Dear Fellow Black Alumni:
Wow, so much has happened since our last newsletter! I hope you have found some encouragement and peace, in what has been an exhausting past few months. We had a busy and successful summer 2020 hosting several virtual Diversity Dialogue programs that included book discussions and training workshops. Our 1L orientation was also virtual and included diversity programming such as affinity group meet-ups, a social justice careers panel, and an unconscious bias training.
Although last summer’s internship programs looked different (mostly virtual), students still gained some wonderful legal experience. The 2020 BLSA Public Interest Summer Grant recipients, Sydney Tucker and Courtney Fontaine, spent their summer interning in prosecutors' offices. The grant, established by a gift from alumna Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown (L'88), provides funds to support two BLSA students pursuing unpaid public interest summer internships.
Sydney interned with the City of South Fulton Solicitor’s Office in South Fulton, Ga., where the law enforcement and municipal court system is led by all black women. Sydney worked under the leadership of alumna LaDawn Blackett Jones, gaining courtroom, trial, and motion experience. Courtney interned with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Houston, Texas, where she assisted the Department of Sex Crimes and Sex Trafficking. Courtney worked one-on-one with sex crime victims, conducted interviews, and did research and writing. Sydney and Courtney gained invaluable legal experience that will help them to pursue public interest careers after they graduate.
Students returned to campus in mid-August, and we began the semester with a virtual welcome celebration, giving our diverse students an opportunity to get to know each other and learn about fall programming. That consisted of additional trainings (including an anti-racism training), discussions, panels, and speakers related to career development and diversity, equity, and inclusion. We kicked off spring programming last month with a wonderful goal setting workshop with alumna Winter Wheeler (L'06) and have started finalizing speakers for the remainder of the semester. Our BLSA chapter also continues to host programs, and they are looking for black alumni that want to speak, volunteer, and reconnect with BLSA. If you are interested please e-mail the BLSA Parliamentarian Tracey Gant here.
Speaking of BLSA, our Moot Court teams continue to excel, and once again one of our teams is heading to the National Black Law Students Association moot court competition in March. We are so proud of them!
Finally, in this newsletter you will also read the wonderful news that second-year law student Antonio X. Milton has been named Editor-in-Chief of the Tulane Law Review, becoming the first Black top editor of the publication.
Thanks to those of you that continue to support the Waldrup-Crosby scholarship fund. First year student Larenz Jones (L'23) is the 2020-2021 Waldrup-Crosby scholarship recipient. Larenz is from New Orleans and attended undergrad at Loyola University Chicago. He majored in Political Science, with a minor in Arabic Language and Culture. Larenz is interested in sports/entertainment, criminal, and international law.
Lastly, we’re currently hosting virtual spring interviews; please email me here if you’re interested in participating. Thank you for supporting our students. It is especially appreciated right now, as we all navigate this challenging time. Please continue to take care of yourselves.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Lezlie A. Griffin
Assistant Dean for Career Development & Diversity Initiatives