Mitun Mitra, at far right, with his parents and sister. (Photo: Provided to Miami Law)
Miami Law student Mitun Mitra was born in Bangladesh and even though he immigrated to the United States at a young age, he still remembers what he calls an ineffective government that lead to injustice among his people.
"Seeing people suffer, regardless of statehood, has motivated me to want to close the gaps in inequality."
"The ACLU motto 'because freedom can't protect itself' has always rang true to me ... by being immersed in issues of civil liberties and constitutional law, it is clear there is a need for organizations that right injustices," Mitra said.
One of the main strategies used by the ACLU to protect the individual rights of people in the U.S. is lobbying for policy changes. This summer, the HOPE Fellow is getting the opportunity to come up with new lobbying strategies and research and write memos to legislatures that may influence policy change.
Mitra is specifically tackling the "school-to-prison pipeline" issue, a public education policy that forces students into zero-tolerance programs that later push students into the prison system.
"Zero-tolerance education policies unequivocally hurt more children than they assist," said Mitra. And while the ACLU of Georgia has made great strides in reforming education policy, Mitra says there are many states that hinder their youth through similar policies. "The unique part of the ACLU is that the job in protecting freedom is never complete and there is always work to be done."
The rising 3L credits the diversity at Miami Law in helping him expand his views on civil liberties, by being around students from different backgrounds and religious beliefs. "I have had the opportunity to be a part of the Human Rights Clinic and study with professors that challenge you to go outside the law, to look at the social constructs of issues, to view the law as more than sentences or instructions, but to view the practice of law as deed to the good."
He looks forward to continuing his work in civil liberties and human rights far into the future. One day Mitra hopes to move back to Bangladesh and use his passion for domestic issues in the United States by helping develop the legal and political system in his native country.