Monday, May 9, 2016

Moving Pictures

Sam KoplewiczLast year, Sam Koplewicz ’16 found himself hard at work on a clinical project for HNMCP with The Community Relations Service (CRS), which serves as “America’s Peacemaker” for the U.S. Department of Justice.

The CRS helps local communities address conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, and national origin. Just before his project began, communities across the country erupted in protest over the death of Michael Brown, and then during the semester, the Black Lives Matter movement came fully into it’s own as the outcomes of Grand Jury trials in the deaths of Eric Garner and Freddie Gray became news.

Through the project—and at a pivotal and fraught time in the nation’s history—Koplewicz and his project partners, Jennifer John ’15 and Caroline Sacerdote ’15, not only considered important issues related to identity and bias, but also developed concrete recommendations on how to best advance positive community relations in the years to come.

The intersection of law and human rights is definitely a sweet spot for Koplewicz and during his law school career he has enhanced his practice with documentary filmmaking as well. In November, Koplewicz traveled to Europe to document refugees arriving in Greece, focusing on unaccompanied minors. “’The emotional experience … was the most difficult [part],’ said Sam Koplewicz ’16 about shooting a documentary on children arriving alone by boat in Greece. When he first arrived on the island of Lesbos, he climbed up to a vantage point where he could make out Turkey across the water and see the boats coming in. ‘At some point,’ he recalled, ‘I just put my camera down and was doing the work of the volunteers. You can’t really help it.’”1

1Read more about Sam and his work with the Harvard Law Documentary Studio at HLS Law Today.