Location: Capitol Hill
Where to find him: @columbialgl_cyp
When asked about his most important connection to Judaism, attorney Casey Trupin says without hesitation: Tikkun olam.
To “repair the world” is a call to action Trupin lives by. As an attorney focusing on issues related to children, youth, and homelessness, he understands his place in the Jewish community as part of a larger movement. Social justice is “a part of our history…it was through that lens that American Jews played in social justice and civil rights movements.”
Trupin is very proud of the role that Jews played in the Civil Rights movement and cites the need for Jews, regardless of religious affiliation, to stand up and “protect minority groups and less empowered groups.”
Trupin, a Seattle native and graduate of Garfield High School and the University of Washington School of Law, says his understanding of tikkun olam and the call for American Jews to be a part of a social justice movement comes largely from his family.
One grandfather, Ben Diamond, spent his legal career on civil rights issues, while the other grandfather, Julian Trupin, worked on labor rights and other social justice causes. Both came of age during the McCarthy era, and were targeted for their leftist views during the Cold War (Trupin was involved in a movement to save Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee).
Conversations at the dinner table with parents Toby Diamond and Eric Trupin — both child psychologists, the former having worked for the Seattle schools for 20 years, and the latter now on faculty at the University of Washington — often included social justice topics, particularly surrounding youth.
After completing his undergraduate studies at Pomona College in California, Trupin traveled to Latin America on a Thomas J. Watson fellowship to examine the ways in which different communities responded to homeless youth. In Guatemala City, Trupin met an attorney who was working with the everyday realities of Guatemalan homeless youth on everything from “registering homeless youth with the government to working on prosecutions of police who were massacring homeless youth.” The attorney inspired Trupin to take the LSAT and attend law school in Seattle. “This guy put aside all thoughts about himself,” said Trupin.
Back in Seattle, he became involved with homeless youth as an intern through the UW Law School’s Child Advocacy Clinic. Currently, as an attorney with Columbia Legal Services, his caseload includes advocacy primarily on issues relating to children, youth, and/or homelessness, including civil rights, foster care, family, and education. He is most proud of his work on foster care, resulting in a reform of access and programs for the 10,000 children in Washington’s foster care system.
“I’m proud to be part of a movement that raises the visibility of poor children and youth and address the underlying things that cause young people to be stuck in poverty,” says Trupin.
His colleague at Columbia Legal Services, attorney Katara Jordan, describes him as someone whose “optimism and enthusiasm is contagious, but grounded in such a way that results in effective systemic change that has improved the lives of thousands of children, youth, and their families.”
Trupin’s family has made an impact on the community. His brother, Remy Trupin, founded the Washington State Budget and Policy Center and was featured as a JTNews 10 Under 40 back in 2010.
And when he’s not out repairing the world, or spending time with his wife and two young kids, what does he do?
“Watching a Seahawks game with bagels and lox from Eltana Bagels,” he says. “That’s my idea of a good Sunday.”