PASCO, Wash. - Hundreds of students visited Columbia Basin College on Friday to learn more about the different careers within the justice system.
Middle and high schoolers from Finley, Kahlotus, Kennewick, Pasco, Prosser, Richland, and Walla Walla all attended the Tri-Cities Youth and Justice Forum.
This is the 16th year in a row the event has been put on. Students participate in interactive lessons with attorneys, judges and other professionals in the industry. The goal of the forum is to create opportunities for racial and ethnic diversity in the justice system in order to match the people it serves.
"A lot of the people who are volunteering at these events are people the kids can relate to," Benton County Prosecutor Annie Chau said. "They're people that look like them, that come from very similar backgrounds, and it's really to encourage them."
Students were able to sit in on panel discussions, listen to keynote speakers, including Mario Barnes, the dean of The University of Washington Law School.
"You are not limited by your identity," Barnes said he told students. "Your race, your gender, your class are not who you are, they are just some characteristics that describe parts about you but it is not who you are. You can succeed too if you have support, opportunity, your own hard work and believe in yourself."
They were also able to meet one-on-one with different recruiters from agencies like U.S. Marshals, Richland Police, several universities and more.
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