Community Voices: Student-led law school chapters to fight anti-semitism open in the Twin Cities

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As we develop our skills to be the next generation of lawyers, we must be aware of the social issues today both in the Twin Cities community and nationally. As Jewish students, in many ways, we have an even larger responsibility. That is one of the reasons I helped launch the recent opening of the first Midwest chapter of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (LDB) at the University of Saint Thomas School of Law.

This is a Community Voices submission and is moderated but not edited. The opinions expressed by Community Voices contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the TC Daily Planet.

As a school with a very small Jewish population, issues relating to Jewish students are often overlooked. Rosh Hashanah passes without much of an acknowledgment from the greater community. Even more disturbing, there has been a huge spike in anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incidents on campuses in the Twin Cities and throughout the country. In fact, more than 40% of Jewish American college students report that they have experienced or are aware of anti-Semitism on their campuses.

The LDB chapter at Saint Thomas School of Law will join a network of student-led law school chapters in Boston, Charlottesville, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. that combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism on college and university campuses. We plan to bring speakers from around the United States to Minneapolis to speak to students and community members. Specifically, we would like to educate others about Jewish civil rights advocacy, counter-terrorism legal policy and international human rights law. Discrimination of any kind hurts everyone, so it is our mission to educate in hopes of preventing discrimination in the future.

We will offer a safe environment for those in the community to speak with others about their concerns. We will also provide opportunities to learn about past and current discrimination. We look forward to engaging students, faculty and the entire Twin Cities community in our efforts to prevent campus anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism.

Bethany Hanson is a second year law student and the new LDB chapter president at Saint Thomas School of Law. She is pursuing a career in international human rights and international negotiations