BLSA Call to Action Open Forum Discussion

By Ashly McCants

On Tuesday, July 12, 2016, The John Marshall Law School’s Black Law Student Association hosted an open forum to discuss recent tragic events and issues concerning police brutality occurring in our country. The forum began as a discussion about Alton Sterling, a father of five and husband from Baton Rouge, La., and Philando Castile a cook from Falcon Heights, Minn., who were recently shot and killed by police officers while being recorded. The forum came to a positive end, as those in attendance suggested ideas and policy solutions that could be implemented to end police brutality in America.

Graduates of John Marshall, as well as Chicago-area professionals and students from surrounding law schools, attended the forum. Some of the ideas and thoughts shared at the forum included:

  • creating a legal clinic at JMLS where its law students offer legal advice for victims and those affected by police brutality;
  • requesting the Chicago Police Union to disclose and identify 100 police officers with the most excessive force complaints and demand they be fired; and
  • requiring the Chicago Police Union to provide a higher quality of training to its law enforcement.

Those in attendance believe this is a serious problem and police reform is needed in our nation. According to The Washington Post, black men constitute only 6% of the nation’s population but account for 40% of the 60 total unarmed citizens that law enforcement have fatally shot.

The Vice President of The Black Law Student Association at JMLS, Imani Waweru, stated there will be another meeting in the near future regarding these matters. To receive more information on the forum or upcoming events, email

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