Someone who attended the Equal Justice Works Awards Dinner video taped Reena Arora, a student at the New York University School of Law, who gave a wonderful thank you speech upon winning the Martindale-Hubbell Exemplary Public Service Award.
She spoke about the due process rights of immigrants who, even in civil cases she saw, were dressed in orange jump suites, barely afforded adequate legal representation, and generally treated like criminals (even though, again, these were civil cases and this was before any adverse finding). She saw that rights were not being adequately protected and that people were striped of their human dignity.
But what I found really interesting was that the project started with just bringing observers into these proceedings. While the original goal was to simply do research she found that the very fact of their presence changed the way the judges acted. They began to treat these people more as human beings. The power of observation and caring is powerful indeed.
I think the same is true in all walks of life. And it’s true even in business. We need to listen, learn, and really care. The very fact of doing so will bring about change.
Thank you Reena both for the work you’re doing for Equal Justice and for the wonderful and thought provoking speech.