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Diversity Committee Hosted First Annual Day in Court Program

Abington, PA - The Montgomery Bar Association’s Diversity Committee, in partnership with three locally based parent-student leadership groups, hosted their first annual Day in Court program on Tuesday, May 29 at the Montgomery County Courthouse. 

Attending middle school and high school students from Abington School District observed a live court proceeding and had the opportunity to meet with Montgomery County Judges Cheryl L. Austin, Garrett D. Page and Carolyn T. Carluccio, as well as District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, retired Chief Detective Oscar Vance (both graduates of Abington High School) and Public Defender Keir Bradford-Grey. Throughout the day’s events, students partnered with mentor attorneys Marilou Watson and Lindette Hassan of Fox Rothschild LLP, Shelly Smith of the Law Offices of Charles Daly, Mohammad Ghiasuddin of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. and Kelly Hodge of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.  The students were also treated to surprise visits from Montgomery County Commissioners Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards, who provided an overview of the workings of county government and the roles that they, as commissioners, play on behalf of the citizens of Montgomery County.

Participating students were members of two homegrown, award-winning minority leadership programs which operate in partnership with the Abington School District: VIBE, (Voices Involved in promoting Black Excellence) which encourages positive self-identity and fosters leadership development among young males, and its female counterpart, IMAGINE, (I’m A Girl, Intelligent, Noble and Educated) which provides African-American girls a forum to self-advocate, improve self-image and to generally enrich their lives.  Both of these programs, founded by administrators at Abington Jr. High School, aim to give a voice to diverse students throughout the school and community and assist them in embracing their talents and goals. The CALM Society (Committed Advocates Leading Many), a parent group, also works in partnership with the Abington School District to support these programs.  

The Day in Court program is part of the Montgomery Bar Association’s efforts to promote diversity within the legal community.  Other initiatives include the 1L Summer Internship for diverse first year law students.  In the fall, members of Montgomery Bar Association’s Diversity Committee will teach courses in the law to middle and high school students throughout the Abington School District, with hopes to extend the program to other school districts in Montgomery County.