WMU-Cooley Law School Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day

2016 MLK Day Events.

WMU-Cooley Law School honored the life and influence of slain civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with thoughtful discussions and helpful service to the community. Each campus celebrated the day in their own special way, commemorating the spirit and teachings of Dr. King.

Grand Rapids campus invited public to help commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with brief essays

On Monday, January 18, WMU-Cooley Law School’s Grand Rapids’ campus invited students and the public to participate in an essay project. Blank panels were placed in the law school’s lobby for individuals to write short statements on the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“This was an opportunity for students to write and remember his (Dr. King’s) life and how his life affects us today,” said WMU-Cooley student Demar Sheffey.

Tampa Students Honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Volunteering at Everyday Blessings

Students, faculty and staff from WMU-Cooley Law School’s Tampa Bay campus honored the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on Monday, Jan. 18, by volunteering at Everyday Blessings, a foster care organization located in Thonotosassa, Florida.

Volunteers provided lunch for foster children, ages one to 17, living at the facility. The foster children and WMU-Cooley volunteers played games and participated in various activities relating to who Dr. King was and the importance of commemorating his civil rights efforts. Additionally, Mark Patterson of the law school’s Student Bar Association gave a presentation on Dr. King.

Following the presentation, each child was paired with a WMU-Cooley student to discuss their dreams. “It was truly amazing to see just how touched and fulfilled the Cooley students were while discussing each child's inner desires, said Tony Alvarado, WMU-Cooley student services coordinator. “Lifetime bonds were made that day which will facilitate an ongoing and growing relationship between WMU-Cooley Law School and Everyday Blessings of Tampa.”

Auburn Hills Campus Hosted Discussion on Use of Deadly Force by Police

On Monday, January 18, WMU-Cooley Law School’s Auburn Hills campus’ students hosted a panel discussion, “Death by Police: Justifiable Homicide or Excessive Use of Force.” The discussion was part of WMU-Cooley’s Equal Access to Justice Day. It focused on law enforcement's use of deadly force and where it is excessive and where it is justified. The program was moderated by Professor Lewis Langham, former deputy legal counsel and criminal justice policy adviser for former Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm.

Panelists included Chief Eric Hawkins, Southfield Michigan police department; Dr. Amanda Alexander, member of the ACLU Lawyers Committee and University of Michigan law professor who focuses on racial justice movements; Yusef Shakur, social activist; Harold Gurewitz, criminal defense attorney at Gurewitz & Raben, PLC; and Kwasi Akwamu, community activist

When reviewing recent national cases' dash cam and bystander videos where lethal force was used, Hawkins said, "What I see is a lack of training in the officers ... and agencies with a lack of discipline. I refuse to abandon hope that this system can work."

Kwasi Akwamu disagreed with Hawkins, "I long ago abandoned hope ... a lot of legalese is not going to change anything when you are dealing with built-in biases."

Lansing Campus Students Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Day of Service

To recognize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s efforts of uniting individuals together to support a greater cause, WMU-Cooley Law School’s students, faculty and staff participated in a day of service on Jan. 18. Volunteers spent the afternoon at the Greater Lansing Food Bank, Capital Area Humane Society, Volunteers of America Kitchen, and Potter Park Zoo. Nearly 50 individuals participated in the sixth annual day of service.

“There's no better way to honor his legacy then to do the same thing he fought so hard for, which is to give back to the community,” said WMU-Cooley student Sianei Gbleehai.

About Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School: Western Michigan University and Thomas M. Cooley Law School affiliated in 2014, combining the status of a nationally-ranked, public, comprehensive research university with the commitment to practical legal education of an independent, non-profit, national law school. WMU-Cooley is accredited by both the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. The law school has provided nearly 20,000 graduates with the practical skills necessary for a seamless transition from academia to the real world, and enrolls classes in January, May, and September at its Lansing, Auburn Hills, and Grand Rapids, Michigan campuses, and its Tampa Bay, Florida campus. WMU and the law school continue to operate as independent institutions with their own governance structure and separate fiduciary responsibilities.


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