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Dean Trasviña Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Civil Rights Act

February 27, 2014

USF School of Law Dean John Trasviña celebrated the courage of young people pushing for change in his first campus-wide address, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.

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“There are so many examples of young people being active and really standing ahead of others.”

In the Feb. 25 discussion, Trasviña highlighted the key struggles and legislative victories of the civil rights movement, including laws protecting Americans against racial and gender discrimination.

“It should not be a surprise that young people were at the core,” Trasviña told the audience of faculty, staff, and students. “There are so many examples of young people being active and really standing ahead of others.”

Cultivating that spirit, he said, is at the heart of a USF School of Law education. 

“We ask ‘who else,’ when we admit a student. Who else’s legal protections are advancing? Who else has that student advocated for, and who else will that student advocate for? Whose lives and conditions are touched and improved when we train that prospective student to be an attorney?”

“All of us here at USF are here to train the next generation of leaders, and in my case, lawyers. The time to act is now,” he said, invoking the words of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.

Trasviña also celebrated the courage of DREAMer activists and their supporters fighting for immigration reform, one of the critical civil rights challenges of today.

His speech was followed by a Q & A session moderated by Shabnam Koirala-Azad, associate dean of the USF School of Education and associate professor of international and multicultural education. 

The event was co-sponsored by the Office of Diversity Engagement and Community Engagement and the University Council on Diversity and Inclusion.