New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

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Jackson Liberty High School Student Debbie Kim Takes Third Place in Black History Month Essay Contest

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Jackson Liberty High School student Debbie Kim was awarded third place on February 25, in the 2008 Black History Month Contest for New Jersey High School Students for her essay on Racial Disparity in the Application of Justice entitled, Racism Still Exists. The contest, sponsored by the Minorities in the Profession Section, Diversity Committee and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association, is designed to give New Jersey high school students a forum on a current, controversial topic. The awards were presented at a reception at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick.

In this year’s contest students were asked to focus on recent events in Jena, Louisiana, which some believe may spark a new civil rights movement. At issue is the disparity between the punishment meted out to Black students and White students for racially motivated actions.

In her essay, Miss Kim asks the question “Is there every going to be a proper end to discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities?” She goes on the state that “the lack of equality in our justice system will always make itself present, whether it is in specific cases such as the Jena 6 in Louisiana…. or something as common as racial profiling with police officers.”

Miss Kim cites a number of documented instances of racial profiling and statistics demonstrating the differences in sentencing of African and Mexican Americans versus White Americans. She concludes that “racial profiling, death penalties and any instance of discrimination due to race seem prevalent in America today. Many efforts to change justice have been viewed as impractical and almost hopeless.”

For her effort, Miss Kim received a $50 gift card to Barnes & Noble.

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