This month, the Harvard Law School Legal Services Center in Jamaica Plain held an art opening: the theme was community and social justice. The artists and guests of honor at the March 5 event were more than 50 sixth-graders from the Helen Y. David Leadership Academy in Dorchester, along with their teachers and the school’s executive director.
Drawings, masks and collages were among the art on display in the LSC library. One student artist, commenting on his piece, a multicolored mask, explained the symbolism behind the colors: “Green is for the community growing after the Michael Brown killing; blue is for sadness that came over us when our culture and race were being killed; gold is for the achievement and success that African-Americans have had.”
Another artist said, “I wrote the words “life” on my drawing, because I believe everybody should have a good life. Not just a life.”
“Harvard Law School Clinical Professor Daniel Nagin kicked off the event, introducing the keynote speaker, Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow. Describing Minow as “principal of Harvard Law School,” Nagin told students: “She’s here because you matter, your artwork matters, and your dreams and your visions matter.”
Minow commended the students for recognizing the importance of community and fairness in their artwork. She said the Legal Services Center plays an important role in advancing fairness and justice by helping poor people in the community get the legal help they need to stay in their homes, protecting them from domestic violence, and helping them get money that they have been cheated out of.
“Justice needs advocates,” said Minow. “Justice needs people knowing their rights and saying, ‘I’ve been wronged’.”
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