Blog for the Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice at University of Cincinnati
Nikita Srivastava is a 3L at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. Currently, she is a legal extern for the Indigent Defense Clinic at the Hamilton County Public Defender's Office. Nikita's goals include fighting for indigent people by becoming a public defender and working hard to promote positive change. Through her research and writing, Nikita hopes to provide insightful thoughts on issues pertaining to race, gender, and social justice.
The Supreme Court of the United States in Masterpiece v. Colorado ruled 7-2 in favor of the Colorado Baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. However, the Court made a narrow decision leaving room open for a larger question: whether businesses can discriminate against gay individuals based on the rights protected in the First Amendment.
Everyone will have different experiences while working over the summer. Some may find the work load difficult or easy. Some may find the law frustrating or rewarding. At some point, all law school students will experience these feelings, however not everyone will experience the same work environment. Some students will experience microaggressions.
Microaggressions are brief and commonplace — daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities and invalidations, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults to the target person or group or “outsiders”. “Outsiders” are individuals who do not come from the dominant culture. They are women, people of color, and the LGBQT community. Usually, the “well-intentioned” people are the microaggressors–they are the ones who actively say and/or believe they are not racist, sexist, or homophobic; however, their actions or expressions say otherwise.
On March 24, 2018, more than five hundred men and women marched through Memphis Tennessee. Most of them had spent a large part of their lives in prison– a combined 3,501 years among them– for crimes they did not commit.
The march was the closing event for the 2018 Innocence Network conference, a gathering of exonorees and lawyers working on behalf of those wrongfully convicted. Exonorees came from every state in the country and from countries across the globe. They marched with attorneys and advocates and family. They held signs demanding change in the system that had wronged them. Demanding accountability. Demanding, at least, public recognition that innocent men and women were being arrested and convicted by agents acting on the public’s behalf.
UC Law Women teaches women how to fight the gender wage by giving its members the necessary negotiating techniques.
Nikita Srivastava (’19)
UC Law Women hosted a Salary Negotiation Event on March 21, 2018. As a group, UCLW wanted to provide a tool its members could use to fix gender related issues. For this event, UCLW focused on backlash women face when negotiating their salaries.
Professor Marjorie Aaron was the guest lecturer who crafted a presentation that focused on her work in negotiations and her own experience. She has not only participated in many negotiations herself, but also has written several scholarly articles on the topic including one about gender and negotiations. Professor Aaron delivered an interactive lecture that engaged in the students’ interests. The lecture started with general negotiation techniques that men and women could all use also known as gender-neutral techniques. These included: not disclosing what you want from a firm; not disclosing your information; learning about the firm; use anchoring; and do not overshoot.
Today Ru-El Sailor is a free man, after spending 15 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Over the years, Sailor continuously maintained and fought to prove his innocence. Then, finally, on March 28, 2018, the Cuyahoga County Court vacated his sentence.
How Sailor got Wrongly Convicted
In November 2002, Sailor was hanging out with his friends at a bar on the East Side of Cleveland. Across town, Nicole and Cordell Hubbard got into a dispute with Omar Clark . The matter got out of hands – threats, guns, and then shots rang out, leaving Clark dead. Cuyahoga County prosecutors roped in Sailor who Cordell Hubbard’s best friend at the time, wrongly believing that Sailor was the second man in this fatal shooting. Sailor testified that he was not the shooter nor was involved in this violent outburst. However, after a trial that included shady eye witness testimony that could not place Sailor at the scene, a jury still convicted Sailor. The court sentenced him to 28 years to life with the possibility of parole.
Guest Contributors: Gibran Pena-Porras (’19) and Natalia Trotter (’19)
The University of Cincinnati College of Law’s Latino Law Student Association (LLSA) and UC Law Women (UCLW) student organizations had the pleasure of hosting an immigration panel with guests Professor Yolanda Vazquez, from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, Attorney Julie LeMaster from the Immigrant and Refugee Law Center, and Attorney Deifilia Diaz from the Law Offices of Valencia and Diaz. The different focal areas of immigration law that each of these panelists work with every day provided for a lively and diverse discussion of current immigration issues.
These are only a few words Professor Janet Moore used to describe the Honorable Shira Scheindlin, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (ret.), this year’s Judge-in Residence at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
I had the pleasure to attend her lecture on Race and Policing, and have lunch with her the following day. As a law student, I’ve always told myself that I will be the change I want to see to paraphrase Mathama Gandhi. But, like many other law school students, I get bogged down by the environment at the law school. I stress out most of the time. I don’t get enough sleep. I find myself comparing me to other people making me insecure. I constantly fight the urges to lash out because of insecurities. In just two years, I forgot why I wanted to be a lawyer. However, Judge Shira Scheindlin reminded me why I made that choice.