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Florida Law School to Open Benjamin L. Crump Center for Social Justice in 2022

Written by Good Black News

December 3, 2021

The St. Thomas University College of Law in Miami Gardens, FL plans to open The Benjamin L. Crump Center for Social Justice in 2022.

The center will support a program for law students interested in civil rights and social justice, offering need-based financial aid, a speakers series and pro bono service placements for new lawyers, school officials said.

In the past decade, attorney Crump has risen to prominence by representing the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Breonna TaylorGeorge Floyd, and most recently, Ahmaud Arbery.

“Our country went through a national reckoning in the spring and summer of 2020,” said David. A. Armstrong, the president of St. Thomas University. “Ben Crump was at the center of that as the living civil rights attorney icon here in our country.”

Over the years, Crump has won financial settlements in close to 200 police brutality cases and has pushed cities to ban so-called no-knock warrants, in which police serve warrants at homes without warning.

“Lawyers can be the social engineers,” Crump said in a statement Thursday. “This Center will serve as a pipeline for historically marginalized students to get their law degrees and give back to society, following the legacy of my personal hero, Thurgood Marshall.”

To quote

Crump’s friendship with Tamara F. Lawson, the law school’s dean, who wrote the book Mainstreaming Civil Rights in the Law School Curriculum, meant the Florida campus was a natural site for the center.

The law school’s racial diversity also was a draw, school officials said. Black students were 7.57 percent of all incoming law students in the U.S. in 2019, according to the American Bar Association. At St. Thomas, 8.3 percent of students last year were Black and 64.9 percent were Latino, according to a report by PublicLegal, a research project founded by the University of Texas at Austin School of Law.

While the law school encourages all students to take on social justice work, special efforts will focus on marginalized students who can bring more diversity to the legal profession, Armstrong said. Crump said he hopes the center will pave the way for students looking for new opportunities in the field of law.

“My mother was a hotel maid who cleaned the rooms for the likes of many people who may be seated in this auditorium,” Crump said Thursday at the new center that bears his name. “And I just remember her and my grandmother, these two Black women who believed with everything in their heart that the American dream was for their children, too.

“We need a whole army of warriors to go out into the community to give a voice to those who have no voice, to say things in the world that are not being said, to take on challenges that others are afraid of,” he said.

Original article source: | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council

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