AN ACCOUNT OF EXPERIENCING A CRFC EVENT FIRST HAND
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend one of CRFC’s educational and interactive events at Swift Elementary School, Chicago. The concept is a unique approach to understanding and setting the foundation of our country’s laws and justice system.
I’m sure each of us is aware of the story of the ‘Three Little Pigs’. I, for one, remember my grandmother reading it to me during bedtime. The big bad wolf “huffs and puffs and blows the house in”. I have acute memories of trepidation, followed by relief at the eventual thwarting of the wolf and the safety of the pigs. But what if, the story had a different ending? Even more so, what if the wolf had his own story to tell? In an adorable, yet incredibly insightful twist, the team at CRFC converted the fable into a court proceeding – State v. Wolf!
Ms. Fran and Mr. Stan Pig are the plaintiffs – filing the suit for destruction of property and possible intent to murder, against Mr. B.B. Wolf. Mr. B.B. Wolf, is exercising the right to retain an attorney, and is contesting the case, by claiming accidental and unintentional damage. The video proceeds like an actual court hearing, with opening and closing statements, and testimonies from both the defendant and the plaintiffs. The jury is also presented with facts and pictorial evidence, to sustain the claim of each party.
The best part about this video is that it was shown to Ms. Mary Howard’s second grade class at Swift Elementary School. There were 12 attorney volunteers from Baker & McKenzie LLP, Kraft Foods Global, Inc. and Schiff Hardin LLP, who sat down with the kids in groups of 3, to brainstorm the case, the facts presented and the evidence. The kids of course, were acting as jurors, deciding the fate of Mr. B.B Wolf.
And boy – was I bowled over by these witty little youngsters!
Seven out of the 10 groups, found Mr. B.B Wolf NOT GUILTY!! And the observations and discernments presented by each of the groups, makes you marvel at the intelligence and exposure of today’s youth. These 7 year-olds, argued and supported facts to sustain Mr. Wolf’s rights as a citizen. They pointed out certain baseless biases, which we as adults often overlook. They were ever-willing to give the defendant a second chance, and followed-up their decisions by intelligent insights. One child got up to point out that “there was no evidence that the wolf wanted to harm the pigs. He had many interactions with the pigs earlier, and if so desired, he could have harmed them earlier. Clearly he had a cold, which blew down the house of sticks. He is most certainly innocent”. Seeing their cherubic faces, blazing with intelligence and understanding, made me wish I had such brain-stimulating activities, when I was growing up.
This wonderful exercise reaffirmed my faith that the next generation is going to be brought up with fair, just and informed decisions. A line in the video says, “Just because one wolf is bad, doesn’t mean they all are”. This, to me, hits such a deep and profound nerve. This concept combats intolerance and irrational prejudices among young people. The volunteer attorneys were simply marvelous, explaining each point to their group, and never once offering a judgment – thus allowing the children to form an opinion for themselves. The munchkins, in their jackets and ties – all jurors for the day, performing their civic duty – were the cherry on the cake!
All in all, a simply fabulous experience! (One that made me realize, that kids today, are smarter than us!). I can’t wait for the next one!
By Palak Shukla.
Ms. Shukla is CRFC’s Summer Marketing and Communications intern. She is originally from Mumbai, India has 3 years of experience in Communications. She is now studying Digital Media at Loyola University.