Harlem 8th Graders State Their Case


The 8th grade at Our Lady Of Lourdes school in Harlem, NYC is participating in its first ever mock trial program. The program seeks to teach students about the justice system in the United States and introduces them to concepts such as due process, right to a fair trial, reasonable doubt, rules of evidence, and the Constitution. Students also learn about the roles filled in the American Criminal Justice system by judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, jurors, and defendant. 

The program includes an in-depth discussion and philosophical look at the concepts of justice in America. Students are asked to think for themselves about the system we have and what works and what doesn’t. The students choose roles to play in their “Mock Trial” of Gold. E. Locks, a defendant on trial for trespassing, burglary, breaking and entering, and criminal mischief. Students work in small teams to develop their theory of the case, opening statements, direct and cross examination, and closing arguments. 

Ultimately, the students will conduct a trial and jurors will determine whether Ms. Locks is guilty or not guilty of any of the charged offenses. 

The students will be asked at the end to reflect on their experience and their new understanding of the justice system. 

The program is overseen by the 8th grade faculty and the administration of the school, Principal Cathy Hufnagel and Asst. Principal Ms. Recaido. It is “coached” by Rachel Kugel a local criminal defense attorney and parent of a kindergartner at  Our Lady of Lourdes School. 

What a wonderful, illuminating experience for the students!  We’re excited to hear about the outcome!

The program began on 11.13 and culminates in the trial held on December 4th at 8:30 a.m. 

OFA’s The Empowerment Project Screens Tonight!

Team Harlem

You’re invited to a special event focused on empowering women and girls in communities.  The evening will feature a screening of the film, The Empowerment Project, followed by a panel of  women leaders and a unique opportunity to network with staff from President Obama’s grassroots group plus local leaders who are ready to help you increase civic engagement in  your community. Doors open TONIGHT at 6:45pm. Film begins at 7pm.

The Empowerment Project is the incredible journey of a crew of female filmmakers driving across America to encourage, empower, and inspire the next generation of strong women to go after their career ambitions. Driving over 7,000 miles from Los Angeles to New York over the course of 30 days, the documentary spotlights positive and powerful women leaders across a variety of lifestyles and industries – including Harlem’s own, Vy Higginsen.

Seating is limited. Please be sure to RSVP TODAY in order to attend this special event co-hosted by Organizing for Action, the Community Organizing Institute and The Empowerment Project.  We have 14th months left to help President Obama  deliver on his progressive agenda. Let’s take action together to promote change in our communities. Men are welcome to attend!

Your Gateway to Harlem

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