Photo courtesy of Thomas Jefferson School of Law

The Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego announced Tuesday the creation of an award, in memory of one of its graduate, that will recognize student efforts in social justice.

The award — made possible by an endowment from Samuel Kossack’s family and friends — will recognize a currently enrolled Thomas Jefferson School of Law student who, through his or her own actions, promotes social justice on an individual basis or by transforming systems that perpetuate injustice.

Recipients must demonstrate contributions to social justice through participation in activities such as volunteer work, relevant scholarship, advocacy of social justice, the law school’s pro bono program, clinical courses, self-help clinics, or other work that directly serves the needs of marginalized or disadvantaged populations.

One cash award will be given annually.

School officials said Kossack — who died this year after battling depression — was a beacon for social justice. One law professor described him as a man “with sharp intelligence as he worked tirelessly to educate others about possible solutions. Kossack cared passionately about social justice and had a talent for bringing people together to explore some of the most contentious legal issues facing society.”

As a high school representative from Anytown, Ariz., Kossack participated in a leadership forum that fostered inclusion and respect among all members of society, school officials said.

Kossack was active in La Raza, an organization providing free or low-cost, bilingual, culturally sensitive legal aid, community education and advocacy for low-income residents of California. He represented the School of Law at a national workers’ rights conference.

Kossack also found time for extensive volunteer work while attending law school, providing legal assistance to veterans at the Veterans’ Clinic, assisting homeless people with legal issues and interning with the Public Defender’s Office, school officials said.

Officials said the Sam Kossack Social Justice Award will keep his spirit alive and inspire other students to act on behalf of and to improve the lives of others.

— City News Service

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