Category: News

Welcome to Discovering Justice, Emily Duggan

Last week, Discovering Justice welcomed our new Communications and Development Senior Associate to the team. Welcome, Emily Duggan!

Emily Duggan believes in the importance of experiential learning programs to help young people explore new perspectives, environments, and ideas. A poet and performer, Emily is proud to have supported communications and development initiatives for a variety of local nonprofits. She earned a BA in Creative Writing from Brandeis University, with graduate study in Theatre Education at Emerson College and Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Emily will be working with Executive Director Matt Wilson and all members of the Discovering Justice team to implement communications, promote our programs, and plan the Annual Gala in the June.

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Special panel event in explores court interpreting

Last month, Discovering Justice hosted a special panel event: “Court Interpreting Within The Judiciary: Making Justice Accessible.” Moderated by Discovering Justice Executive Director Matt Wilson, the panel of court interpreters, judges, and attorneys highlighted the essential role interpreters play in the courtroom and larger legal system, and the challenges those interpreters face. 

Sponsored by The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the Federal Bar Association, and the New England Translation Association, the event was a part of an ongoing public events series in the Moakley US Courthouse from the Courthouse and Discovering Justice. Over the last two years, this series has offered events focusing on Restorative Justice and the role of the media in the justice system.

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Fall Mock Trial Program Poses First Amendment Challenges for Student Attorneys

For ten weeks last fall, hundreds of Massachusetts middle school students were brimming with excitement. Through Discovering Justice’s Mock Trial program, student attorneys used a timely First-Amendment case (Jordan King v. Granger School District) to examine the interplay between social media, environmental justice, bullying, and free speech – hot-button topics that are only increasing in relevance and urgency, especially for students.

Discovering Justice’s 2023 Fall Mock Trial Final Event showcases were the largest of its kind in the program’s history. In 13 courthouses across the Commonwealth, 34 teams of over 400 total student attorneys presented their cases. Supporting the event were 180 legal mentors, 34 state and federal judges, 300+ volunteer jurors, and 36 teacher coordinators from 15 communities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. 

Throughout the program, student attorneys wrestled with the tension between students’ right to free speech and the ability to come to school without being bullied. In Jordan King v. Granger School District, a high-school environmentalist brings a case against her school for violating her right to free speech. School administrators demand that she remove videos that she had posted on the TikTok social media platform to call out student peers for contributing to climate change. 

Discovering Justice Mock Trial and Mock Appeal Programs Manager Lisa Perez Tighe called the final events “inspiring,” describing courtrooms “filled with proud families and community members” who had gathered together to celebrate “the hard work done by the students, teachers, and legal mentors.” 

Added Tighe, “witnessing students learn firsthand about their constitutional rights highlights the critical civic and democratic ideals Discovering Justice endeavors to instill.”

Lisa Tighe addresses student attorneys during open ceremonies for the first of two standing-room-only events in Springfield, Mass.
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Welcoming Katherine Susich to Discovering Justice!

Discovering Justice is excited to welcome Katherine Susich to its staff. Katherine joins the team as Development and Administrative Associate.

Katherine believes strongly in the role of democracy and civic education in mitigating social conflict and building prosperous, inclusive communities. Before joining Discovering Justice in November, she worked as the Program Associate for the Consortium on Gender, Security, and Human Rights at the University of Massachusetts – Boston. Katherine graduated from The Catholic University of America with degrees in History and World Politics, and earned a master’s degree in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice from Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland.

A key administrative support and essential member of Discovering Justice’s Fundraising team, Katherine works with COO Ann Gogol to improve administrative and development systems, to steward donors, foundations, and more, and to coordinate our spring Gala’s online auction.

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Art Exhibit at the Courthouse: Students Discovering Justice at the Moakley

Through December, Moakley Courthouse staff and visitors can visit an art exhibit that highlights students participating in Discovering Justice civic education programs. 

The art display, a collection of ten photos, highlights students ages six to sixteen engaging in Discovering Justice programs. Middle school students from across the Commonwealth are pictured engaging in our Mock Trial and Mock Appeal Programs and students from Boston Public Schools, who use our Children Discovering Justice curriculum, are captured participating in Field Trips at the Moakley where they explore the question: What is Justice, and how can I use my voice to advocate for it?

The exhibit, located on the second floor at the Moakley, showcases photos by photographer Reba Saldanha and former Discovering Justice Fellow Megan Schneider.

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Discovering Justice Partnering with First Circuit Court and new Breyer Center

Discovering Justice is proud to announce a new partnership with the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit Court to bring more civic education programs to students in the First Circuit’s jurisdiction, which includes Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico.

One of the cornerstones of the First Circuit’s work is the creation of The Stephen G. Breyer Community Learning Center on Courts and the Constitution. Currently under construction on the 9th Floor in the Moakley Courthouse, the Center will involve teachers and learners throughout the First Circuit to discover firsthand how the judicial system, the courts and the Constitution impact our lives.

 

Discovering Justice will partner with the First Circuit to help the Breyer Center serve as a vibrant learning space, engaging students, community members, judges, prominent speakers in the legal and education communities, members of the bar, and state, local and international court partners. 

“We are excited to partner with the First Circuit to offer civic engagement activities to learners of all ages and backgrounds through teacher training, field trips, speaker panels, mock trials and Courthouse tours,” said Discovering Justice Executive Director Matt Wilson.

The Breyer Center will include an exhibition space with permanent and rotating exhibitions, read-alongs and oral histories, interactive civics displays, and the presentation of First Circuit historical materials. The exhibition space is expected to open in the Fall of 2024. 

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Kayla Nordman

Kayla Nordman believes strongly in expanding access to comprehensive civic education to provide the next generation with the resources they need to uphold and expand upon the values of American democracy and create a more equitable future. Before joining Discovering Justice, she worked as a Legislative Intern at the Massachusetts State House and as a Program Manager for the Massachusetts Center for Civic Education. Kayla graduated from Suffolk University with a BA in International Relations.