The Calhoun Family Fellowship

The Defender Initiative hosted the Calhoun Family Fellows from 2018 through 2021. The Calhoun Family Fellowship was established by Jerry Calhoun (BA, Seattle University '67) to advance equal justice.

The fellowship, inspired by Jerry Calhoun's association with Bryan Stevenson and The Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, provides a tremendous opportunity for Seattle U Law students to advance their skills and training to promote equal justice.

In the first summer of the fellowship, four students worked on projects addressing youth justice issues, including racial disparity and sentencing and diversion. They worked with The Defender Association of King County's Department of Public Defense and with Community Passageways.

Hyun-Mi Kim, Michael McCorkle, Noe Merfeld, and Jacob Walsh were the inaugural Fellows. Mr. Calhoun generously invited and funded the Fellows in 2018 and 2019 to join him and his family to visit the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice established by The Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama.

The 2019 Fellows were Jessica Alvarez, Catherine Bentley, McKenzi Hoover, Braelah McGinnis, and Tori Sullivan. They also worked on equal justice issues, focused on youth, and worked with Defender attorneys and Community Passageways. They participated in meetings with other advocacy groups and in both years, the Fellows met with successful lawyers and judges.

Congratulations to Tori Sullivan Lavoie ’21, who was the recipient of the 2021 Faculty Trust Scholar award at graduation. Tori Sullivan Lavoie was a 2019 Fellow.

Tori Sullivan

The 2020 Fellows were Mynor Lopez, Carsen Nies, Dontay Proctor-Mills, and Sam Sueoka. One of the highlights of the 2020 Summer Fellowship was the presentation by the Fellows on reparations to the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission. An excerpt of the video of the meeting is at: The video of the full meeting is at:

"States can and Should Reevaluate Sentencing for Inmates Serving Life Sentences," Mynor Lopez, National Association for Public Defense (NAPD) blog post, August 28, 2020

The 2021 Summer Fellows were Cait Nold, Callan Oki, Timea Soos, Cole Story, Maddison Story, and Andrea Velazquez.

The 2021 Fellows made a presentation to the Washington Minority and Justice Commission "to center the priorities of well-established community voices in the development of the 2022 Symposium on Reparations."

Photo 1: 2021 Fellows meet with La Rond Baker, Special Counsel, King County Department of Public Defense.
Photo 2: Justice Mary Yu meeting with the 2021 Fellows.
Photo 3: The 2020 Fellows gave a presentation on reparations to the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission.
Photo 4: U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal meeting with 2020 Fellows.
Photo 5: Justice Mary Yu meets with the 2020 Calhoun Family Fellows and Professor Boruchowitz.
Photo 6: Jerry Calhoun, Andrea Wenet, and the 2019 Calhoun Family Fellows.
Photo 7: The 2019 Calhoun Family Fellows with Professor Boruchowitz on their retreat in the San Juan Islands.
Photo 8: U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal meets with the Fellows and Professor Boruchowitz.
Photo 9: Professor Bob Chang met with the students to discuss how to write, organize, and edit an appellate amicus brief.
Photo 10: Washington Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu meets with the 2019 Fellows.
Photos 11, 12, 13: In both 2018 and 2019, the Fellows visited the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice and Legacy Museum.
Photos 14, 15: The Fellows attended the 2018 Inaugural events for the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum.

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