Why Passive Civil Rights Strategies Aren’t Enough


I have a peace sign tattooed on my wrist. When my friends get into fights, I mediate and do my best to diffuse the situation. But if there’s any life lesson I’ve brought away from my time at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, it’s that sometimes aggression is necessary in order to bring about lasting change. My sociology and international studies have focused on why conflicts between communities persist. In short, ruling powers control legal, economic and ethical values in order to maintain their power, whether I’m studying racial caste systems within the domestic or international populace, judicial systems have a passive, responsive role to historic hostility.

At the LCCR, I helped instruct small business clinics, answered the intake line, organized past, and present legal cases, and reached out to donors, educating them on how their funds were being allocated. These experiences gave me exposure to different types of law such as corporate, tax, intellectual property, civil and litigation. But I soon realized that despite the stresses of maintaining this organization, we were simply maintaining the status quo. We were the belated responders to an emergency crisis. Many callers were facing scary, dire or depleted living situations, and were denied simply because of distance, limited resources or lack of evidence.

I enjoyed working with passionate attorneys who value justice over higher income, but I realized how limited pro bono civil rights organizations can be. Taking on individual cases of discrimination are important, but scrutinizing the judicial system that enforces colorblind racism in America will bring about greater results. I know I want to pursue a law degree in order to protect myself from prosecution, but to also help deconstruct the mechanisms that implement the naturalization and minimization of contemporary racism.

Written by Tizzy Tiezazu, BC Class of 2017


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