intro

The judicial system in our country has proved that justice is not always just. While justice may be blind in theory, the system that America has come to know is one that has actively discriminated against and disproportionally prosecuted individuals due to their race, class, gender, and sexual identity. As a young black male growing up in a low socio-economic urban community, I am aware that the historical oppression of such a system has created a sense of anxiety and resentment towards its actors on almost every level. From law enforcement to the local and federal courts, the system is often in opposition to instead of coexistence with communities like mine; growing up, I knew not which side to take.

As a young boy I recognized the need for a legal system in order to ensure the safety and security of a community plagued by violence; however, I simultaneously witnessed this same system carry out acts of police brutality and produce false criminal convictions, further perpetuating the notion that the legal system worked against communities of color, rather than with them. In adolescence, I watched in awe as my father adorned his Detective’s badge, the golden gleam from the early morning sun reflecting of its face—I stood in its glimmer, hoping that one day I too would bear such a shield.  It was this same badge on a different Detective; however, that glistened upon the face of my best friend, who lay face pressed flush against cold concrete, all for “stealing” a bag of chips because his mother could not afford dinner for that evening.  Needless to say my view on justice was split between two lenses: one in social and racial justice, the other rooted in law and order.

This leadership portfolio outlines my acedemic and leadership experiences that have helped me become the young man I am today. Further, my portfolio reveals a student seeking to change the world and navigate such an journey through life changing experiences. As you will see, many of my leadership opportunities have helped me develop an understaning of this balance between social and judical justice. I hope you enjoy.

If you have any questions or comments please contact me at tmeyers1@ithaca.edu