By Leigh Creighton Bond • June 24, 2020
Recently, I celebrated co-authoring, “The Continued Rise of the Reproductive Justice Lawyer,” my first published paper as an attorney. Back in law school, I never understood or explored what law review meant. As a first generation lawyer, I was just trying to pass and get through every hurdle law school threw at me. My recent writing milestone has me thinking about my perspective and experience as a former law student. Below, I want to share a brief letter I penned to my former law student self:
Dear Leigh Creighton,
Remember when you were an undergraduate student and foolishly included an 8:00am Anthropology class in your first semester schedule? You arrived for the first class and witnessed your fellow classmates dressed in their pajamas! You were floored because you would never think about showing up as a Black student in your pajamas to learn from a professor. Yet, there you were, seated next to students in their pajamas and exploring an early morning elective course.
At some point during the anthropology course, the professor played a video featuring an international human rights lawyer. You found the idea of a lawyer’s path crossing with the field of anthropology surprising because you previously boxed lawyers into common stereotypes. You left class that particular morning wtih a simple realization that lawyers could be associated with any and everything.
Truly, you were inspired at the expansive possibility of being a lawyer. You expressed your inspiration by calling one of your best friends and proclaiming you “want to be a lawyer.”
Years later, as a law student, I just don’t want you to forget that inspiration. I don’t want you to forget how hard you worked to go from an inspiration to realizing a dream. A dream to step into a role that would allow you to do “any and everything.”
You will not learn everything that I wish you could. I still chuckle about the time when you will talk with a law school professor that you quietly respected about your second year class schedule, and he politely and curtly told you that you needed to add some courses of substance, including Constitutional Law. Similar to your undergraduate days when you were enrolling in courses like anthropology, you will seek out electives a little too much as a law student.
While you are exploring, it would be nice if you could find an internship, an essay, a podcast (were podcasts a thing in your life in 2008?) that could introduce you to the term “reproductive justice.” Yet, I already know your law school did not offer “reproductive justice” in any coursework or student group. Don’t worry, you will learn what you are meant to learn during your time as a law student.
When you get introduced to “reproductive justice,” you will gravitate towards the storytelling embedded in the concept, the movement, and framework. You will forever be inspired -- as you always are -- by the expansive, evolving nature of reproductive justice. You will be able to harken back to Octavia Butler, your favorite author, and move back and forth through time in a constant state of unlearning and learning from your own past and present with a new lens. I cannot wait to meet you, again and again, there and here.
Take Care Always,
Leigh Creighton Bond