unnamed (1) Illustrated by Minji Reem

It was only when I started exploring jazz that I truly realized the importance of active listening.

After countless failed solos, it struck me that the fine line between music and noise lay in listening to what the other band members were playing. Only then could the tune, the “conversation,” ensue.

But despite my love for jazz, I realized upon starting law school that active listening, as a law student (and one in New York City), was not always that easy. Amid the sirens, the garbage trucks, the angry commuters in the streets, and the internal noise of my own law-school related thoughts, theories, worries, and aspirations, I would often find myself standing listlessly on the subway with my headphones on, staring soullessly at the fading Dr. Zizmor ad across from me, trying to silence these “disruptions” with guilty-pleasure techno music.

Early this November, the Muckraker conceived of this issue’s theme – The Art of Listening. We chose this theme in order to inspire the community to explore and to embrace the importance of active listening, and to challenge ourselves, as a publication, to listen to the community. In pursuit of this theme, throughout the month of November, we listened – we listened hard  and strove to capture, in Issue 8, all that we heard.

Then, on the night of November 24, 2014, the eve of our scheduled date of publication, we heard silence. Following the non-indictment of Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown, and the events surrounding it – the cries, the protests, the violence across the nation – we heard a silence in the CLS community; a roaring silence, a silence so pregnant with pain, shock, despair, and fear, one that struck us with the desire, the burning need to stand with them in solidarity.

It reminded us of the vision upon which the Muckraker was founded last year: to be a publication that would serve as a tool of advocacy, by giving a voice to the CLS community.

So today, we proudly present to you Issue 8: The Art of Listening – postponed from November 25, 2014 in order to include a special section entitled “Voices: A Collection of Student Essays on Ferguson.” In this collection, you will hear the voices of CLS students, speaking out in response to Ferguson, its surrounding issues, and solutions.

The conversation, the “tune”, has begun. As you peruse Issue 8, we challenge you to listen, to get inspired, and to add your voice to these conversations moving forward.