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February Spotlight: Black History Month

Black History Month was first officially recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1976, when he encouraged the country to "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history."

This Black History Month brings us the opportunity to recognize that while representation of the Black community in the legal profession has remained stagnant at an alarmingly low 5% throughout the years, Black people's contributions to the law have far outweighed those numbers. Despite centuries of enslavement and oppression, Black people built universities and professional schools that would go on to train great legal minds, such as Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Fred Gray, L. Douglas Wilder, and our current Vice President, Kamala Harris.

Pepperdine Caruso Law is pleased to have an active chapter of the National Black Law Students Association (BLSA). Our students and alumni have been proven leaders of BLSA at both the chapter, regional, and national levels throughout the years. This year's leadership is no different and reminds us that it is imperative that we acknowledge and support Black law students, recent Black law graduates, and Black associates during this month and forward.

In adherence to the National Black Law Student Association's mission and purpose, Pepperdine BLSA is continuously working to "influence the legal community by bringing about meaningful legal and political change that addresses the needs and concerns of the Black community."

BLSA and the Dean of Student Life, Diversity, and Belonging invite the Caruso Law community to join the school's Black History Month celebrations. The Dean's Speaker Series on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 brings Dr. Anita Phillips for a paradigm-shifting talk entitled "Deconstructing Us: Self-Interrogation at the Intersection of Christian Worldview & Social Justice." On Thursday, February 4, 2021, Professor Meera Deo will be speaking to the community on the role of race and gender in the legal community and academia. On Friday, February 5, 2021, at 6:00 pm BLSA will be hosting a discussion of the Netflix documentary "CRACK." Thursday, February 11, 2021 will feature a lunch hour alumni panel on The Power in Being Black. Thursday, February 18, 2021 brings more alumni to the school to discuss the role of Black lawyers in the music industry. Finally, Friday, February 26, 2021 is a time for the community to come together and have fun with an interactive game night.

BLSA leaves us with this charge to Caruso Law: "We hope that the Pepperdine community will partner with us by commemorating historical Black figures this month and actively working to dismantle racial and oppressive barriers that still affect Black Americans to this day."

Photo: Pepperdine Caruso Law BLSA President Anita Marks.