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O’Dowd Students Impress at Regional Justice Advocacy Competition

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What would Martin Luther King Jr. say about the way students have been reacting to the presidency?

Seniors Antoneil Carter and Isabel Hallock tackled that question when they applied for a scholarship through the National Bar Association’s 2017 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Justice Advocacy Competition.

This competition encourages students to express their views on a pre-selected topic (always considered from the point of view of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) and focuses on the ability of the students to communicate orally and in writing. It is also designed to give young people experience in public speaking and reviewing legal documents as well as provide an opportunity for them to obtain some financial support to continue their education.

After advancing through a local competition, held in Oakland on April 15, Isabel placed first at the regional competition, held in Marina del Rey on April 29, during the California Association of Black Lawyers Conference, while Antoneil placed second. They received awards of $700 and $200 respectively.

As one of 12 regional winners from across the country, Isabel will participate in the National Competition set for Aug. 3 in Toronto, Canada.

Isabel said that she feels Dr. King would be elated that students are taking initiative in political culture and society. “But he would not be happy about the lack of clear objectives, and the sole purpose of a hashtag being an awareness builder instead of having a lasting impact on bigger societal change,” she said.

Antoneil pointed out that Dr. King was very supportive of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and helped organize students in peaceful protests. “I think he would commend students today for organizing themselves peacefully, using their voices as a weapon instead of physical violence,” she said.

The regional competition was intense, the duo said, as they presented in front of a group of accomplished lawyers.

“We talked with them afterwards and they were very nice and extended their congratulations. They also handed out their business cards and encouraged us to pursue public speaking and law,” Antoneil said.


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