In Pursuit of Justice

Nayeon Kim believes there is benefit to society in reducing the prison terms of people of color and others victimized by excessive sentences and systemic racism. And she is dedicated to this work.

Kim is finishing up her law degree at City University of New York (CUNY) in 2022, which puts her one step closer to that goal.  

At the University of Oregon, Kim was part of the Inside Out program that unites college students and incarcerated people in academic courses in prison. “The more incarcerated people I met, the more I knew there was no going back to a life where I could ignore prisons,” Kim says. “Lawyers have tools to disrupt the ongoing violence in people’s lives, so that’s what I want to do.” 

Kim graduated from the Clark Honors College in 2015 with degrees in Romance languages and history and jumped into immigration advocacy at the US-Mexico border, where she did asylum work.

She recently finished an internship with the Southern Center for Human Rights of Georgia. She volunteers with the Parole Preparation project in New York, and she represents a clemency client through CUNY’s law school clinic.

“My near-future goals are lawyering toward ending mass incarceration,” Kim says. “A lot of people have served excessive sentences, and a lot of people have been impacted by systematic racism. I view the law as a means to an end, and that end is justice for people of color and historically disadvantaged people.”

—By Victoria Sanchez, BA ’19 (journalism), College of Arts and Sciences Communications

—Photo by Get on the Bus