UCLA School of Law hosted its first-ever Public Service Challenge from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3. During the five-day period, nearly 300 members of the UCLA Law community – including students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and families – voted and volunteered as poll workers, did election protection work or engaged in other pro bono or public service opportunities to help the Los Angeles community. To support the challenge, the school did not hold classes on Election Day, Nov. 3.
“UCLA Law has a long tradition of prioritizing public service,” says Associate Dean of Public Interest Law Brad Sears, “and this fall the needs in Los Angeles could not have been greater.”
In addition to election-protection work and assisting legal services organizations throughout Los Angeles County, UCLA Law’s programs, centers and clinics created a number of unique opportunities to support their work serving some of the most vulnerable communities in Los Angeles. For non-lawyers (or those who just wanted to take a break from the law) the challenge website included a number of opportunities such as helping to clean a local park, making face masks, working with foster pets and donating blood. Most activities were remote, while others were in person; some involved interacting with clients, while others were short research projects.
“While the challenges of 2020 are daunting, together we made a difference,” says UCLA Law Dean Jennifer Mnookin.
The kick-off for the challenge took place over Zoom on Oct. 26. It featured the LA Sparks, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs and more. Additional videos supporting the challenge played on social media and elsewhere during the Challenge.
“It is efforts like this that give me hope and that will get us through these difficult times,” says Solis. “L.A. County needs you and appreciates you.”