Fairfax, Virginia. March 23, 2019 — The Fairfax Bar Association hosted a program called “The Color of Justice” today for interested middle and high school students. Approximately 108 students from Fairfax County participated, with 17 middle and high school students coming from the King Abdullah Academy.
The program consisted of a mock murder trial involving a drug deal gone bad performed by judges and attorneys. After listening to the trial, the judge told the students to move in groups of 12 to different courtrooms to deliberate on the case and reach a verdict. Each jury elected a foreperson as their leader. King Abdullah had one student elected – and it was the youngest: Ameen Altalib (7th Grade). He said that this program was “an experience everyone should have. It was very informative and it wasn’t boring. Its important to know this if you live in this country.”
After the trial, the Fairfax Bar Association provided lunch to all participants, giving them a chance to talk with judges and attorneys in an informal setting. After lunch, the juries returned to the main courtroom to deliver their verdicts.
The program ended with several judges telling their personal stories about how they became judges and the obstacles they faced.
Throughout the day, Mr. Sarver asked students to provide thoughts about this program. Here are some:
Freshman Sarah Rajab told me that “I really liked it. It was a good experience – exciting, thrilling.”
Junior Duaa Chaudhry said “I’m definitely interested in this field.”
Not one to waste words, Freshman Rania Ali said that “It was fun.”
Freshman Jannah Hagar said that “It’s very fun – a once in a lifetime experience – an experience you wouldn’t want to miss.”
Freshman Saba Niknam said that “I learned that I liked the qualities of a lawyer.”
Freshman Sereen Haddad pontificated that “There’s always two sides to a story. It’s not always black and white. There’s always a gray area in between.”
Not to be outdone, Freshman Stephanie Rajab inserted that “It’s pretty cool. You have to pay attention to what’s going on. Take notes.”
Freshman Asena Semseddin told me that “It’s nice to hear the experiences of the judges and lawyers. It was fun. I got to see how court actually works and to see real lawyers and judges.”
Junior Rasil Alamry philosophized that “The Color of Justice is a very interesting program. You get to experience new things about court and law. I advise all KAA students to attend it next year, even if they are not interested in law, because I wasn’t interested about being a judge or a lawyer until I got this great opportunity.”
Freshman Yusif Altalib stated that “It was realistic and made me feel like it was really happening.”
Sophomore Hana Sarver reported that “I learned about how serious being a lawyer is. What you do is going to affect someone’s life.”
Sophomore Jannah Tarfa said that “I learned a lot about the field of law.”
Freshman Danya Negash told me that the day was a “thrilling experience.”
Shortly after the verdicts were read, a retired judge told the court that he had been doing this program for about 25 years, but that this was the first time he ever had a group of students tell him that they did not need his help – that they would retire to the jury room to determine their verdict by themselves. This accomplished jury included Senior Neha Malik and Junior Rasil Alamry.
The King Abdullah Academy students gained a very memorable experience, one they won’t soon forget.