The young are at it again. Thank goodness. Last issue, this column focused on the admission essays of five members from the class of 2020. Their words, their compassion, and their aspirations held promise for better tomorrows. If there were enough young people out there like them, it could be reasoned, then hope was alive that the public good was still a breathing part of the American zeitgeist. A number of tragic incidents since that writing, among them school shootings and separating families at the border, speak loudly to the young, and they are responding with a level of activism not seen in decades.
School is where young people go to learn, and one takeaway from those who attend BC Law is that social justice matters. For twenty years, the Law School has run the Public Service Scholars program, providing scholarships to select students who commit to public service careers. It now comes under a new umbrella initiative called (LEAPS), Leaders Entering and Advancing Public Service, which launches this fall.
The magazine journeys with four such scholars as they recount how their youthful compulsion to right wrongs has played out in their lives. Gretchen Hunt ’00 takes us into a victims advocacy office, Polly Crozier ’02 onto the frontlines of LGBTQ rights, JT Do ’12 to the DOJ’s environmental division, and Stephanie Johnson inside the affordable housing sector.
BC Law has produced countless others who give back in ways shaped by experiences in their youth. Ali Silvert ’84 is one of them. Tear-gassed as a kid while marching with his mother against the Vietnam War, he took up environmental and military gender-discrimination causes as a law student, and eventually became a federal public defender. He has never let go his grip on injustice, and that tenacity has paid off. Most recently, Silvert blew the lid off one of the largest public corruption scandals in Hawaii’s history, a saga chronicled in the Summer 2018 issue.
David Fialkow ’85 is another example, and we write about him in this edition. He puts his venture capital money where his heart is, producing as a hobby documentaries about social justice villains and heroes. As a childhood friend says of Fialkow: “The idea of cheating at all is repugnant to David.” His latest film, on the Russian doping of athletes, just won an Academy Award.
Fialkow, like so many of his Boston College Law School colleagues young and old, is that good at doing good.
Vicki Sanders, Editor
Photograph by Adam Detour