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Channeling our inner social justice warrior

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Fátima Casas, a UC Berkeley undergrad student, has been named the winner of the inaugural Dolan Law Firm Justice Empowerment Scholarship. (Courtesy photo)
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This week, I wish to share news concerning some of the Dolan Law Firm’s community activities. Last Fall, I announced the Dolan Law Firm Justice Empowerment Scholarship for college students. The purpose of the scholarship is to encourage young people to advance the cause of social justice. Scholarship applicants were required to produce and post on YouTube a short video on the topic of justice.

Twenty-four students nationwide submitted videos. I am pleased to announce that a local student, Fátima Casas, has been selected as the winner of the inaugural $2,500 Dolan Law Firm Justice Empowerment Scholarship to advance her studies.

An undergraduate student at UC Berkeley, Casas is studying political theory and ethnic studies in pursuit of a future career in the law. In her powerful video, Casas returns to her hometown of San Bernardino to discuss issues of terrorism and gun violence, police brutality, lack of educational opportunity, full equality for the LGBT community and the refugee and immigration crisis.

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Casas states, “Justice is shining a light on the dark forces of oppression and fighting cultural stereotypes and prejudice that bring us down. The social justice warrior in me aspires to have the courage to change the institutions of power that dehumanize and exploit us.”

Fairness and justice are what motivates the attorneys at the Dolan Law Firm. I am proud to see in Casas a similar passion for fairness and justice.

I thank all the students that produced videos and applied for the scholarship. These students are at the forefront of the fight for social justice in America. Their videos will inspire other young persons nationwide to strive for social justice in their communities.

You probably have seen some of the custom newspaper boxes that my firm, in partnership with the San Francisco Examiner, is sponsoring across The City. The majority of the boxes are “wrapped” with a public safety message that states: “Be Alert. This is a High Injury Street For Pedestrians and Bicyclists.”

In placing the boxes, we relied on data gathered by Vision Zero San Francisco, a city and county initiative to eliminate traffic deaths in The City by 2024. Every year in San Francisco, about 30 people lose their lives, and 500 more are severely injured, while traveling on city streets.

Promoting safe streets and roads in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area is a fundamental priority of my law firm. We are longtime sponsors of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Bike East Bay and the Marin County Bicycle Coalition. We also support the California Bicycle Coalition, which advocates in Sacramento for the rights of cyclists and helps shape California bicycle laws.

Over the years, I have been asked why I promote safe streets since I represent bicyclists, pedestrians, motorists and drivers injured by the carelessness or recklessness of other drivers. My response is the Dolan Law Firm is part of the community. We walk, bike and drive in San Francisco and, since our business represents those who are harmed by the fault of others, I feel a moral obligation to try and reduce the number and severity of injuries. It’s not enough to represent people after they have been injured, those of us who do this work must strive to prevent harm.

In addition to the newspaper boxes with the safety message, we have created four sets of custom boxes, each containing its own legal guide. The topics covered are injury, employment, elder abuse and bicycle and pedestrian law. The guides can also be found in many of the green newspaper racks along Market Street and other busy corridors in The City.

I hope the guides assist you in understanding your legal rights. They include safety tips and practical advice should you or loved one have been in an accident or were discriminated against or harassed in the workplace. The guides are available for download by visiting our website at dolanlawfirm.com/guides. Next week, we will be back with our regular column.

Christopher B. Dolan is owner of the Dolan Law Firm. Email questions to help@dolanlawfirm.com.

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