Youth See Themselves in Legal Professions with Color of Justice - Cook Inlet Tribal Council
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Youth See Themselves in Legal Professions with Color of Justice

Annual event to encourage young people of color to enter legal field is a success

The 2023 Color of Justice cohort. High school students met April 6 – 7 to learn about professions in the legal field.

This April 6 and 7, 64 Anchorage high school students saw the future—at least, one version of it. Thanks to the Color of Justice program, hosted by the Alaska Native Justice Center (ANJC) and its partners, students got an opportunity to imagine themselves in the legal field.

One student who hadn’t previously considered a legal career before the event reported that, after participating in a mock trial at the Color of Justice event, he wanted to become an attorney working for the defense.

Hosted in partnership with the State of Alaska Court System and the Anchorage School District, the Color of Justice event aims to inspire and encourage historically underrepresented populations in the legal field—mainly women and ethnic minorities—to consider careers as attorneys, judges, and other positions in the legal system.

At Color of Justice, high school students participated in mock trials, met with attorneys and judges, and learned about legal issues important to Alaska Native tribes.

This year, five Alaska Native students were among the participants at the Color of Justice event.

“We hope that the knowledge and connections formed here will inspire students to consider a career in the legal profession and judiciary,” said ANJC Senior Legal and Policy Director Alex Cleghorn. “We are proud that this event supports Alaska Native youth and inspires them to make change in their Tribal communities.”

The event allowed students to meet in small groups with Alaska Native attorneys, law fellows, and state court judges to talk about their career journeys. Alaska Supreme Court Justices also worked directly with the students.

Students also got the chance to experience aspects of working in the legal field and learn more through activities like a mock trial, Constitutional Cranium, and “You Be the Judge,” where participants debated and decided the outcomes of real cases. With “Mentor Jet,” they experienced speed mentoring with legal professionals.

ANJC’s participation in the event was made possible by a generous grant from The CIRI Foundation, which helped cover staff time, giveaways for the students, and transportation. The program received additional support from partners including the American Civil Liberties Union, Alaska Bar Association, Kawerak, Inc., the Bristol Bay Regional Career and Technical Education Program, and University of Alaska Anchorage.

ANJC, the Alaska Court System, and Anchorage School District look forward to hosting more successful events in the future, continuing to empower and inspire the next generation of legal professionals. For more information on ANJC and its programs, visit anjc.org.