Kimski chef Won Kim created this graffiti art in response to the #StopAsianHate campaign.

I was so excited to be starting my first year in college. I remember walking into the university bookstore to buy what I needed for my classes. I walked up to the cashier, laid out my items, and saw the total on the register add up and up and up. I had never spent so much money on books before.

As I was getting rung up, the cashier and I started some casual small talk. I said that I was from one hour away in Massachusetts. I shared how nervous I was to be beginning classes in just a few…


Christopher Punongbayan is the Executive Director of California ChangeLawyers, a public foundation building a better justice system for all Californians.

The killing of Breonna Taylor has been a wake-up call to many Americans. Her life was cut short by local law enforcement, and two of three officers involved in her death went uncharged.

These events must be viewed in view of the larger system of “have” and “have nots” in America. Who gets to have justice, and who does not? Who gets to live, and who does not? Who gets to have opportunity, and who does not?

Black, indigenous, and…


Jasjit Singh holds a law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and is the Program Officer at ChangeLawyers.

As a Sikh, first-generation immigrant from Punjab, and a non-black person of color, I recognize and acknowledge that navigating this country, as hard as it has been, was possible due to the path forged by countless black lives that were enslaved, brutalized, torn from their mothers, their motherland, and forced to build a nation under instruction from white settlers that terrorized the indigenous brown lives and rightful owners of this land.

The fact is: the Black community fought to ensure Civil…


Gaganpreet Kaur is a California ChangeLawyers Alum (2019 1L scholar & 2019 Summer Law Clerk), and law student at the University of San Francisco School of Law

California is the most diverse state in the country. It is often viewed as a bellwether for the country on issues like diversity, acceptance, and progress. Yet, aspiring attorneys in the state of California — especially people of color — face a roadblock that stops the legal profession from reflecting the diversity of the communities that it serves.

In order to become a lawyer, law school graduates must pass the State Bar Exam…


J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

Carlos Aguilar is Chief Content Director at ChangeLawyers℠. He immigrated to California at the age of 4.

This week, the five conservative judges on the Supreme Court allowed the Trump Administration’s “public charge” rule to go into effect. This rule creates a wealth test to determine who is worthy of living in America. Permanent residency can now be denied to any and all immigrants who use government benefits for “basic needs such as food and housing”. This includes anyone who ever received Medicaid, Medicare, or SNAP (food stamps) benefits.

This rule is so broad, that nearly 70% of the people


📸 NYT/John Moore/Getty Images

Bianca Sierra Wolff is Deputy Director at ChangeLawyers℠. Last month, she traveled to Tijuana to visit migrant shelters as part of Hispanics in Philanthropy’s Border Summit.

Weeks after my visit to the border, I still struggle to share what I saw. I am the daughter of Mexican immigrants, and I couldn’t help but think: that could have been us. My children are just one generation removed from one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

And yet, I must speak up precisely because I am in a position of privilege and power. I am an American citizen; a lawyer…


Bianca Sierra Wolff is a lawyer and Deputy Director at ChangeLawyers℠.

I’ve worked in philanthropy for almost four years at ChangeLawyers, a foundation that funds the next generation of social justice lawyers. I’m proud of the initiatives and programs we’ve launched; the bold resolve of my colleagues; and the fearlessness of the communities we fund.

I am not proud of the fact that those in positions of power in the legal field continue to look the same — and think the same.


Image cred: We Are Mitu

The following essay was written by Christopher Punongbayan, a lawyer and Executive Director at California ChangeLawyers, and Neri Lozano, a paralegal at Inner City Law Center and soon-to-be law student.

The college cheating scandal this month has shown what many of us have known for a long time: our higher education system favors the rich and powerful.

At the same time that federal prosecutors indicted over 30 wealthy people in the largest higher education scam in history, the Trump Administration released their latest budget proposal that slashes over $7 billion in funding for the Department of Education. And one of…


Mourning near Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Tuesday. Photo Cred: Adam Dean for The New York Times

The following editorial was written by Catelyn Spencer, Development Officer at California ChangeLawyers.

I had just begun my freshman year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill during the fall of 2001. That September 11, I learned things about my own whiteness that I never could have expected.

I was a white kid who’d grown up in a socially responsible, but de-facto segregated community. I was aware of people who were different from me, but all my friends and the majority of the people I interacted with on a daily basis were white and Christian. I didn’t even…


Image cred: Variety

The following essay was written by Bianca Sierra Wolff, a lawyer, Stanford Law grad, and Deputy Director at California ChangeLawyers.

Federal prosecutors just indicted over 30 wealthy parents in the largest higher education scam in history. Wealthy parents scammed, faked, colluded, and cheated their way into elite schools.

And yet none of this surprises me. Instead, this scandal is a reminder that higher education, like so many of our American institutions, has always favored the wealthy and privileged.

Too many kids of color don’t even get the chance to attend schools like Harvard and Stanford. And for those who do…

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