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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Black Law Students Association Has Outstanding Fall Semester

The Black Law Students Association (BLSA) is on the move to bring its theme of empowerment to life at the William S. Boyd School of Law. The organization kicked off its action-filled fall semester with a picture day, and continued to count successes with the LVNBA scholarship gala, general body meeting, and the second annual academic retreat. The BLSA picture day was designed to provide members with professional photographs that give credence to their online professional portfolios. The LVNBA Scholarship Gala featured five BLSA members receiving academic scholarships, and the general meeting set the agenda for the academic year. Most importantly, the 2nd annual academic retreat was a huge success for BLSA, Boyd, and several law schools from around the nation.

“The retreat was a great way to meet other law students from all over the country. I made lasting connections from Washington all the way to Baltimore, Maryland. We learned, laughed, and lived life the Vegas way. You could not ask for a better time,” says Reginald Thomas, Vice President of Social Events and Community Outreach for the Black Law Students Association at UNLV.

BLSA has demonstrated a clear commitment to academic excellence and community involvement. This commitment was demonstrated when BLSA hosted the Second Annual Western Region Black Law Students Association Academic Retreat on October 3 and 4. The retreat was comprised of nine law schools from the Western Region that participated in the “Rock the Vote” Education Day, panel discussions with some of Las Vegas’s most distinguished leaders, and the second installment of the “One House” Town Hall Meeting.

The purpose of the “Rock the Vote” Education Day was to connect black law students from across the United States with students at the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy. The law students were thrilled at the opportunity to meet with students to discuss law school, careers in the legal field, and the importance of academic achievement. In turn, the students were curious, engaging, and enthusiastic about their future prospects.

“Serving the community is powerful and rewarding. It is particularly powerful when law students can be an example of academic achievement for younger students who can relate to them,” commented Scott Morris, President of the Black Law Students Association at UNLV.

Upon completion of the “Rock the Vote” Education Day, the law students attended panel discussions with prominent African American attorneys, judges and educators within the community. These prominent leaders discussed many topics including academic success, networking, and finance management.

“As we matriculate through law school, it is always great to receive advice and knowledge from the valley’s most prominent figures. These close-knit connections help produce more leaders in the community,” recounts Crislove Igeleke, Vice President of Operations and Philanthropy for the Black Law Students Association at UNLV.

The culminating event was the second installment of the “One House” town hall. This event was a call to action for many leaders within the Las Vegas valley and beyond. The first “One House” town hall began as a response to the tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri. The purpose of the town hall was to foster dialogue with key stakeholders in our communities, promote equality and justice, and empower the community.

The town hall discussion focused on various topics such as community-based policing, training to reduce unconscious bias, increasing diversity on the police force, how to file a complaint with law enforcement, restoration of voting rights, and other ways to make social change. Deputy Attorney General Kali Fox-Miller moderated the forum, and panelists included Professor Rachel Anderson of the William S. Boyd School of Law, the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), and the National Black Law Students Association. After the town hall, BLSA advisor Professor Anderson praised BLSA's dedication and successful contributions to transformative change. "The 'One House' town hall has achieved a new level of community engagement and empowerment. BLSA's dedication to advocate for and serve communities that need it most is exemplary and shines a light on a path toward a brighter future."

The 2014-15 BLSA Officers are: Scott Morris, President; Crislove Igeleke, Vice President – Operations and Philanthropy; Reginald Thomas, Vice President – Social Events and Community Outreach; Tasha Schwikert, Treasurer; and Loline-Marie Djidade, Secretary.