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Bishop O’Dowd High School Stands for Social Justice

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O’Dowd Observes Catholic Schools Week with Founder’s Day Celebration

For Elizabeth Cabraser ’70, social justice is a way of life. Co-founder of the law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein and one of the nation’s leading class action litigators, Cabraser has been involved in landmark litigation, including a multi-billion dollar settlement for Holocaust survivors and their heirs against banks, private manufacturers and other corporations who enslaved and/or looted the assets of Jews and other minority groups persecuted by the Nazi Regime during the Second World War era. Currently, she is involved in litigation related to the opioid epidemic.

The keynote speaker at the Founder’s Day assembly held on February 1 in celebration of Catholic Schools Week, Cabraser said “the urge towards justice is in our DNA.”

She encouraged O’Dowd students to be ready to accept and then pass along the torch of social justice. “Justice is not something instantly achieved. We seek justice, we pursue justice, but often we do not realize it in our lifetimes,” she said. “Our job is to work toward justice and then to pass the torch, and to hope and to pray that others will continue to advance toward greater justice for everyone in the world.”

During the assembly, Principal JD Childs paid tribute to O’Dowd’s late president Steve Phelps, who passed away in December, and his efforts to advocate for social justice. “Dr. Phelps believed in providing opportunities for different kinds of people to learn from one another, to be influenced and formed by one another’s values, to be challenged to better than any of us could otherwise be through our mutual associations and our connection with one another,” he said. “In short, he believed in the O’Dowd we are creating together today.”

Organized by members of the Solidarity in Action club, assisted by Service Learning Director Beth Mueller and Associate Principal Brian Judd, the assembly also featured recognition of our school’s founder, Bishop James T. O’Dowd, song, inspiring messages from students sharing how they hope to incorporate social justice in their careers, a Kahoot social justice quiz, and special blessings for students, faculty and staff.


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