Black Law Students Association Repeats National Chapter Win
The Black Law Students Association at the University of Virginia School of Law has won national chapter of the year honors for the second straight year and for the fifth time since 2002.
The organization, founded in 1970, picked up the top award for medium-sized chapter on Saturday at the National Black Law Students Association Convention. There are more than 200 BLSA chapters in the United States.
“It feels great to win chapter of the year,” President Jianne McDonald ’19 said. “It was my goal at the beginning of my presidency to not only ensure that we were cohesive as a chapter but also to continue the tradition of UVA BLSA being one of NBLSA’s leading chapters.”
The tradition of UVA Law students serving as NBLSA leaders will continue as well. Marwa Abdelaziz ’19 will serve as national vice chair, Derek Keaton ’19 will be national treasurer and Kimberly Delk ’19 will be national attorney general starting in April.
Abdelaziz recently served as Mid-Atlantic NBLSA chair and service chair for UVA Law’s chapter. Delk is vice president of BLSA. Keaton, who also is on the Virginia Law Review Board as an articles development editor, “has been an integral part of our 1L education component,” McDonald said.
The national chapter of the year is chosen in part by the type and creativity of the programming the chapter organizes during the year.
BLSA sponsored more than 70 events in the past year, including a panel on equality, white supremacy and Confederate symbols; events promoting and supporting allyship with minority groups; a teach-in on public housing; a Salvation Army clothing drive; a voter registration drive; and a fundraiser for hurricane relief for Puerto Rico. The group also recently volunteered in South Africa to help victims of apartheid.
“Our international service trip, social action, social programming and alumni events really set us apart from other chapters in terms of the type of events we put on,” McDonald said.
She said programming is just one of the many benefits of being a member.
“Through BLSA, students not only receive a close-knit community, but they also receive invaluable networking opportunities, ways to engage with the Charlottesville community through community service, exam and case briefing tips, and more,” McDonald said. “For me personally, leading BLSA has been the highlight of my law school career.”
Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.