Justice Sotomayor to address civic education at New York State Bar Association event

February 26, 2024 Robert Abruzzese, Courthouse Editor
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, pictured here speaking at the Brooklyn Bar Association in 2019, will address the importance of civic education at the New York State Bar Association's Civics Convocation in Albany on May 9.Photo: Mario Belluomo/Brooklyn Eagle
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The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) is set to host a Civics Convocation, featuring U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor as a speaker, focusing on the critical need for enhanced civic education in New York and across the nation. 

Scheduled for May 9 at the Bar Center in Albany, the event will see Justice Sotomayor, a renowned figure in the legal community and a board member of the civic education nonprofit iCivics, deliver virtual remarks followed by a Q&A session with students.

This convocation aims to tackle the concerning gap in basic civic knowledge among Americans, many of whom struggle to identify the three branches of government or their civic duties. Richard Lewis, president of the NYSBA, highlighted the urgency of addressing this educational crisis amidst rampant misinformation.

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“We are at a crisis point in civic education in New York and the nation,” Lewis said. “In an endless sea of misinformation, how can we better prepare our students and ourselves to think more critically about what we read and hear? If we don’t have a collective understanding of how our government functions, it will be difficult — if not impossible — for us to play the very important roles of citizens in this democracy.”

The event will also feature a keynote by New York’s Chief Judge Rowan Wilson, alongside discussions by prominent figures in education, government and law, including New York State Commissioner of Education Betty Rosa and Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents Lester Young. 

The panel, moderated by Susan Arbetter of Spectrum News’ Capital Tonight, will explore New York’s initiatives to bolster civic understanding.

Further, a panel moderated by Christopher Riano, CEO of the Center for Civic Education, will examine national trends in civic education, with insights from David Bobb of the Bill of Rights Institute, Louise Dubé of iCivics, Liz Clay Roy of Generation Citizen, and Verneé Green of Mikva Challenge.

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