Derek Demeri '20 was named a member of the Equal Justice Works National Advisory Committee (NAC). The mission of the NAC is to provide a vehicle through which students and professionals at Equal Justice Works member law schools help students develop a lifelong commitment to working on behalf of underrepresented individuals, communities and causes. He will serve a two-year term from 2018 through 2020.
Originally from Hawthorne, NJ, Demeri graduated from Rutgers University in 2015 with a B.A. in Global Politics. Before coming to law school, Demeri co-founded the New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance and was actively involved in local, national and international efforts for sex worker rights. Additionally, he was a boycott organizer with UNITE HERE during the 2016 Taj Mahal strike in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
"I entered the legal field so I could continue my work on the rights of marginalized communities through public policy," said Demeri. "After working as a community organizer, I saw the power and responsibility that comes with holding a law degree. This has been and will remain the core of all my work in law school."
"Not only is Derek an outstanding student, but he also has been a leader and exemplar for others since he first set foot in the Law School," said Jill Friedman, Associate Dean for Pro Bono and Public Interest at Rutgers Law School.
As a Rutgers Law student, Demeri is active as President of OUTLaws and Vice President of Alianza. He also participates in the public interest community at Rutgers Law as a Social Justice Scholar, an elite scholarship program for students at our Camden location with a commitment to public service and social justice.
"Derek is keenly sensitive to marginalized people and populations," said Friedman. "Convinced that society can and must become more just, he is determined to make change himself, and to bring other change-makers along with him. He is the perfect choice to join the National Advisory Committee at Equal Justice Works."
"Often times people of privilege talk a good talk about uplifting communities, but fail to meaningfully engage those they wish to help," said Demeri. "With our privileges, especially as someone striving to earn a law degree, it is our responsibility to have these difficult discussions and push back when implicit biases start to dictate policy. I hope to continue this on a national scale with NAC."
Equal Justice Works is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. Learn more about the current NAC.‣