PISLAP Represented at Law and Social Change Jam in San Francisco, April 29-May 3, 2015 Ngoc Nguyen

"Morning City" by John August Swanson, www.johnaugustswanson.com

"Morning City" by John August Swanson, www.johnaugustswanson.com

It was a humbling and uplifting experience for me in San Francisco this past week, where a group of thirty law changemakers came together to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the legal system.  The event, the Law and Social Change Jam, was hosted by Yes!, a nonprofit organization that connects, inspires and collaborates with changemakers to join forces for thriving, just and sustainable ways of life for all.  During the five day convening at the Green Gulch Farm, just north of San Francisco, facilitators asked participants to engage in difficult discussions about the current challenges and condition of the legal system, the obstacles in building a more humanistic and compassionate legal profession, and how to reconnect to the values of peace, healing, and love in the pursuit of justice as defined by Martin Luther King, Jr.  Many PISLAP members were present for the discussions, including Perry Saidman and Susan Brooks; as well as legal professionals from legal aid, restorative justice outfits, nonprofits, and legal eduction across the U.S. and Canada.

It was a challenging time together for me, mainly because of the difficulty in discussing the burning questions surrounding large and amorphous concepts such as "justice," "advocate," and "holistic," and feeling as though there was not enough time to solve anything even when urgency to find a solution (or solutions) grows.  One thing was certain, however, and that was the ability for people to connect emotionally to the struggles, pain, and passion each person felt for social change in the law.  In the end, participants built a community of shared values, vision, and drive for their work, and many were rejuvenated and reinspired to continue working in their communities in an effort to create a more spiritual and healing justice system.

To learn more about the Yes! Jam, check out Yes