BYU Law Students Engage in Civil Rights Leadership Tour in Washington, D.C.

This spring, thirteen BYU Law student research fellows embarked on an accelerated three-day leadership study tour in Washington, D.C. Students were accompanied by members of the BYU Law Council of Inspiring Leaders (CIL) who sponsored the tour. The council is comprised of experienced leaders who donate their time and money to mentor current law students.

The Leadership Study Tour allowed participating students to actually meet with and learn from donors, which was a whole new kind of giving,” said Erika Nash, a third-year law student. “I’m so grateful for the generosity of all those who made the program possible, and I look forward to the day when I can do the same.”

This year’s tour focused on civil rights and Thurgood Marshall.

“It was a heavy topic to review because of the many injustices during that time,” said Clark Jones, a second-year law student. “I found it uplifting to be there alongside these great CIL attorneys as they shared their insight on important leadership qualities and tactics they noticed in the content of the tour.”

One particular highlight of the tour was a private audience with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan who has been recognized by the NAACP for her civil rights contributions. She shared personal stories about her experience clerking for Justice Thurgood Marshall. 

Students and leaders also spent a day in Baltimore, Maryland—the birthplace of Thurgood Marshall. They visited the Reginald Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, the Mount Vernon Cultural District, and the Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site.

“I will be forever grateful to have learned more about Thurgood Marshall and the need for us to get proximate and to be reminded of the responsibility we have as lawyers,” said Rhonda Peck, a third-year law student.

Learning about past influential leaders in law, such as Thurgood Marshall, side-by-side with today’s leaders was an inspiring combination. From these powerful examples, students left the tour with increased confidence in their ability to make a positive impact.

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