Preet Bharara at SHS

Katie Karp

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In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Preet Bharara, a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, spoke at SHS on Friday, January 11th. “[John] Harrison, chair of the social studies department, thought of inviting Mr. Bharara to speak for MLK Day given his extensive work in law and justice.  I sent Mr. Bharara an email, and he accepted our invitation,” explained  SHS Principal Kenneth Bonamo. Bharara spoke in the auditorium, which was filled with teachers and students, during fifth period. Students asked questions via index cards, which were passed around by history teachers and were then distributed to either Bonamo, Harrison, Kate Krahl, or Josh Ludwig ’18, who directly asked Bharara these questions. “It was really impressive hearing from someone as experienced and smart as Preet Bharara. I hope he comes back to the high school because I liked learning about him and his outlook on certain issues,” said Sophie Weingrad ’19.

Students were absorbed in Bharara’s impressive and honest answers. “I was honored to host such an accomplished public figure and pleased at how closely his work aligns with some of the principles Dr. King advocated in his work.  The students in the audience, for the most part, seemed rather engaged in a quite serious discussion. Mr. Bharara presented a lovely balance of personality and humor along with seriousness and thoughtfulness,” said Bonamo. One topic that Bharara covered was the importance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. “[MLK] ceaselessly fought for ordinary people’s rights,” Bharara said. Other questions focussed on our current federal government, specifically President Trump, who fired Bharara from his job as a U.S. Attorney.

Fans of Bharara’s podcast, Stay Tuned with Preet, asked questions about topics he has covered in some of the episodes, including the Robert Mueller investigation and the Russian interference in the 2016 election. When asked if he would consider running for office, which sparked excitement in the audience, Bharara demurred. He expressed his belief that civilians, like MLK, also have the ability to make major societal changes.