Bernardine Dohrn, founder and former director of the Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC), Bluhm Legal Clinic, Northwestern Law School, will retire from the Center and Law School on August 31, 2013.
For more than twenty years, Bernardine has been the CFJC’s visionary leader and champion in the struggle for justice for youth. She has advocated for fair sentencing for children, for applying international human rights standards here at home, and for ending the over incarceration of children of color. With Bernardine at the helm, the CFJC has taught, trained and mentored over 500 students and represented hundreds of youth in conflict with the law. Bernardine has played a leading role in systemic reform efforts to eliminate both the death penalty and life without the possibility of parole for children. She has led efforts to restore the Cook County Juvenile Court to its rehabilitative and child-focused origins, and to enhance the zealous advocacy of children. She has long championed the cause of the United States’ adoption of the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Bernardine has been steadfast in her commitment to young people, to her students and to the many attorneys who have worked at and with the CFJC. She has inspired many former students to pursue careers in public interest and teaching. Bernardine’s limitless generosity, passion for justice, and intellect are now embedded in the CFJC’s fiber. While she will be sorely missed at CFJC and Law School, we will strive to live up to her high standards and will collaborate with her as she continues her important work.
We will honor and recognize Bernardine’s extraordinary contributions at a CFJC symposium on September 6, 2013. The symposium is entitled Implementing a New Bill of Rights for Children: Urgent Challenges and Next Steps in Justice for Children. It will include two panels: Taking Miller to the Ground: Sentencing and Re-Sentencing of Youth, and Rethinking Incongruity: the Role of United States in Utilizing International Human Rights Standards for Children. Please save the date. Details will be forthcoming.
Thomas Geraghty and Julie Biehl