Rally Organized by Drake Law Students in the Legislative Practice Program
Six Drake Law students banded together to organize a rally and vigil to remember the life of teenager Trayvon Martin, and educate attendees about Iowa House File 2215, which introduced ‘stand your ground’ legislation, similar to that in Florida.
On the last weekend of spring break, Kevin Patrick, 3L, sent an email to a few fellow law students asking if they would help in doing something about the House bill. Kevin’s original idea was to take a picture with a few students wearing hoodies, and send it to the legislature. The idea grew into a rally on the Capitol steps, which would take place just two days later. Over 200 people attended, including several Iowa senators and representatives.
Dakota McRae, 2L, was in charge of getting house support, through his connections from clerking for Iowa Representative Ako Abdul-Samad, and Amy Gandhi, 3L, was in charge of getting senate support, through her connections from clerking for Iowa Senator Jack Hatch. Both of these students did their clerkships through the Drake Law Legislative Practice Program.
It was decided that Kevin Patrick, who also went through the Legislative Practice program, would moderate the event. Former SBA president and 3L, Mike Traxinger, and Erin Schneider, 3L, worked on publicity. Leslie Behaunek, 3L, was in charge of getting Simpson College involved and photography for the event.
The event went off without a hitch. Community members, students, professors, and legislators gathered outside on the steps of the Capitol and held hands in remembrance of the Florida teenager. “This was a teachable moment,” said Mike Traxinger, “we wanted to remember the Florida teen, but also focus on our passion, the law.”
Kevin spoke about the bill, and what it would mean for Iowa. He explained, “The purpose of the rally was to empower people and teach them how easy it is to be informed and how to take the steps necessary to be heard.”
Perhaps the most memorable moment of the rally was when Kevin explained that House File 2215, does not allow for conversations when disagreements escalate. He explained, that when he had his hoody zipped up, all anyone would see was his physical attributes, and that these do not explain where he is from, who he is, and what he has accomplished. After unzipping his hoody to reveal a Drake Law t-shirt he said, “If you got to know me beyond appearance, you would know that I will graduate from Drake Law School, this May!” The crowd erupted in cheers.