This December, join the Law School in finding ways to “light the world.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is encouraging people to emulate the ministry of Jesus Christ by finding ways to share their time, love, and resources with those in need as part of a social media campaign to #LightTheWorld. Participants are encouraged to do this by helping and serving people in another part of the world, in their own communities, and in their families.
Week 2: Light the World by Serving Your Community
Emeritus BYU Law professor and founder of StrideOn (an online/classroom/on-site collaboration among BYU Law School, Slate Canyon Youth Center, and community members) David Dominguez continues to light the world by running the Court Watch program. Court Watch sends law students into the juvenile detention center to represent young people and ensure that their rights are protected at a time when they are most vulnerable. As Professor Dominguez taught his law students and continues to teach our community, “Samaritan Justice” requires that we succor those in need and reach out across barriers to make our communities larger and more inclusive.
Week 1: Light the World by Serving Refugees
Leonard Bagalwa, a refugee and the founder of the Utah Community and Refugee Partnership Center, recently met with law students to discuss his life and his life’s work. As he reminded the students, “[t]he community plays a big role in refugee and immigrant success. When you are their friend you will know [their needs].” Mr. Bagalwa’s work assisting others and lifting the refugee community in Utah exemplifies the message of love and support from both directions that Associate Dean Carolina Núñez shared during her recent university devotional: We must reach out to those who are different, not only because they may need us but because we need them. Are we humble enough to recognize that the Samaritans in our lives have something to offer us? Can we do as Jesus did when He chose to pass through Samaria on His way to Galilee rather than avoid a group of people who were not welcome at home?”
Over the last several years, the Law School’s Immigration and Refugee Initiative has created opportunities for BYU Law students to “light the world” through service to asylum seekers and other immigrants. Professors take the students to Dilley, Texas, where the largest family detention center in the country houses mothers and children who are seeking asylum in the United States. While in Dilley, the law students help these families prepare for their credible fear interviews, the first step in the long journey through the formal asylum process. Students also work with immigrants at the BYU Law Community Legal Clinic. Students working in the clinic offer free legal representation to clients on cases as varied as assisting DACA recipients to seeking an adjustment to a person’s immigration status. Jake Tuimaualuga, a 3L graduating this semester, recently reflected on his work at the clinic, saying, “I enjoyed getting to work with marginalized sections of society and seeing the difference we can make with our legal education. I would definitely recommend the experience to all students—if you want to feel like a real lawyer in school, participate in the school’s clinics.”
This story will be updated with new videos throughout the month. You can also see the updates on the Law School’s social media @BYULawSchool and #BYULaw) on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Join us in sharing goodness this holiday season and in the coming year by finding ways to #LightTheWorld.