For nearly 15 years, the Davis Vanguard has been training the next generation of progressive lawyers and journalists. We know that there is a massive problem in trying to hold those in power accountable in the criminal legal system. It has and continues to allow the police and prosecution to get away with misconduct and as a result, the public is unaware of the true nature of the system.
One of our most successful programs, Court Watch, has been hugely impactful in exposing this type of injustice in the courtrooms – bringing transparency and accountability to an opaque and convoluted system that continually penalizes certain groups of people.
Since the early days of the pandemic, we have expanded our Court Watch program to places we had never dreamed of. We are now covering courts in San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and even Burlington, Vermont with the help of our interns, who identify and expose everyday injustice in the courtroom.
While we have made a substantial impact with our Court Watch program, we are equally enthused about the fact that we are building up young people with a hunger for social justice simultaneously. These young people might not have considered this type of work before, but suddenly have a skillset, a voice, and agency alongside their passion to offer an unjust world.
Danielle Eden Silva is one of those young people. She started as a Court Watch intern, became our internship coordinator and moved up to the position of Assistant Director.
She just passed the bar exam, and she credits the Vanguard with helping her find her path.
“I am proud to have worked with the Vanguard, as it has developed my passion for criminal justice reform, especially in bringing attention to post-conviction sentence,” she said.
Current Intern Madison Whittemore said, “Not only has this internship given me the opportunity to become immersed in the real-world, criminal justice system, but it has helped me develop a deeper understanding of the justice system and the many injustices that can get overlooked by the mass media.”
Jojo Kofman, former intern, and current Assistant Internship Coordinator said, “I started the internship program by attending court in San Francisco, and I’ll never forget the outrage, shock, and, ultimately, motivation for change I felt when watching the criminal proceedings.”
Now we are taking our successful internship program and applying it to the carceral setting. In 2022, we launched our prison journalism publication – Vanguard Incarcerated Press – and in 2024, we will be launching our Vanguard Prison Journalism Internship Program which will help train incarcerated people in journalism and help them obtain their degrees.
We have done all of this on a shoestring budget of $160,000 per year. On just $160,000, we run our news operation, our Court Watch program, and the Vanguard Incarcerated Press.
Imagine what we could do if we grow our budget to $200,000 this year!
On this Giving Tuesday, you can help us reach our goal. Please consider a donation to The Vanguard by visiting http://davisvanguard.networkforgood.com. Every dollar makes a difference in the lives of those who need it.
Thank you for your support.
David M. Greenwald
Founder and Director