Turner Smith is already showing great promise as a social change agent. He approaches the problems of injustice through direct service to those whom society has de-privileged and through efforts to raise awareness of injustice among those most privileged by society. In addition to Mr. Smith's many service activities, he is leading efforts to create a Mock Trial program at Oklahoma Christian University, which would raise awareness about cases of systematic injustice. As he says, "My hope is that this program will encourage students from Oklahoma Christian University to be future leaders in the legal industry with a particular passion for promoting social justice in our judicial systems." I am happy to be recommending Mr. Smith as a Newman Civic Fellow. I believe he is going to be a difference maker.
When I was young, I thought that everyone had the same life as me, had the same opportunities as me. Eventually I realized that some people looked differently than me, and that some people had less money than me, yet I never fully grasped the implications of this phenomenon until being forced to confront the inequality after the George Zimmerman case and in every subsequent case of police brutality, racism, and institutionalized injustice that followed it. As I delved further into an interest in legal studies and historical analysis, I noticed that instances of legal discrimination due to race and class were not isolated instances, but institutionalized. Now I am in the process of founding a Mock Trial program on my university's campus in order to instill a passion for social justice in my fellow students through examining cases of injustice. I have also recently applied for a summer internship with Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, an association that helps those imprisoned due to institutionalized discrimination. Upon finishing my undergraduate degree, I will attend law school where I will be equipped with the tools to begin a legal career dedicated to resolving institutionalized legal injustice and discrimination.