You are invited to take part in an extraordinary program called Constitution Day. Eight years ago, Congress declared the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, Sept. 17, 1787, to be a national holiday, and mandated that all public schools provide educational programming on the Constitution on that day. For six years now, the San Diego ACLU has been coordinating a great matching program, in which scores of attorneys lead dynamic, interactive, nonpartisan discussions in hundreds of classrooms across the county on (or near) that day.
Last year, about 150 attorneys presented to 445 classrooms, reaching more than 13,500 students! Each year, the program grows, and the need for pro bono presenters is greater than ever. When you do the math, you’ll see that the program is in desperate need of more volunteer presenters. That’s where you come in. I encourage you to join San Diego’s legal community and speak to a class or two on Constitution Day 2012. The program is sponsored by a Constitution Day Council, headed by the Hon. H. Lee Sarokin, U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit (ret.) and the Hon. James Stiven, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (ret.). Last year’s lead sponsors were Cooley LLP, DLA Piper, Foley & Lardner LLP and Sheppard Mullin. The offices of the U.S. Attorney, District Attorney, Public Defender, Federal Defenders, the State Bar, the Navy JAG, the area law schools, and scores of the city’s top law firms and private practitioners all provided volunteer attorneys.
The program is really quite simple:
- Have an hour or two available on Sept. 17 (or other days that week; at least one school district celebrates Rosh Hashanah, so there will be alternative dates available)
- Contact the San Diego ACLU’s communications director and Constitution Day program manager, Rebecca Rauber, and let her know that you’re generally interested. She’ll happily answer any questions you have
- Resources Available: The ACLU provides a speaker’s guide and PowerPoint, three detailed study guides, lesson plans and other background material. However, each speaker is free and encouraged to develop his/her own presentation.
- If you’re interested in brushing up on con law, recent court cases of interest to students, and/or refreshing your “teen talk” abilities, the ACLU conducts two optional speakers’ trainings in early September (one on a weekday evening and one on a Saturday). Rebecca will send you those dates in August if you’ve indicated you’re generally interested in the program.
You can learn a little more about this year’s program by visiting the ACLU’s website. For the time being, though, if you’re available for an hour or so plus commute time on Monday, Sept. 17th (or thereabouts), all you need to do is to email Rebecca to get on the invitation list. Please feel free to invite other attorneys in your firms or organizations to participate too.
Thank you for considering this great pro bono opportunity!