a Research Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs of the Harvard Kennedy School, the Crown Center for Middle East Studies of Brandeis University, LUISS University, and Uppsala University.
Finally, BC Law has been working with the Yellow Whistle Project this past month to distribute yellow whistles to members of our community. The Project’s mission statement is as follows:
“In nature, yellow is the color of daffodils and sunflowers, signaling the advent of spring, bringing hope, optimism, and enlightenment. In America, yellow has been weaponized against Asians as the color of xenophobia. The Yellow Whistle™ is a symbol of self-protection and solidarity in our common fight against historical discrimination and anti-Asian violence. The whistle is a simple gadget with a universal purpose — to signal alarm and call for help — for all Americans. We shall not remain silent, because we belong.”
A shipment of one hundred and fifty whistles have arrived at BC Law and will be distributed on campus (distribution details to follow). Members of our community are encouraged to pick up a whistle to show support in our collective fight against anti-Asian hate and to stand in solidarity with the Asian American community, as members of our community have so done during these past few months.
AAPI Heritage Month may be over, but this conversation is not. Anti-Asian violence is not. Our efforts to continue striving to be anti-racist cannot be over. We are still learning — all of us. We continue to expand our understanding and knowledge. We check our own privileges and biases. We reflect on our own complicity to racist systems and recognize the ways in which we uphold white supremacy. We show each other compassion as we learn and unlearn.
We celebrate being Asian American. We delight in it. We take pride in it.
Rosa Kim is a rising third-year law student at BC Law. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Four days from graduation, I think it’s safe to say that the 3L class has really been through it this year. Somehow we’ve persevered through crashed and lagging zoom meetings, sneezing into our own faces under masks in socially distanced classrooms, and not one, not two, but three rounds of remote exams taken in all corners of the globe.
So this week, we celebrate. Because we have freaking earned it! The 3L Week Committee–comprised of LSA President Kayla Snyder and Vice President Morgan Lam, 3L Reps Julianna Hernandez and Rachel Taylor, and me (Chair of the 3L Week/Gift Committee)–wanted to seize the opportunity for the first time in a long time to actually be together. We wanted to give our class the party it deserves! It was tough to plan, adjust, and re-plan and re-adjust around COVID guidelines, but the Committee put together a fantastic schedule.
Kicking it off last Friday night, we celebrated with the first bar review in a hot minute at BC After Dark at the Hillside Café, where graduating students enjoyed lots of drinks and delicious food at their very own outdoor on campus bar!
My semester ended over a week ago, so of course I already miss BC Law desperately. Final exams really just leave you wanting more. Hindered by my inability to time travel forward to the fall semester, I’ve decided to instead live vicariously through Elle Woods so that I can get back to the law school experience.
Thusly, while viewing the lauded documentary film “Legally Blonde” for the first time, I engaged in a critical analysis to see just how well it actually captures the genuine law school experience. In its totality, I would say the film is 99% accurate to what incoming students can expect from their 1L year at BC Law. However, there are a few minor inaccuracies worth mentioning. Just ten, as a matter of fact. Here they are:
As everyone keeping up with the media lately will be aware, the current situation in India is dire. At the beginning of the pandemic, India was doing relatively well, with rising cases under control and recovery rates relatively stable. India was scheduled to send millions of doses of vaccines to countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In fact, approximately ⅓ of the population in the world’s poorest countries was relying on India to deliver their vaccines.1 Now, India itself is in calamity, with over 300,000 cases being reported daily – and many experts believe this number is a significant undercount. There is a shortage of oxygen, ventilators, and hospital space, to the extent where parking lots are now being used as mass cremation sites.2 Reading this news and seeing these photos is, of course, troublesome to everyone. Watching all of this unfold as an Indian-American immigrant, though, has been especially taxing.
While finals week always seems to creep up on me, I still find myself making the same unpleasant preparations at this time every year. I have deleted social media apps on my phone that I typically spend way too much time on, stocked up on coffee and snacks, and have told my friends and loved ones not to bother me for the next few weeks.
As I have begun to delve into yet another round of days studying followed by a sequence of hours-long tests, I find myself clinging on to the idea that this will all be over soon–that I just have to get through the next couple of weeks and then I can enjoy that post-finals joy.
So, as a reminder to myself that this is all temporary, or maybe just some needed motivation to continue on, I have collected a few students’ thoughts on their feelings post-finals. Enjoy and good luck everyone!
With graduation just around the corner, I decided it was the perfect time to re-watch one of my favorite movies of all time—Legally Blonde. As I watched Elle Woods deliver her commencement speech, it finally hit me that law school really is coming to a close for me. How did three years go by so quickly?
When I first joined Impact during my 1L year, I had hoped that my final post would be about all of my favorite memories of my time at law school. Three rounds of Ski Trip, Law Prom, and Softball. Funny stories from countless bar reviews where the whole school decided to take a break from studying and gathered at a bar downtown. Long nights at the library trying to cram for a final in solidarity with my classmates, and on-campus events that always led to free lunch.
But sadly, that is not what happened. When the pandemic first hit, nobody had any idea how long things would be different, or how long we would be home. I remember first hearing whispers in March 2020 that “this will just be two weeks.” I even intended to be back in April to celebrate my birthday with friends. Then, all of a sudden, it’s been over a year of this, and things still aren’t back to normal. The vaccine rollout brings hope, but my classmates and I still won’t get the in-person graduation with all of our friends and families that we worked so hard to earn (and so much deserve).
For those who aren’t aware, I like to take on new challenges (like joining this blog, for example). As if 1L year isn’t busy enough, right? One of my favorites this year is the Just Law Podcast, which we launched in November 2020. We’ve put out ten episodes so far, with more great content coming before the end of the semester.
We have a great team. One of the toughest things (other than launching a podcast in the middle of a worldwide pandemic) is saying goodbye to good people, and this year we will be losing our 3L friends, Co-Hosts Lea Silverman and Kevin O’Sullivan, and Executive Producer Mark Grayson. These three helped found the podcast and were the main drivers in getting it off the ground, long before I came in. Suffice it to say, replacing them will be impossible.
But Joanna Plaisir and I will continue on, and our hope is to add new talent for next year to help us expand the podcast marketing and production team, as well as assist with interviews. We want to build Just Law for the long term, and hope to make it part of the fabric of BC Law, just like the Impact blog. Next year we’ll be in the studio (we hope) on campus, ready to record more great episodes for everyone out there listening. So if you’re a current or incoming student and have podcasting or sound mixing and engineering experience, and you want to get involved, email us at email@example.com and let us know. And check out Just Law on Captivate, or your favorite podcast platform.
On April 10, the BC Law Black Alumni Network (BAN) and the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) held their annual Ruth-Arlene Howe Heritage Banquet. As BLSA incoming co-presidents, KP and I addressed the attendees. Our speeches are reproduced below.
Thank you so much for the honor of serving as incoming co-president alongside KP, and our entire BLSA executive team, for this upcoming year. Personally, I am eager and excited to building stronger relationships with every BLSA member and supporter, as I’ve had the unfortunate circumstance of studying fully remotely this past year. But even more so, I look forward to continuing the legacy and momentum of past BLSA leadership.