3 I stood with residents, activists, and lawyers in front of the police department in Ferguson – moments after the grand jury decision to not indict a police officer for killing an unarmedblackchild.Therewasdespair, frustration, and anger in the air. There was tear gas in the air. The next night, I stood with lawyers attempting to gain access to residents jailed the previous night. “Only essential personnel,” they said. We reminded the jailers that the people in their custody had this right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. After two hours, we got inside and interviewed nearly 40 people, hearing stories of aggressive, violent policing, each story with its own pain. We pursued justice for each client on a path to equality. A world with equality is a world where my daughter’s life matters. Equality is the time and place where she will experience the world unencumbered by how she looks or whom she loves. Where her classmates, teachers, and police will approach their encounters with genuine hearts and open minds. Myequalitywillbewhenmydaughter has the peace to be heard and the space to be herself. I chose to be a public defender to help my clients shatter the silence of institutions that seek to snatch from them the most precious aspects of their lives. CUNY Law has prepared each of us to amplify the voices of those who are often ignored. We travel the path to equality with our clients. We trumpet each client’s cause. Our work, our struggle for equality, is about the dignity of people. ‘‘ ‘‘ Michael Oppenheimer ’06 Assistant Federal Defender, Northern District of Maryland 3 WE FIGHT FOR EQUALITY