“The Leadership Institute lasted for two very full, intense days – not just speakers but also group discussions, role-playing, and interactive workshops, from event planning to policymaking. It was incredible to join about 70 other student leaders with such a vibrant diversity of lived experiences and impressive accomplishments,” says Delaware student Beth Steinberg, who attended the 2012 Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ) Annual Leadership Institute held at Berkeley Law on July 28th and 29th.
Beth, who will serve as the President of the Women’s Law Caucus
during the 2012-13 academic year, previously attended two LSRJ regional events in Washington, D.C., which helped inspire the “Roe v. Wade at 39” symposium
that won the 2012 Student Bar Association’s Best Student Organization Event Award for 2011-12. She received an invitation to the leadership institute, which she called “an honor” before adding, “LSRJ’s events are phenomenally well-organized and it’s all cutting-edge material with powerful, prestigious speakers. I couldn’t wait to find out what I’d be learning this time.”
Sujatha Jesudason, director of the CoreAlign Initiative at UC San Francisco, proved a particularly engaging presenter. “She introduced revolutionary visualizations of statistics about the movement, and she challenged us all as future lawyers, policymakers, and leaders to deeply consider the direction of RJ. What struck me most: her message to tell our stories with ourselves as the hero, not the victim,” observes Beth.
While Widener does not currently have its own LSRJ chapter, attending the institute did provide Beth with some ideas that will impact the agenda of the Women’s Law Caucus for 2012-13.
“Working through Women’s Law Caucus as the reproductive justice chair, I hope to increase understanding of the reproductive justice movement throughout the Widener community, to inspire people to get more involved, and with luck, maybe some new faces will start a chapter,” she says, adding, “I’m very excited to present several innovative events this semester, including an introduction to the reproductive justice framework and tabling events on timely issues such as the shackling of female prisoners during childbirth. We also plan to screen a fantastic new documentary about sex workers and Delaware’s criminal justice system response, and in January, we’ll reprise the multi-issue symposium to coincide with Roe v. Wade’s 40th anniversary.”