UConn Law Hosts Annual Diversity Week

by Liz O’Donnell

“There is no us without U” was the theme of the week when UConn Law hosted its Fourth Annual Diversity Week Monday, March 24 through Friday, March 28. The campus-wide event was sponsored by Shipman & Goodwin LLP and featured participation from various student groups on campus.

“In 2014, Diversity Week will focus on the idea of authentic community,” said Diversity Communications Director Dan Lage, in an interview prior to the event. “We’ll be looking at what makes us unique as well as what binds us together, and we’ll be making space to have authentic conversations about challenges we face and overcome in our distinct identities and communities.”

photo via law.uconn.edu

This year’s event, which honored UConn Law’s diverse student body, faculty, and staff, featured several new events, including the YOU-Conn Law Showcase.  The showcase featured a variety of acts, including sword fighting, stand-up comedy, cultural dances, and vocal performances.

“The Diversity Committee hope[d] that this event will inspire the student body to recognize that everyone in the law school is unique and [can] contribute something new to the community,” D’Baptist said.

“One of my main goals was to incorporate more of the student body’s diversity than in years past,” Diversity Committee Co-Chair John D’Baptist said, “This meant not only incorporating socio-economic, ethnic, racial, religious, and gender diversity, but also the diverse talent within the student body.”

D’Baptist credited his time as an undergraduate at Georgetown as inspiration for his desire to create a “de-stress” event where the student body could come together and take a break from the pressures of law school.

In addition to the YOU-Conn Law Showcase, Diversity Week also included a panel on Asian-Americans and Invisibility in Law and Politics, which D’Baptist said was created to bring awareness to the unique challenges that Asian-American lawyers and politicians face in the legal world.

Diversity Week also included “Against All Odds: Stories of Winning Pro-Bono Attorneys and Their Clients,” which was created to feature true stories told by people in the community who have overcome obstacles through litigation.

Complementing these new events was the signature event, “The Power of Our Narratives,” in which students shared with their peers intricate, inspiring, and emotional life stories.