Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Law School Graduation Speech 6/10/1991

I was given the very coveted honor of delivering my Law School graduation class' Commencement Speech. UWLA School of Law Class of 1991


I have dreamed of this moment since I was 12 years old.  The winds of revolution were blowing and with it, millions of Iranians took to the streets yelling freedom. 

It was an illusion.  It was a lie.  As I stepped into the airplane forever leaving my homeland, I saw the multitude of nameless faces with fists raised in the air, demanding, chanting freedom. 

I realized then, that liberty cannot be gained and sustained without law, order and justice.  I vowed to myself that the law would be my profession.

We stand before you today to accept the responsibility to uphold and honor the legacy that our forefathers left us in 1776.  What they fought and died for must be preserved. 

There are those among us who may become scholars, or judges, or teachers.  Some will defend, others will prosecute.  Some are motivated by  ambition, others by the pursuit of financial gains, and yet others seek intellectual challenges.  However, as divergent as our paths may become, the one thing we have in common is the like demand for freedom.  The right to breathe freely.

This is not only an ethical duty that we should assume.  We should never forget those who are not entitled to the inalienable rights that we enjoy. 

Those same liberties that are ours as a matter of right in this country, such as the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of association; are considered crimes the penalties for which range from long prison terms to the death sentence in many other countries. 

We should not forget the plight of the Kurds, nor the Chinese students in Tiannenmen Square.  We should remain cognizant of the uprisings in the Baltic States, in Ethiopia and the Eastern Block countries.

You may ask why? Why should we worry about what happens to some desolate farmer in Iran? 

It is incumbent upon us to uphold the law and justice in this great land of ours.  So we may keep open our doors to those desolate souls that want to live and die free.  Only because these United States of America have stood for the beacon of light, the signal of hope and the symbol of liberty for those of us who were cruelly subjugated to oppression, tyranny and despotism.

The strength of a free society rests in how it deals with its weakest links.  I came seeking liberty and freedom. I have been  afforded the opportunity to become the provider. 

And as the purveyors of the law, we bear the obligation to fight for what is just and honorable, vigilant against intolerance and bigotry.

So we remain free to pray as we please and to vote as we please.  So we are tried before a just and fair tribunal, so we may have our voice heard, no matter how socially or financially insignificant we may be. 

I left what was my home, because my life as Jew was not safe.  This is now my home.  This is now my land.  I am so very proud to stand here today.  I am so very proud to accept this honor. 

June 10, 1991
UWLA, School of Law Graduation Speech
University of West LA, School of Law.


Epilogue:  While i started out law school at McGeorge School of Law, i dropped out a month before the end of my 2nd year for Medical reasons.  I was told by Dean Gordon Schaber, upon my request for a leave of absence:  "Can't you read the writing on the wall?  Can't you see the law is NOT for you?  You'll never pass the Bar.  No one will ever give you a job.  You will never make it as an attorney"

Well, I went back to law school at UWLA, School of Law's evening program,  after Justice Bernard Jefferson convinced me that the legal field needed women like me.  He also helped me get a job at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office as a full time certified law clerk. And the rest is history, or better yet, my story.