Yasmine Tager

Equal Justice America Awards two-year $130,000 Brian Lewinstein Youth Justice Fellowship to Yasmine Tager

In News by david.landis

Yasmine Tager, UC Berkeley Law School, JD 2019, Brian Lewinstein Youth Justice EJA Fellow

“EDJY [East Bay Community Law Center’s Education, Defense & Justice for Youth Clinic] shaped my experience at Berkeley Law and I could not be more excited for the opportunity to be a part of the team for the next two years as an Equal Justice America Fellow. I am eager to share my passion and commitment with similarly motivated law students in the Clinical Program. EDJY gave me the opportunity to advocate wholeheartedly for youth caught at the intersection of the juvenile justice and education systems. I am grateful to Equal Justice America for the opportunity to pursue holistic advocacy and leverage direct representation experience to increase safeguards for transition-age youth.”

I grew passionate about youth advocacy while living in Beirut, Lebanon, where I got to know several children working to support their families. These children could not count on a legal system strong enough to counter-balance racial, economic, and security concerns. When I moved back to start at Berkeley Law a couple of years later, I saw a comparable lack of protection for young people in the United States.

Through law school, I had the opportunity to engage in juvenile justice work through internships, pro bono projects, and clinics. As the education rights holder of a student in the foster care system, I witnessed the system’s harmful tendency to treat children, and especially children of color, as adults. In the hope of offsetting that reality, I pushed for more comprehensive individualized education programs and creative professional paths, and ensured that my student was protected by California’s AB 12 to guarantee the positive impact of foster care benefits on his educational outcomes. As an intern both in EBCLC’s Education, Defense & Justice for Youth (“EDJY”) clinic and in the San Francisco County Public Defender’s Office, I worked to challenge the inherent racial disparities in our justice system by learning to tell the story of each client’s unique family history, trauma, educational needs, and goals in every court proceeding, manifestation determination review, and expulsion hearing. In parallel, witnessing young people’s vulnerabilities first-hand motivated me to identify alternative policies to protect their rights. As a research assistant for Professor Ty Alper, I worked to increase equity in educational opportunities for all students through research on racial disparities in K-12 exclusionary discipline and on the impact of disciplinary records on college applications.

EDJY shaped my experience at Berkeley Law and I could not be more excited for the opportunity to be a part of the team for the next two years as an Equal Justice America Fellow. I am eager to share my passion and commitment with similarly motivated law students in the Clinical Program. EDJY gave me the opportunity to advocate wholeheartedly for youth caught at the intersection of the juvenile justice and education systems. I am grateful to Equal Justice America for the opportunity to pursue holistic advocacy and leverage direct representation experience to increase safeguards for transition-age youth.


East Bay Community Law Center Welcomes Yasmine Tager


“East Bay Community Law Center’s Education, Defense & Justice for Youth Program addresses the overlapping legal and social service needs of young people ensnared at the intersection of the juvenile legal and education systems. By using a model of community-based, holistic representation that works simultaneously on prevention, intervention, and restoration, we aim to disrupt systems that operate to criminalize youth of color and push them out of their schools and communities. We’re very excited to launch the Brian Lewinstein Youth Justice Fellowship and welcome Yasmine Tager as our inaugural Fellow.”
–Rosa Bay, Director & Clinical Supervisor, Education Defense & Justice for Youth Program, East Bay Community Law Center


“In losing Brian, our community lost a dedicated and exceptional advocate for young people facing the gravest inequities in our society. We are deeply proud to honor his legacy and his indescribable spirit with this momentous Fellowship, through which we will continue to dismantle unjust systems and provide young people crucial legal and social support.”
–Frank Martin, Interim Executive Director, East Bay Community Law Center


Katherine Shank

“We’re so proud to honor Brian Lewinstein’s commitment to equity and justice through this important partnership with EJA and this Fellowship. Through holistic individual advocacy and policy reform, Yasmine and her team will work to challenge the disparate racial impacts inherent in our current juvenile justice and criminal justice systems.”
–Seema Patel, Clinical Program Director, East Bay Community Law Center


“As director of the Youth Defender Clinic, I am very much looking forward to working with Yasmine Tager, EBCLC’s first Brian Lewinstein Youth Justice Fellow. Yasmine’s addition will allow our clinic to develop a new focus in advocating for and representing transition-age youth. We are thrilled to welcome Yasmine and could not be more excited about the enthusiasm and passion she will bring to both the clients and the work.”
–Tony Cheng, Director & Clinical Supervisor, Youth Defender Clinic, East Bay Community Law Center

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