Aug. 24, 2017 -- Throughout her time as a University of Houston Law Center student, 3L Christina Beeler has prioritized advancing progressive causes for the most vulnerable members of the community of Houston.
After serving as president of the Law Center's American Constitution Society student chapter, Beeler will now be serving the ACS on its national board of directors for a two-year term. She is one of just two law students who serves on the board, which consists primarily of law professors from across the country.
"I am thrilled to be representing Texas and UH," Beeler said. "I hope to make an impact as a voice for Texas. I'm the only person on the board who works and lives in Texas. I really want to bring attention to the basic survival and civil rights issues which marginalized communities face here in the South.
"It also means a lot to me to be able to represent the Law Center -- it's such a diverse place, and the people on campus are so amazing. We have so many students who are doing great work here."
"This is an inspired choice and a well-deserved honor," added Assistant Professor D. Theodore Rave, faculty advisor for ACS. "The ACS board will not regret choosing Christina. We are all very proud of her at the Law Center, and I'm sure she will do a fantastic job. She's going to be a tough act to follow in our student chapter."
Beeler's dedication to progressive causes began in 2008. She started volunteering at Youth Encouragement Services, an after-school program for low-income students in kindergarten through high school in Nashville, Tenn.
"The average annual income in the neighborhood was $9,500," Beeler said. "I was doing a lot of tutoring, and it opened my eyes to the issues that people face in our society who are often forgotten. Seeing the things that those kids face, the survival issues that they face on a daily basis, which no one in the United States should still be facing, changed me forever and made me want to do civil rights work for the rest of my life."
Beeler said she remembered one student in particular, a 12-year-old girl, who told her that she knew she would be deceased or incarcerated by the time she turned 18.
"She is dead now," Beeler said. "She was shot on accident when two people were exchanging gunfire and they shot her instead. She was just in the line of fire. I think about her all the time."
When Beeler arrived at the Law Center in 2015, she was looking for a space to channel her energy for civil rights and found ACS. She quickly rose through the ranks, and was a representative for her 1L section where she helped plan events. In her 2L year, Beeler became president of the Law Center's ACS chapter and continued to grow the organization.
"As a team, we really grew ACS on the Law Center's campus," she said. "At the beginning of the 2016 school year, we had 24 official members of ACS. In May of 2017, we had 91 members. We nearly quadrupled membership and we nearly tripled events as well. ACS's national name and recognition gave me a network and an outlet to plug into to start doing progressive work as a law student rather than having to create my own network."
During her law school tenure, Beeler has spent time working with Lone Star Legal Aid, the Texas Civil Rights Project, the ACLU and local firm Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP.
Most recently, Beeler has been working as a research assistant with Professor Rave, who is writing an amicus brief for the Supreme Court case, Gill v. Whitford.
"Working with Professor Rave is amazing," Beeler said. "He's one of the most knowledgeable and inspirational people I've ever met in my entire life. I'm doing research on different election law issues, and it is absolutely fascinating. It's exciting to work on progressive issues in the realm of voting rights, which is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time."