'It's Not Just What You Stand For, It's What You Stand Up For'

In a powerful Commencement speech, Canadian Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella urged the Brandeis Class of 2017 graduates to fight injustice wherever it arises.

“You see before you a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada who is deeply worried about the state of justice in the world,” Abella told the audience, before recounting her family’s harrowing personal story in World War II and its impact on her. The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Abella was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany and grew up to become an international legal expert in human rights.

“Here we are in 2017, watching ‘never again’ turn into to ‘again and again,’ and watching that wonderful democratic consensus fragment, shattered by narcissistic populism, an unhealthy tolerance for intolerance, a cavalier indifference to equality, a deliberate amnesia about the instruments and values of democracy, and a shocking disrespect for the borders between power and its independent adjudicators like the press and the courts,” she said to fervent applause.

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