National Bar Association by jennyyingdi


									National Bar Association
                                                                                                                     March 2010
                                                                                                                  Volume 2, Issue 1

Region VIII

                                  Pipeline Programs and Their Importance
                                  to the African American Professional Community

NBA’s Pipeline
Initiatives                                                                                  In this Issue

by Tiffany N. Munsell                                                                        Focus: NBA's Pipeline Initiatives 1
President of the National Black Law Student Association
                                                                                             A Call To Action: If Not You,
                                                                                             Who? If Not Now, When?             2
R    ecognizing that African American
     law students are essential to its sur-
vival, the National Bar Association (NBA)     •
                                                  membership among law students (in-
                                                  clude the NBLSA on this objective).
                                                  Increase the NBA’s visibility and par-     5 Minutes with
has historically developed initiatives to         ticipation with law students.              Dr. William Meanes
bridge the gap between law students and       •   Consider a written affiliation agreement   President-Elect of NABBS           4
attorneys. These initiatives have ranged          with the NBLSA.
from mentorship programs to participat-       •   Increase on-campus recruiting efforts.     How Important Is Mentoring
ing in the National Black Law Student         •   Train new lawyers by placing them in       for African-Americans?             7
Association's (NBLSA) activities.                 positions where an experienced NBA
                                                  leader can provide mentorship.             A Gift of Rites of Passage         8
Continuing in this rich tradition, one of     •   Continue holding the NBA Leadership
President Mavis Thompson’s initiatives            Institute at the NBA Mid-year confer-      Getting Results                   12
this year is to acclerate the development         ence.
of law student Pipeline programs. The         •   Encourage experienced NBA leaders          Region VIII Pipeline Initiatives
goal of this initiative is to build a broad       to mentor students.                        and Announcements                16
and solid foundation to bridge the devel-
opment of law student/attorney gap. The       In support of these objectives, the NBA        Calendar of Events               20
initiative takes an aggressive, multitiered   is launching an annual NBA Day at law
approach to expanding outreach and re-        schools throughout the country. To en-
lationships from practicing attorneys to      sure the success of this event, the NBLSA
law students. It includes several objec-      will host the NBA on each campus with
tives:                                        a local Black Law Student Association
                                              chapter. The NBA is also exploring the
• Support existing relationships with         possibility of incorporating law student
  law schools and develop new ones            receptions at each NBA conference. Fi-
  with law schools that currently do not      nally, for the second year the NBA and
  have a relationship with the NBA.           the NBLSA are sponsoring a mentor pro-
• Encourage and support post-second-          gram. If you are interested in serving as
  ary education for the study of law.         a mentor, please contact Vice-President
• Implement new methods to increase           Sharon Bridges at
                                                                  { one }
     A Call To Action:
     If Not You, Who?
     If Not Now, When?
     by Pam Meanes

                             D     iversity has become a household
                                   word, oftentimes a euphemism,
                             and its true meaning continues to evolve
                                                                           profession. Why? Because “a more di-
                                                                           verse and more representative legal pro-
                                                                           fession will not only foster greater public
                             and become complex. Within the legal          trust and confidence in the law, but even
                             profession, the idea and goals of diver-      more fundamentally, it will help to ensure
                             sity are starkly juxtaposed against the       fairness in the justice system.”5 Thus, as
                             awareness, glaring perception and real-       America becomes “more culturally di-
                             ity of continued racial discrimination in     verse, it is imperative that the … legal
                             the legal profession.1 To that end, many      profession find ways to become more
                             states have found that the legal profes-      representative of the diverse constitu-
                             sion remains largely segregated and an-       ency that [it] serves and keep pace with
                             tiquated in practice and in theory.2 “De-     the rapidly changing ethnic and racial de-
                             spite improvement during the 1990’s in        mographics of the county.”6
                             the number of people of color entering
                             the legal profession, the disparity be-       For many African Americans, our edu-
                             tween the legal profession and the gen-       cational system has been a hindrance
                             eral population is increasing. Currently,     or a barrier, rather than a conduit, to the
Pamela Meanes                the legal profession is more than 90%         legal profession. An ABA task force re-
National Bar Association     white, while the general population is        port found that the educational pipeline
Region VIII                  about 70% white. In the next 50 years,        is “riddled with leaks” for minority stu-
Regional Director            the general population is projected to be     dents.7 “We are losing significant num-
                             about 50% people of color, while current      bers of potential law students and future
                             American law school enrollment is less        legal scholars and practitioners of color
Partner                      than 20% people of color.”3                   at every point along the pipeline continu-
Thompson Coburn LLP                                                        um,” the report stated.
One US Bank Plaza            Certainly, these findings are dishearten-
                             ing and alarming, and these statistics in-    According to the ABA report, “leaks” oc-
St. Louis, MO 63101          dicate that “the legal profession faces no    cur in a variety of ways at every level of
t: 314.552.6349              greater challenge in the 21st century than    the educational system.8 For example :
f: 314.552.7349              the critical need to diversify its ranks.
                             People of color continue to be woefully       • African American children attending
                             underrepresented in the bar and on the          state-funded pre-kindergarten pro-
                             bench, while American society becomes           grams are almost twice as likely to be
                             increasingly diverse.”4 But, as is the case     expelled as childen from other groups.
                             throughout American society and busi-         • The test score gap between students
                             ness, diversity is essential to the legal       of color and white students begins as
                                               { two }
    early as the fourth grade and continues     initiatives that encourage and equip mi- Post-Conference Report at
    through the undergraduate and gradu-        nority students to pursue legal careers. 5Id.
    ate levels.                                 It includes programs sponsored by law
•   African Americans graduate from high        schools, law firms, in-house counsel, bar 6Id. See Executive Summary.
    school at a significantly lower rate than   associations, other organizations, and
    whites and Asian Americans.                 collaborations that promote law careers 7ABA Presidential Advisory Council on Diver-
•   Minority students, particularly African     for racially and ethnically diverse stu- sity in the Profession, Embracing the Op-
    Americans, are less likely to attend col-   dents.”12                                 portunities for Increasing Diversity into the
    lege immediately after high school than                                                 Legal Profession: Collaborating to Expand
    their white counterparts.                   Recognizing that the number of African the Pipeline 6 (2005), available at http://
•   Students of color have disproportion-       Americans is declining in the legal pro-
    ately lower law school application, en-     fession, it is our responsibility to combat ostReport.pdf
    rollment, and graduation rates.         the growing disparity and to ensure that
•   Students of color generally have lower  there is a diverse pipeline of legal profes- 8Id. at 14.
    bar exam passage rates than whites.     sionals in Arkansas, Minnesota, Iowa,
                                            Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and 9Street Law, Inc. is a nonprofit organization
For a student to have a chance of being South Dakota. We should encourage our that has been educating the public about
well-prepared for law school, it is essen- local bar associations, law firms or cor- law and democracy for more than 35 years.
tial that he or she begin planning for law                                               Street Law has developed pipeline initia-
school and making good choices in high               If we are not part                  tives for the legal industry and conducted
school. Accordingly, one of the best ways                                                professional development programs for high
to increase diversity in the legal profes-          of the solution, then                school teachers.
sion is to target high school students of
color and provide them concrete, motivat-
                                                     we are part of the                  10
                                                                                            In partnership with Street Law, Inc., ACC
ing opportunities to learn about the law,
and begin planning for their law school
                                                          problem.                       created the Pipeline Program. This program
                                                                                         partners corporate legal departments with
education. There are many organizations porate law departments to create pipe- nearby, diverse high school law classes to
which have created pipeline projects line programs covering the entire spec- engage the students, teach them about civil
such as: Tomorrow’s Attorneys Pipeline trum of education, from kindergarten to law, and encourage them to consider legal
Project, the American Bar Association law school and bar admission, with the careers. See, Program file “Cor-
(ABA), Street Law, Inc.,9 the Association stated objective of encouraging diverse porate Legal Diversity Pipeline Program."
of Corporate Counsel,10 The National As- candidates to consider careers in the le-
sociation for Legal Career Professionals gal profession.                                 11
                                                                                           NALP/Street Law Legal Diversity Pipeline
(NALP) and numerous corporate legal
         11                                                                              Program. This program is designed to pro-
departments and other organizations. The African American community and vide information about the law and the le-
Most of these programs:                     the legal profession are relying upon you. gal profession to high school students and
                                            For we all have heard it said time and encourage them to pursue legal careers. See
• Send representatives to area class- again, “If we are not part of the solution,
   rooms to discuss legal careers.          then we are part of the problem.” Unless During the academic year 2008-2009, the
• Provide opportunities for high school we respond with action, diversity in the program was piloted at five NALP mem-
   students to meet lawyers.                legal profession and — more important ber law firms. Participating firms are paired
• Provide materials to students regard- — in this region will become a thing of with local high schools to teach diverse stu-
   ing preparation for law school and di- the past. We owe it to our ancestors to dents and host a one-day event for them at
   versity programs that provide support respond.•                                       the firm. Finally, in 2006 Street Law began
   before and during law school.                                                         a version of the Diversity Pipeline program
• Take participating students to a court- Credits                                        for law schools, in partnership with the Law
   room to observe lawyers “in action.”     1
                                         School Admission Council. There are cur-
• Assist other programs that support the sTaskForce/raceRelations.aspx                   rently 10 law schools enrolled in the pro-
   pipeline project.                                                                     gram, working to modify their current Street
• Encourage diverse law school students Id. 2                                            Law clinics to include explicit career-educa-
   and attorneys to get involved with local                                              tion and encouragement component.
   bar associations.                        3

In an effort to track these programs, the See Michael S. Greco forward to Embracing
                                                4                                            Pages/DirectoryHome.aspx
ABA established The Pipeline Diversity the Opportunities for Increasing Diversity
Directory, which is an “online search- Into the Legal Profession, Collaborating to
able database of projects, programs and Expand the Pipeline (Let’s Get Real), A.B.A.
                                                                  { three }
5 Minutes
With Dr. William Meanes

                                Question: Tell us a little about the Na- Network, Friends of NABBS Amistad
                                tional Association of Bench and Bar Research Center, NABBS Founder’s
                                Spouses (NABBS, Inc.).                       Day, and Law Day. Locally, the NABBS
                                                                             is involved in policy making and reform,
                                Answer: First, let me thank you for the Thurgood Marshall Day, and awarding
                                commendable work you are doing within The NAACP Legal Defense and Educa-
                                Region VIII of the National Bar Associa- tion Fund Scholarships.
                                tion. Young and accomplished leaders
                                like you are inspirations to me for the Question: Which types of professions
                                future of established organizations like are represented within your association?
                                the NBA. The NABBS is a nonprofit auxil-
                                iary association for spouses of the NBA’s Answer: Our membership includes
                                members who take great pride in assist- representatives from a wide variety of
                                ing the legal community. For years, the professions. Some of our members are
                                NABBS has been a philanthropic charita- attorneys, judges, pastors, ministers,
                                ble organization that supports education physicians, college presidents, adminis-
Dr. William Meanes              and the spouses of lawyers, judges and trators, artists, educators, pharmacists,
President-Elect of the          law students through several national, engineers, corporate executives, coun-
National Association of Bench   regional and local activities. In short, the selors, nurses, legislators, accountants,
and Bar Spouses                 NABBS promotes and supports students journalists and coaches.
                                and the legal profession through educa-
                                tional, civic, cultural, academic and eco- Question: When did you decide to run
                                nomic efforts.                               for President of the NABBS?

                                Question: What specific activities and Answer: After recognizing the opportuni-
I know the terrain,             programs is the NABBS involved in?       ty to create greater interest in NBA and to
                                                                         aid and encourage the legal profession in
understand the                  Answer:      The NABBS is involved in its efforts to educate and serve the public
                                several national and local community in matters of law, I knew my leadership
issues and                      programs. Nationally, the NABBS gives style, background and servant leadership
                                to the National Association for the Ad- skills would meet many of the needs of
objectives and am               vancement of Colored People (NAACP), the organization and do much to support
                                United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the furtherance of and promotion of the
prepared to serve.              Africare-Aids, Minnie P. Spaulding Youth NABBS’s purpose, mission, goals and
                                Achievers' Breakfast, Dorothy Atkin- objectives. This is when I decided to be
                                son Legal Education Scholarship Fund, considered for NABBS’s presidency.
                                Martin Luther King Jr. Family of Schools
                                                 { four }
Question: Why did you want to become many ways – I have developed the ability            résumé, you’ve been involved in several
President of the NABBS?                     to analyze problems, identify root causes    associations. Is there anything that the
                                            and then communicate with those nega-        NABBS has offered that you were unable
Answer: First, I believe I possess the tively impacted by problems and those             to obtain from other associations?
qualifications necessary to develop out- who can solve them. In both roles, I often
standing programs that address and have to – diplomatically, but effectively –           Answer: In addition to supporting my
confront some of the most pressing le- get people to deal with issues that, often-       lovely wife and her legal career while she
gal and justice issues of our time – such times, they would rather not. Moreover,        successfully served as president of BLSA
as the lack of employment of attorneys I possess leadership experiences, skills          at the University of Iowa, Mound City
of color. Second, seeing the challenges                                                  Bar Association and the Mound City Bar
before us, I envision pipeline programs     The legal profession                         Foundation, the NABBS offers me the
to focus on lawyer joblessness, youth,                                                   opportunity and honor to educate the
and the reduction of their rate of incar-   affects the daily lives                      community about legal and political is-
ceration. Along with the existing pro-                                                   sues, forums and symposiums, to iden-
grams, I intend to promote themes such          of everyone.                             tify lawyers, judges, law professors, law
as, “Down South: Not Due To Vacation,                                                    students and policy law makers to aid the
Nor Pregnancy, But Due To Unemploy- and capabilities gained within the NABBS             community as resource persons, and to
ment and/or Incarceration,” “Now Versus and prior to my work with the organiza-          support the legal community in issues af-
Then: The Changes In Employment Status tion. Let me just share with you some             fecting the African American community.
and Youth Parole Sentencing,” “Young At- of the ways I have served NABBS. I was          Can we back up for a minute? Before be-
torneys Headed To the Hood, Corporate elected and served as Regional Director of         coming a supportive spouse to a lawyer,
America, Or Back To Their Homes: Attor- the North, as Recording and Correspon-           my focus was on serving the community
neys Unable To Find Employment,” and dence Secretary, and as President-Elect.            through religion and the social gospel
“Youth Headed To Black Howard, White Since my membership, I have attended                movement.
Harvard, Or The Big House: Our Kids At at least four annual conventions and one
A Crossroad.” The outstanding programs mid-year event in Houston, Texas. Since           Question: What made you want to pur-
developed from these themes will have a 1995 I have attended most of the activi-         sue a role of supportive spouse to a law-
significant impact on our communities. ties and events hosted by the Mound               yer?
This is why I will be the next President of City Bar Association. I have also been in-
NABBS.                                      volved with the ABA’s Litigation Division    Answer: Yes. I am still senior pastor and
                                            quarterly meetings. In short, I know the     continue to serve the community in that
Question: When you say that you pos- terrain, understand the issues and objec-           role. Interestingly enough, my wife has
sess the qualifications necessary to lead tives and am prepared to serve.                been my biggest and number one sup-
NABBS, what do you mean?
                                            Question: You make your experience
Answer: Well, as you know, I am a col- sound very interesting. Based on your
lege president and senior pastor. In those
roles – which I view as complementary in

                                                              { five }
porter there as well. She has been my                                                     in domestic violence among youth, the
role model and example of the best sup-
                                              Law is an honorable                         disparity in youth sentencing and the
portive spouse and friend I could ever
have or want. At church, conferences
                                                 profession to be                         increase in youth incarceration are the
                                                                                          types of problems I am referencing. Not
and at conventions, she has been right
by my side. It is only fitting and appro-
                                                associated with,                          only can we address these problems, we
                                                                                          must address them.
priate then, that I in turn do likewise and      especially in the
follow her example by supporting her law                                                  Question: Doesn’t the NABBS have a
activities and involvements. However, I        retention of young                         youth intervention program?
gave this a great deal of consideration,
and only decided to take this step when I      lawyers and in the                         Answer: Yes, the Minnie P. Spaulding
became certain that what I have to offer                                                  Youth Achievers’ Breakfast is a fine pro-
the NABBS will benefit the organization       intervention effort                         gram. However, more can be done to
and its members.
                                               among youth and                            intervene.

Question: Why did you believe that the
law would provide you with an effective
                                               the justice system.                        Question: Are you utilizing that program
                                                                                          to implement this pipeline initiative?
platform to accomplish your pipeline to be fair, by and large, the profession
goals?                                       recognizes it has a problem in becoming      Answer: No. While the Youth Achiev-
                                             diverse, so I’m blessed with being able to   ers’ Breakfast is an excellent and effective
Answer: I think law is one of the last work with a largely receptive audience.            program, it’s not going to address the is-
areas in our society to change. Law is                                                    sue on its own. It’s a fine start, but there
an honorable profession to be associ- Question: Is that what motivated you to             are additional avenues we have to pursue
ated with, especially in the retention of decide to make lawyer joblessness and           if we’re serious about solving these prob-
young lawyers and in the intervention ef- youth intervention two of your pipeline         lems.
fort among youth and the justice system. programs?
The legal profession affects the daily lives                                              Question: Have you collaborated with
of everyone, and it’s no secret that as a Answer: Absolutely!                             any youth services programs or agencies
profession, it’s well behind the times                                                    to accomplish these pipeline initiatives?
with respect to becoming diverse, “look- Question: To what types of problems are
ing like” our nation and most important, you referring?                                   Answer: Yes. As President-Elect, I have
serving all Americans well. Doing some-                                                   reached out to several entities, including:
thing to address the profession’s lack of Answer: Lawyers in government, corpo-           The President’s Office of Youth Services,
diversity will do a great deal to produce a rate America, and in nonprofits are los-      the Department of Justice, Probation
more equitable society for all of us. And ing their jobs monthly. Also, the increase      Division and several community service
                                                                                          providers. Also, I have held discussions
                                                                                          with the President and President-Elect of
                                                                                          the NBA about their vision and plans for
                                                                                          the future.

                                                                                          Question: Are you hopeful that these ini-
                                                                                          tiatives will continue beyond your presi-

                                                                                          Answer: Yes. There is growing interest
                                                                                          in finding employment for lawyers and
                                                                                          youth intervention among members of
                                                                                          the legal community. This is an ongoing
                                                                                          problem that must remain on the front
                                                                                          burner for an extended period of time. I
                                                                                          want to be more than a good steward of
                                                                                          the NABBS; I want to put a bold, ambi-
                                                                                          tious and effective agenda in place that
                                                                                          will set the standard for our future ef-
                                                                                          forts. •
                                                                                            in some cultures that is seen as a way
                                                                                            of creating camaraderie. When African
  How Important                                                                             Americans don’t participate in these per-
                                                                                            sonal discussions, they are sometimes
  Is Mentoring for                                                                          viewed as standoffish or not team play-
                                                                                            ers. Or, how about the misnomer among
  African Americans?                                                                        African Americans that hard work alone
                                                                                            will allow them to rise up the corporate
  by James A. Price                                                                         ladder? Many are steadfastly against
  Vice President of                                                                         “playing the game.” They may not under-
  Diversity and Inclusion at the                                                            stand that “playing the game” actually
  Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis                                                         means building effective relationships
                                                                                            and networks. Where can African Ameri-
                                                                                            cans turn to for assistance with these
                                                                                            and other issues in corporate America?
                                                                                            That’s where mentoring comes into play.

                                                                                            African American leaders who have navi-
                                                                                            gated these pitfalls have an obligation
                                                                                            to help develop survival skills in others.
                                                                                            They have mastered the necessary tools
                                                                                            and should be willing to share these tools
A    ny discussion of mentoring must be-
     gin with a determination of precisely
what is mentoring? Mentoring, as de-
                                             cept feedback and use the pieces he was
                                             comfortable with using. In addition, I had
                                             to be comfortable with his not always uti-
                                                                                            with others. This is not to say that only
                                                                                            African Americans can mentor African
                                                                                            Americans. I think it is very important for
fined by Webster’s Dictionary, is “to act    lizing my feedback. We eventually worked
                                                                                            African Americans to have multiple men-
as a close, trusted and experienced coun-    through this hurdle and I am still his
                                                                                            tors from different cultural backgrounds.
selor.” In other words, to help “mentees”    mentor today, after five years.
                                                                                            However, I believe it should start with Af-
navigate the pitfalls of life and/or work.
                                                                                            rican American leaders. It is with them
Mentoring can be formal or informal,         The mentor has a very important stake in
                                                                                            that I believe the responsibility lies to
structured or loose. Either way, if done     the relationship as well. If done correctly,
                                                                                            ensure that mistakes they made are not
properly, mentoring can be extremely ef-     the relationship will also be a learning
                                                                                            repeated by other African Americans, if
fective. In order for the relationship to    experience for the mentor. Mentors have
work, both parties, mentor and mentee,       to be available. They have to make time
have to be committed to the objective of     for the mentee and
the mentee achieving his/her established     be accessible in the     Mentoring is to act                         Finally, mentoring
                                                                                                                  can be time-con-
goals.                                       rare “crisis” mo-
                                             ments. In addition,      as a close, trusted                         suming. If you are a
                                                                                                                  leader in an organi-
The mentee, in my opinion, owns the re-
lationship. It is his or her responsibility
                                             the mentor has to
                                             be an active listener
                                                                       and experienced                            zation, you already
                                                                                                                  have a tremendous
to seek information and be willing to lis-
ten to the mentor, even if what they hear
                                             to provide construc-
                                             tive and sometimes
                                                                          counselor.                              amount of respon-
                                                                                            sibility. However, I look at mentoring
is tough news. For example, I was once       tough feedback. While not all feedback a
                                                                                            as an investment; not an investment of
mentoring a young man who explained          mentor gives will be positive, all feedback
                                                                                            money, but one of time and energy. But
to me his approach with a personnel is-      can be given in a positive light. Mentor-
                                                                                            like most investments, if managed cor-
sue. After hearing him out, I suggested a    ing is extremely important in the African
                                                                                            rectly, the reward at the end is tremen-
different way of handling the issue that I   American community, whether it be for
                                                                                            dously satisfying. •
had used successfully a number of times      teenagers or up-and-coming employees.
in the past. The young man did not agree
                                                                                            James A. Price also serves as a district
with my approach and thought I should Let me speak about mentoring in corpo-
                                                                                            officer for the Equal Employment Oppor-
just listen to his approach and agree, rate America, since that is what I do most.
                                                                                            tunity Board. Over his 14-year career with
with no input.                              Let’s face it, cultural differences can lead    the Federal Reserve Bank, James has held
                                            to possible pitfalls for African Ameri-         a variety of District positions in the Mem-
After discussing his view of how the rela- cans in corporate America. For example,          phis and St. Louis offices, and has led a
tionship should work, we decided that in many African Americans do not openly               variety of system initiatives. He has a B.S.
order for him to gain the most from this share much personal information with               in Business Administration from Culver-
relationship, he had to be willing to ac- coworkers of different cultures. However,         Stockton College in Canton, Missouri.
                                                              { seven }
A Gift of Rites
of Passage                                     screaming for freedom but having no young men who are slaughtered like live-
                                               one to loose them from the hands of stock by their own hands. These young
by Dr. Michael Arnold                          their oppressors.                           men are hunted down as wild game by
                                                                                           corrupt legal and judicial systems, never

A    fter completing the Master of Divin-
     ity/ Pastoral Counseling program
at The Interdenominational Theologi-
                                               I also noticed the gang colors and territo- given the academic encouragement or
                                               rial neighborhoods where sons of moth- advice by trusted servants of the educa-
                                               ers, brothers of sisters and fathers of tional system to continue their educa-
cal Center’s proclaimed and prestigious        sons and daughters just reaching puber- tional pursuits. But I waited. Someone
Morehouse School of Religion in Atlanta,       ty themselves, have left their biological else could help, I thought. I kept assuring
Georgia, I had the opportunity to intern       families. They’ve done so due to aban- myself and allowing myself to fall deeper
for a summer with The Southern Area            donment, drug addiction, and domestic and deeper in denial of the current cri-
Clergy Council and The South Coast Ecu-        violence, and joined forces with other sis.
menical Council, both located in Los An-       troubled young men to develop their own
geles. I was hired to develop a dialogue       families of survival and rites of passage I was still too busy working on my ca-
session of groups in an attempt to assist      on the streets by any means necessary. reer, passing out business cards, being
local communities to process feelings of       Every night the media began to scream involved in social activities and setting
racial disharmony, hurt and anger result-      out at me, ridiculing and taunting me, goals for myself and my family, and some-
ing from the civil unrest following the un-    reminding me of the countless deaths of how still believing if I could rise up from
ethical beating of Rodney King amongst                                                     the projects or inner city of Harlem, New
people of different nationalities as well as                                               York then it was up to them – yes, “them”
denominations and faiths.                                                                  – to strive for excellence also. After all, I
                                                                                           ministered to those who came to church
                                                                                           and also gave back to the community
It was during this time that I became                                                      financially when I could, but way deep
aware of the pain and hurt that a great
                                                                                           down within my soul of souls, I knew
number of our African American young
                                                                                           that the futures and destinies of some
males are experiencing on a daily basis
                                                                                           of these young men were in my hands,
at home, in school, in church and within
                                                                                           written on my tongue and pressed into
the wider community as a whole. The
                                                                                           my heart.
hurt was so intense in the eyes of the
young men, as if one was gazing into the
eyes of men whose pictures were taken                                                       I remember sleeping one night and
over one hundred years ago as they held                                                     dreaming the most vivid and clear mes-
their plows in anger while standing in the                                                  sage one could endure. The dream con-
cotton fields of the South during slavery,                                                  sisted of young men screaming out my
or those chained to the whipping posts                                                      name over and over in a repetitive tone.
                                                                 { eight }
As I followed the cries of the young men,       It is an emergency, when our young men        Mothers are crying out as the women
I realized that each one I saw was bound        have taken on the personality of cats,        in the city of Ramah, and they are so
by chains and ropes and I knew at that          roaming from door to door, looking for        engulfed with anger, they are now refus-
point that these young men were waiting         a free bowl of milk and after receiving it,   ing to be consoled. I believe mothers are
on myself and others like me to speak           leaving our young sisters to raise other      crying out from every street corner in
deliverance to them and help them to            young men alone with no male role mod-        America, from the waiting and visiting
release themselves from their bondages,         el. It is an emergency when our young         rooms of our county and state correc-
bondages of addiction, self-esteem, me-         men give up hope of completing high           tional institutions, from the front rows of
diocrity, illiteracy and the feeling of aban-   school and instead become the CEO’s           funeral parlors and at the headstones of
donment of the male role model.                 of their own pharmaceutical companies,        their loved ones’ graves, from the blood-
                                                peddling and selling crack and heroin to      ied beds in emergency rooms and hall-
It was soon after that I began to read as       each other with no feelings of guilt or       ways of hospitals, from the courtrooms
many books and as much information as           remorse. It is an emergency when being        of judicial systems and even at the altars
I could on the rites of passage process         sentenced to 20 or 30 years in prison at      of our churches, mosques and places
for African American males and effective        the age of 18 is seen as an honor by our      of worship. If you listen closely, you can
techniques in counseling to assist them         young men and looked upon by those            hear them, where are the teachers, where
in this dilemma they are experiencing. As       “on the block” as pillars in the communi-     are the preachers, the fathers, the uncles,
I reflected on the readings, I was drawn        ties, setting an example of false bravery     the brothers, the judges, the lawyers, the
to chapters and verses from the Bible,          and courage.                                  doctors, the mentors and the friends?
Ezekiel 22:30: “And I sought for a man to
stand in the gap for me on behalf of the                                                      My first experience developing and im-
land so that I would not destroy it; but I        It is an emergency                          plementing the rites of passage program
found none.” I was touched by Matthew                                                         began the following year while I was a
2:18: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wail-           when our young                             post-graduate student at Oral Roberts
ing and loud lamentation, Rachel weep-                                                        University in Tulsa, Oklahoma as part
ing for her children; she refused to be             black men have                            of the Marriage and Family/Substance
consoled, because they are no more.”                                                          Abuse curriculum. I remember during
                                                 thrown down their                            my first day of registration, I was told by
It was an emergency in my heart and I had
to answer the call. I knew this scripture was
                                                books in the hallways                         other African American students not to
                                                                                              venture to the north side of Tulsa due to
speaking to my spirit. When I think of the
word “emergency,” I think of some issue
                                                 of our educational                           the high percentage of crime, an area de-
                                                                                              scribed as “the ghetto.” You see, the uni-
or some problem that needs immediate             systems and run to                           versity was across the tracks on the south
attention. I believe today, the future and                                                    side of town. I had to quickly inform them
legacy of the strength of the black male              the streets in                          of my upbringing and roots and plans to
is in a state of emergency. There is a pro-                                                   visit and start a rite of passage program
phetic call being shouted from the mouths             exchange for                            in that area, the north side. After being
of young men begging for attention and                                                        warned several times by students and
healing during this epidemic of abandon-        weapons of warfare.                           professors, I crossed over from the south
ment. If you listen closely with your heart,                                                  side and joined forces with Mt. Zion Bap-
you will hear them cry out through black-                                                     tist Church and began meeting with the
on-black crime and the murdering of one                                                       membership of the young men there.
another, through the numbers incarcer-                                                        The rite of passage curriculum consisted
ated on a daily basis, through the lyrics                                                     of teaching and mentoring young men
in music that we sometimes stray away                                                         between the ages of 13 and 18, once a
from and by the high rate of domestic vio-                                                    week in a group setting, focusing on the
lence and pregnancies of our young black                                                      four sections of the program: Enhance-
princesses. It is indeed an emergency in                                                      ment of Spirituality, Cultural Awareness,
Harlem, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadel-                                                       Education and Health Awareness. Each
phia, New Orleans and in every large city                                                     week I was able to locate and invite men
and rural town in America.                                                                    from different careers and with varying
                                                                                              levels of education to speak to the young
It is an emergency when our young black                                                       men on topics derived from the four cat-
men have thrown down their books in the                                                       egories. The program began to spread
hallways of our educational systems and                                                       throughout Tulsa and we began to grow
run to the streets in exchange for weap-                                                      in numbers and activities, all on no bud-
ons of warfare.                                                                               get but through the desire to want to help
                                                                  { nine }
in some capacity. I began to receive calls                                                 still attached to the ground with chains.
from local principals with referrals as well                                               The guide explained as he pointed to
as other churches and mothers of young                                                     the adjacent cells across from the can-
men involved with gangs. Our program                                                       nons that these chains fastened to the
was also selected by the local television                                                  cannons were used to hold the mothers
news media who presented a story of                                                        and daughters captive under the sun in
the success rate and gang diversion of                                                     full view of their husbands, fathers and
those involved in the program. I realized                                                  sons and brothers who were placed in
through group interaction and dialogue                                                     the cells across to view their rape and
that all these young men wanted was                                                        slaughter by the pirates and slave traders
someone to trust, someone to care and                                                      in an attempt to ridicule and emasculate
someone to believe in them. It was amaz-                                                   the men and decrease their self-esteem
ing to see the most hardened faces and                                                     and destroy what had been the pillars of
deepest rooted anger on their faces melt                                                   strength within the family and commu-
and show glimpses of hope as the weeks                                                     nity.
went by and their participation increased
along with dialogue and trust.                                                             It was at this moment as I stood sur-
                                                                                           rounded by the walls of the slave castles
During the summer of that year, I trav-                                                    that I came to fully understand the plight
eled to Ghana in West Africa to continue                                                   of the African American male. I realized
my studies in the area of rite of passage.                                                 that the behavior and attitudes as well as
There, I was able to meet and engage in                                                    the pain, anger and hurt had begun right
conversation with Dr. Mensa Otabil, Pas-
tor and Founder of one of the largest con-
                                                    It was at this                         here before my eyes, in this very place.
                                                                                           Working as a therapist for more than
gregations in Ghana, International Cen-
tral Gospel Church. I explained to him
                                                 moment as I stood                         15 years has informed my hypothesis to
                                                                                           conclude that more than 200 years of
my desire to learn more of the rite of pas-
sage to further implement in the United
                                                 surrounded by the                         unhealed pain began at the slave castles.
                                                                                           And that pain carried forward, mani-
States. I found it interesting when engag-        walls of the slave                       festing itself as the fear throughout The
ing in conversation with our brothers in                                                   Middle Passage, the torment of slavery,
Africa regarding the plight of the African     castles that I came to                      the racism of Jim Crow, the marches, “I
American male, that they have a power-                                                     Am A Man”, the housing developments,
ful awareness of the issue and a strong        fully understand the                        the judicial system, and chronic unem-
desire to reach their American brothers.                                                   ployment, resulting in the black male
I also found that they very much wish to
                                                plight of the African                      of today. This black male continues to
share our rich heritage of pride and do-
minion and strength as black men, pro-
                                                   American male.                          struggle to regain his strength and iden-
                                                                                           tity, but with no leadership or guidance
viding for family and being role models be interpreted as one working all day and          in this area, allows this pain and anger to
in their communities.                       finally getting to their home with a sigh of   backfire into negative energy through in-
                                            pure relief knowing all comfort and tran-      appropriate and unacceptable behavior.
As I continued my research there, I was quility is present before them, almost a           Can you imagine being stripped of your
taken to visit the slave castles at Elima “waiting to exhale” moment. Finally, I           family and seeing your daughter, mother
and Cape Coast. Upon arriving at each was beginning to understand the rite of              or sister raped? Can you imagine hearing
location, my taxi was surrounded by passage process through my own rite of                 them call out your name for help and all
more than 100 young African men from passage experience.                                   you could do was drop your head in an-
the ages of six to 20 shouting “One Af-                                                    ger and shame? Would you not be angry?
rica, One Africa, One Africa,” a chant I I then toured the slave castles and wept          Would you still hold your head high as a
had also heard the moment I stepped as I held the same bars that my fathers                protector and as a provider?
out of an airplane and onto the soil of and mothers held as they held each other
Africa for the first time. The guide with in fear of the next level of their captivity.    There was no doubt in my mind now. I
me began to translate the meaning. He I was able to run my fingers through the             had to take this information learned and
stated “One Africa” means, even though scrapings on the walls that were covered            share with my rite of passage group back
Africans were taken away and dropped in old blood stains still present as the              home in Tulsa. Somehow, I wanted them
throughout the world during the diaspo- captives tried to claw and dig their way           to experience this growth in knowledge
ras, when their descendants return to Af- through the brick and mortar, and I wept         first-hand as I had. I had no clue how
rica, they are united as one people, “One again, another rite of passage for myself.       this would happen, but I had a vision
Africa.” The feeling was one that cannot I then witnessed the huge cannon balls            and faith in God. I discussed the idea of
                                                               { ten }
bringing some of the young men back to                                                         Michael Arnold is a graduate of the In-
Ghana with me and Dr. Otabil. We de-
                                                       One of                                  terdenominational Theological Center’s
cided to make a video while in Africa with
young African males speaking directly by
                                                 the most fulfilling                           Morehouse School of Religion where he
                                                                                               earned a Master of Divinity Degree spe-
name to members of the group in Tulsa,
inviting them to their homes to share the
                                                  parts of the trip                            cializing in the Psychology of Pastoral
                                                                                               Care. He has also continued studies in
experience of One Africa.                           was seeing the                             the post-graduate program of Marriage
                                                                                               and Family Counseling and Substance
Upon returning home, I showed the vid-            young men from                               Abuse Education at Oral Roberts Univer-
eo to my group and they were amazed                                                            sity in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He received his
and eager to raise the funds to return to          Tulsa embrace                               Certificate in Teaching Youth Entrepre-
Ghana with me. Observing the faces of                                                          neurship with The National Foundation
the young men listening to their African        the young men from                             of Teaching Entrepreneurship at Baylor
brothers speaking directly to them by
name was indeed the beginning of their
                                                 the video in Ghana                            University in Boston, Massachusetts. He
                                                                                               has conducted seminars and workshops
rite of passage. Not only did the African
brothers give a personal message to the
                                                   with hugs that                              across the United States and abroad on
                                                                                               the development of mentoring programs
group on an individual basis, but as they
spoke to them, they held gifts in their
                                                   seemed endless.                             for African American males as well as
                                                                                               counseling modes and modalities for
hands, and as the gifts were being pre-        experienced the same feelings as I as we        inner city males. He has over 20 years'
sented through the film, I was physically      toured the dungeons, and ended up at the        experience in working with young men
presenting each gift to the members at         site of the cannons. We had many discus-        in the educational, nonprofit and ecu-
the same time.                                 sions and talked about the changes this         menical settings. Based in West Palm
                                               trip was bringing to their lives, and how       Beach, Florida, Mr. Arnold contracts with
Seven months later a group of the young        it had become a personal rite of passage.       various agencies facilitating groups, con-
men from Tulsa and I were en route to          The young men from Tulsa were able to           ducting family sessions and individual
Ghana, West Africa. Our first stop on the      sit in classes at the university and meet       therapy specializing in gang intervention,
trip was a day in London. While there, we      officials of the government. They were in-      substance abuse, anger management,
continued to our journey in reclaiming         vited by the daughter of the Minister of        domestic violence and conflict resolution
our futures through education. We visited      Education to dinner in her home, where          counseling. He is currently involved with
the museums, and the young men were            they feasted on home-cooked dishes. To-         The Institute for Family Centered Ser-
able to understand the diaspora even           ward the end of the trip, the men were          vices in Pompano Beach, Florida, where
more completely by communicating with          asked to engage in dialogue with the            he serves as a Family Centered Specialist.
other black men from England and Eu-           young men of Dr. Mensa Otabil’s congre-         He is available for workshops, seminars
ropean countries, including France and         gation on issues faced by young African         and motivational speaking engagements
Switzerland.                                   American men in America. The group              and may be reached at 954-234-4415.
                                               also coordinated a video to present to
Finally, we landed in Ghana. The young         the other members back home in hopes
men were as amazed as I was at the             of returning again for another visit.
number of African men at the airport wel-
coming them home shouting, “One Af-            This experience in group, the interaction
rica, One Africa.” One of the most fulfill-    between peers, the presentation of the
ing parts of the trip was seeing the young     invited speakers, the college trips, the
men from Tulsa embrace the young men           cultural tours, the health fairs, the trip to
from the video in Ghana with hugs that         Africa but most important, the time ren-
seemed endless. I still tear up as I reflect   dered through following a call to answer
back on that memory, seeing the young          the emergency was all these men needed
men holding each other. Yes, these same        to begin a prosperous and goal-oriented
hardcore “delinquents,” releasing some         plan for life. No budget, no Board of Di-
of the pain through an embrace full of         rectors, no salary were needed – just a
love and bonding. It was true before my        heart.
eyes, “One Africa!” The young men from
Ghana served as our tour guides, as we  I recently contacted the families of the
                                        members of the group and found out
toured the historical sites, the University
of Lagon and the slave castles.         that 90% of the young men graduated
                                        from college and are leading successful
While in those slave castles, the group lives in Oklahoma. •
                                                                 { eleven }
D     uring the National Bar Association’s
      (NBA) Mid-Year Conference and
                                             Dream Team to impact the lives of young
                                             African American girls in the community
                                                                                           NBA WLD Hosts
Gertrude E. Rush Dinner, the NBA Wom-
en Lawyers Division (WLD) will host its
                                             where our NBA Mid-Year Conference will
                                             be held and in the hometown of our NBA
                                                                                           Second Annual
Second Annual “Respect Yourself” Com-        President, Mavis T. Thompson.                 “Respect Yourself”
munity Outreach Project, which is de-
signed to work with schools and commu-       The NBA WLD initially launched its            Community
nity organizations to establish mentoring
programs for African American girls. Past
                                             national “Respect Yourself” Mentor
                                             Program during the NBA 84th Annual            Outreach Project
NBA WLD Chair, Jean Johnson, devel-          Convention in San Diego, California, in
oped the idea for the program after hear-    August 2009. For the first program, the
                                                                                           by DeMonica D. Gladney
ing negative comments about young Af-        WLD partnered with the “Dream Team,”
rican American girls on a radio talk show.   which is a nonprofit organization affiliat-
The WLD plans to work closely with NBA       ed with the Spring Valley Middle School
regions and affiliates to help promote       (SVMS) in Spring Valley, California. A for-
and implement the program locally in         mer Dean of Students at SVMS, who was
their respective geographic areas.           the only African American on the staff,
                                             formed the organization to address the
                                                                                           Unless we respond
On Saturday, April 10, 2010, the NBA special needs of “at risk” African Ameri-             with action,
WLD will host the “Respect Yourself” can girls at the school.
Mentor Program at Thompson Coburn                                                          diversity in the
LLP in St. Louis, Missouri. The program The WLD First-Vice Chair, DeMonica
will include a “Sister to Sister” group dis- D. Gladney, Esq., is the Chair, and WLD       legal profession
cussion and luncheon with the St. Lou- Board Member, Pamela Meanes, Esq.,
is Dream Team and WLD lawyers and is the local Co-Chair for this year’s “Re-               and — more
judges. The girls will have an opportu- spect Yourself” Mentor Program. The
nity to talk one-on-one with the women NBA WLD looks forward to partnering
                                                                                           important — in this
lawyers and judges, who will share their with Washington University Professor
personal struggles and challenges as Af- Kimberly Norwood's pipeline program
                                                                                           region will become
rican American women and lawyers and for disadvantaged youth. This program                 a thing of the past.
talk about the importance of respecting began as a service component of Pro-
yourself and others.                         fessor Norwood's Race, Education and          ~ Pamela Meanes
                                             the Law course at Washington University
The WLD is proud to partner with Profes- School of Law. The law students and lo-
sor Kimberly Norwood and the St. Louis cal lawyers who partner with them teach
                                                              { twelve }
and mentor students at Soldan Interna-       neapolis, Minnesota. To support this   St. Louis Public School District, which
tional High School. To read more about       Convention, the Minnesota Association  is predominately African American. We
this program visit     of Black Lawyers: 1) financially contribut-
                                                                                    adopted Northwest Law Academy and
news/index.asp?id=7142. While most of        ed to a reception for the participants and
                                                                                    Soldan International High School. Since
the mentoring has occurred at Soldan,        the Convention gala; and 2) volunteeredNovember, the Adopt-A-School Commit-
a part of Professor Norwood's program        as judges for the Fredrick Douglass Moot
                                                                                    tee chaired by Shelby Watson, which is a
and idea was introduced and expanded         Court Competition.                     sub-committee of our Community Affairs
to Northwest Law Academy by her col-                                                Committee chaired by NBA Region VIII
league Professor Katherine Goldwasser.       Mound City Bar Associaton              Director Pamela Meanes, has instituted
Soldan and Northwest high schools are        Enters the Diversity Pipeline          monthly programs at each school. The
in socioeconomically depressed commu-        by Ronda Williams                      idea behind this project was to support
nities and struggle to meet grade profi-                                            the existing high school pipeline proj-
ciency standards and to graduate high        This year as part of my “adoption” ect in place with Washington University,
percentages of students. Twenty-one girls    theme, the Mound City Bar Association while creating programming for MCBA
from these schools will participate in the   (MCBA) adopted two high schools in the members to serve as guest speakers at
NBA WLD’s mentor program and have                                                   each school, and to address the wants,
been named the “St. Louis Dream Team”
in honor of the first group of mentees.
                                               The United States                    needs and desires of the students, faculty
                                                                                    and administration as much as possible.
                                                    needs more                      Our hope was to forge a relationship with
Minnesota Association of Black                                                      the school and students, provide men-
Lawyers' Commitment to the                        lawyers from                      torship, invite and include students in
                                                                                    MCBA events and maintain a presence in
Pipeline                                       underrepresented                     the school in some capacity throughout
by Gloria Stamps-Smith
                                                                                    the school year.
During the 2009-2010 bar year, the Min-
                                                     racial and
                                                                                           The Need for a Diversity Pipeline
nesota Association of Black Lawyers          ethnic groups to serve                        “The United States needs more lawyers
(MABL) has participated in the following
two Pipeline programs:                         a client pool that is                       from underrepresented racial and eth-
                                                                                           nic groups to serve a client pool that is
MABL Builds Bridges in                        increasingly diverse.                        increasingly diverse.1 This is a challenge
                                                                                           that law schools and the legal profession
Elementary School
                                                                                           have been addressing for some time now,
In partnership with Minnesota Pub-
                                                                                           albeit, unsuccessfully.”2 “Currently, the le-
lic Schools and the General Mills Black
                                                                                           gal profession is among the least diverse,
Champions Network, the Minnesota
                                                                                           and the presence of racial and ethnic mi-
Association of Black Lawyers brought
                                                                                           norities — when achieved — has not
more than 100 business professionals to
                                                                                           been universal throughout the settings
Elizabeth Hall Elementary School in Min-
                                                                                           where law is practiced.3 Large and medi-
neapolis on February 24 for "100 Strong
                                                                                           um-sized law firms, for example, remain
Who Care: Building Bridges for the Next
                                                                                           behind small firms in attracting lawyers
Generation." The event connected stu-
                                                                                           of color.”4
dents in the school with members of
the business community who spent the
                                                                                           While law schools added about 3,000
morning introducing the students to a
                                                                                           seats for first-year students from 1993 to
wide range of professions including law,
                                                                                           2008, the percentage and the number of
marketing, science, human resources,
                                                                                           African American law students declined
computer technology and many more.
                                                                                           in that period.
The event was designed to make young
people more aware of the full spectrum
                                                                                           What makes the declines particularly trou-
of careers and to inspire the next genera-
                                                                                           bling, said Professor Conrad Johnson, is
tion of community and business leaders.
                                                                                           that in that same period, both groups
                                                                                           improved their college grade-point aver-
MABL Supports the Midwest National                                                         ages and their scores on the Law School
Black Law Student Association                                                              Admission Test, or L.S.A.T.5
The NBLSA Midwest Region Convention                                                        Even though their scores and grades are
was held on February 7-10, 2010, in Min-                                                   improving, and are very close to those
                                                             { thirteen }
of white applicants, African Americans          cuss entry into law school, life as a law        Writing Workshop
are increasingly being shut out of law          student, as well as corporate culture, pro-      In this program we will work with the
schools. The number of African American         fessionalism and working as an attorney.         students to complete an essay similar to
students applying to law school has been        There is also discussion around the pub-         that which is required in a college appli-
relatively constant, or growing slightly, for   lic education research the law students          cation. A law professor and former law
two decades.6 But from 2003 to 2008, 61         conducted. This program culminates               clerk will conduct this workshop.
percent of African American applicants          with the high school students touring a
were denied acceptance at all of the law        local court, hearing from judges and ar-         Speaker Series
schools to which they applied, compared         guing a hypothetical case before a sitting       Members of MCBA speak to medium-
with 34 percent of white applicants.7 As        judge.                                           sized groups on various subjects, includ-
a result, for many African-American stu-                                                         ing: Civil Rights; Criminal Law; Tort Law;
dents, law school is an elusive goal.           MCBA Adopt-A-School                              Private Practice Attorney; Bankruptcy or
                                                Although the LEAPS program has been              Creditor’s Rights; Appellate Process; and
LEAPS                                           present in both Northwest and Soldan,            Juvenile Law. These sessions include
Three years ago, Professor Kimberly             we thought we could do more. We took             engaging group discussion between the
J. Norwood of Washington University             on these two schools as our own and              speaker and the students. Thus far we
School of Law developed a collabora-            have presented compelling speakers               have had criminal attorney Lynne Perkins
tion with Washington University Law             and put on valuable programs and work-           and a member of the Missouri Public Ser-
students and Mound City Bar Associa-            shops. At the beginning of the school            vice Commission speak at the schools.
tion lawyers to encourage juniors and           year, we asked each school to develop a
seniors to pursue going to law school.          wish list for us to use in determining how       Ask-A-Lawyer
This high school pipeline program, Law          we could be of assistance. May of the            The schools have some participants sign
Exposure And Professionalism Strategies         programs and activities described below          up in advance and we accept walk-ins for
(LEAPS), provides for law students in           were granted wishes.                             20-minute appointments. The appoint-
Norwood’s “Race, Education & the Legal                                                           ments are open to students, parents and
Profession” course to participate in the        Interviewing and Application Workshop            faculty. At our first Ask-A-Lawyer program
program. The semester begins with the           In this program we advised the students on       at Northwest Academy, MCBA attorneys
law students studying and conducting            exactly how to create a résumé, complete an      and attorneys from ArchCity Defenders
research on the state of public education       application, as well as how to best present      met with 25 participants. The school set
in America and its impact on people of          themselves in an interview. We had an em-        up individual meeting rooms to ensure
color, ethnicities, cultures and economi-       ployer come in and present tips on applica-      privacy for each consultation. These law-
cally depressed populations. Then, the          tions, résumés, and interviews. Several attor-   yers consulted with participants about le-
law students, MCBA attorneys and high           neys conducted small group activities relevant   gal issues such as landlord/tenant, estate
school students came together to dis-           to these topics, including mock interviews.      taxes, personal injury, criminal law, estate
                                                                  { fourteen }
planning, student loans, and family law.   members coach and serve as judges at on their wish lists, MCBA member and
Also included in that number were stu-     competitions.                             alumnus, Reuben Shelton, will be serving
dents who did not have legal concerns,                                               as the graduation speaker at Northwest.
but wanted time with an attorney to        Etiquette Workshop                        The Mound City Bar Association is ex-
discuss future legal careers. Our Ask-A-   In this program we will have a profes- cited about this program and has gained
Lawyer program at Soldan is scheduled      sional consultant to give the students its own value in working with these stu-
to take place in March.                    guidance on how to feel comfortable in dents. We encourage and challenge our
                                           situations they might not normally en- fellow affiliate chapters to take on pipeline
Government Bee                             counter, such as a formal dinner party or diversity projects in their cities. We need
MCBA served as the sponsor for Soldan’s    a networking reception.                   to ensure that the pipeline is diverse and
First Annual Government Bee. MCBA                                                    inclusive of all citizens. •
Lawyers asked the participating students   Law School/Firm Visit
questions relating to American govern-     We are planning for the year to culmi- 1Kent D. Lollis and Frank Burtnett (April 16,
ment. It was conducted like a spelling     nate with a day-long field trip with stu- 2009). New Initiative Builds Diversity Pipe-
bee where students were eliminated af-     dents from both schools visiting a local line to Law School. Retrieved February 3, 2010
ter missing a question. At the end, the    law school and taking a tour of local law from
last student standing was                  firms.                                    2
crowned the winner and                                                                 3
awarded a $50 gift card                     Class Instruction                         4
from MCBA.                                   MCBA Member Christallyn McCloud 5Tamar Lewin (2010, January 6). Law School
                                             teaches the “ABC's of Money Manage- Admissions Lag Among Minorities. Retrieved
Mock Trial                                   ment” at Soldan.                         February 3, 2010 from
Each school has a mock                       Graduation Speaker                       6
trial team, which MCBA                      In addition, in fulfilling other requests 7Id.

           Mentoring is extremely
           important in the African American
           community; whether it be for teenagers
           or up and coming employees.
           ~ James A. Price
Region VIII Pipeline Initiatives
In recognition of President Mavis Thompson's Pipeline
Initiative, Region VIII is encouraging its affiliate chapters
and the members of the NBA to consider participating in
the following:

Region VIII Pipeline Awareness Week
March 22 - 26, 2010

• Community Service Projects
  During this week each affiliate chapter will select a high school/program
  and will either make a donation or plan an activity with said entity.

• Presentation of Region VIII Pipeline Award
  During Region VIII Pipeline Awareness Week, the Region will present
  a Region VIII Pipeline Award. This award will be given to a law student
  who has demonstrated a strong commitment to advancement of African
  American law students in the Region. In addition to a plaque, the Region
  will pay the recipient’s registration fee to attend the NBA Mid-Year
  Conference in St. Louis, MO.

Other Suggested Activities
• If you are in-house counsel, encourage your corporation to join a Corporate
  Legal Diversity Pipeline Program. For more information visit www.streetlaw.

• If you are outside counsel, encourage your law firm to become a member
  of a Law Firm Diversity Pipeline Program. For more information visit www.; or

• If you are associated with the Association for Legal Career Professionals,
  become active with the NALP/Street Law Legal Diversity Pipeline Program.
  For more information visit

For more information about NBA pipeline programs, visit and

For more information on additional pipeline projects in your
state, visit

             { sixteen }
                                    Region VIII Announcements

                       Region VIII Reception

                "A Salute to Region VIII Leaders"                 Link In with Region VIII, the Birthplace
                                                                  of the National Bar Association!
  During the Mid-Year Conference, Region VIII will host a         Who can connect:
reception to pay homage to Region VIII members who have           1)Region VIII affiliate chapter presidents/
  served in an elected office in either the NBA, NABBS or           representatives; and/or
                      Judicial Council.
                                                                  2)Dues paid members of the National Bar
                        When:                                       Association (NBA) who reside in Region VIII.
                     April 9, 2010
  during the NBA 30th Annual Mid-Year Conference and                   If you are a dues paid member of the NBA and would
    Gertrude E. Rush Award Dinner in St. Louis, MO                     like to join the group please contact Pamela Meanes at
                      Thompson Coburn LLP
                        One US Bank Plaza
                       St. Louis, MO 63101

                      5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

 The Finer Points of Trial Practice
 Friday, April 16, 2010

 Charles E. Whittaker Federal Courthouse
 2nd Floor Conference Room
 400 E. 9th Street, Kansas City, Missouri

 12:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

 Registration information is available on the "Regional CLE"
 page of JCBA's website:
 Missouri and Kansas                                                       Sponsored by the
 CLE credit approval pending                                               National Bar Association Region VIII
                                                                           and the Jackson County Bar Association

                                                       { seventeen }
From the Desk of the Regional Director
Region VIII Welcomes North Dakota
One of our goals this bar year was to lo-
                                             Region VIII
cate African American lawyers in North       Affiliate Chapters
Dakota and South Dakota and get them
involved in the National Bar Association     Arkansas
(NBA) and Region VIII. I am happy to re-     W. Harold Flowers Society
port that we have accomplished part of       Hon. Marion Humphrey
that goal. Accordingly, we have located      flowerslawsociety@yahoogroups.
three African American lawyers in North      com
Dakota who are interested in becoming
involved in the NBA. At this time, I would   Iowa
like to welcome Kimberly Pack, Johna-        Iowa National Bar Association
than R. Judd and Charles Inokon to the       Romonda D. Belcher Ford
NBA and Region VIII. Both Kimberly and       romonda.belcher@polkcountyiowa.
Charles have gotten involved. Kimberly       gov
serves as a member of the Region VIII
Council, and Charles has launched our        Minnesota
Region VIII LinkedIn group. Again, wel-      Minnesota Association of Black
come to the NBA and we look forward to       Lawyers
working with you in the future.              Gloria Stamps-Smith
Thank You                          
Thank you to everyone who participated
in Region VIII Healthcare Awareness Day      Missouri
on Tuesday, December 29, 2009, by ei-        Mound City Bar Association
ther: 1) volunteering at Grace Hill or a     Ronda F. Williams
local healthcare facility; or 2) encourag-
ing a family member to have a prostate,
mammogram, high blood pressure or            Jackson County Bar Association
diabetes exam/test.                          Kelly M. Connor-Wilson
The community service project at Grace
Hill was outstanding, with 12 volunteers     Nebraska
on hand. The volunteers served as recep-     Midlands Bar Association
tionists, pharmacy assistants and con-       Shawntal Smith
ducted telephone surveys. Finally, thanks    midlandsbarassociation@yahoo.
to donations from a Region VIII member       com
and a National Association of Bench and
Bar Spouses member, our Region was           North Dakota
able to give Mrs. Mildred Anderson, a        North Dakota Interest Group
Missouri resident, a $300.00 medical         Kimberly Pack
gift card and two medical gift baskets.
Highlights of this day will be featured in
the Region’s Year In Review publication,     South Dakota
which will be published in July 2010.        Region VIII is attempting to es-
                                             tablish contact with or reestablish
                                             an NBA Affiliate Chapter in South
                                             Dakota. Please contact pmeanes@
                                    if you know
                                             of any practicing African American
                                             attorneys in this area.

               { eighteen }
Thompson Coburn LLP
      Proud Sponsor of
        Region VIII
  National Bar Association

   differences that
     make a difference
    The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and
     should not be based solely upon advertisements.
                                National Bar Association
                                                Calendar of Events
March 16 - 21, 2010                                       April 7 - 10, 2010
Small Firms & Solo Practitioners Division                 NBA 30th Annual Mid-Year Conference & Gertrude E. Rush
15th Annual Conference                                    Award Dinner
Intercontinental Plaza Bonita Resort                      The Renaissance St. Louis Grand & Suites
Panama City, Panama                                       St. Louis, MO

March 22 - 26, 2010                                       April 9, 2010
NBA Region VIII Pipeline Awareness Week                   NBA Region VIII Reception
• Affiliate Chapter Community Service Project             Salute to Region VIII Leaders in the NBA
• Presentation of Region VIII Pipeline Award              NABBS and Judicial Council
                                                          Thompson Coburn LLP
March 25 - 26, 2010                                       St. Louis, MO
3rd Annual Labor & Employment Law Section
Continuing Legal Education Conference                     April 16, 2010
Atlanta, GA                                               NBA Affiliate chapters of Region VIII, CLE
                                                          "The Finer Points of Trial Practice"
March 2010                                                Hosted by Jackson County Bar Association
NBA Annual Day on the Hill                                Kansas City, MO
The W Hotel, Washington, DC
                                                          May 21 - 22, 2010
March 2010                                                Region VIII Regional Conference and
National Black Law Students Association                   MLK Drummajor for Justice Competition
42nd Annual Convention                                    Thompson Coburn LLP
                                                          St. Louis, MO

National                                                  August 9 - 13, 2010

Bar Association
                                                          National Bar Association
                                                          85th Annual Convention & Exhibits
                                                          The New Orleans Marriott
                                                          New Orleans, LA
Pamela Meanes
Regional Director                                           Membership News
                                                          Is it time to renew your membership?
Partner                                            Visit the NBA website to renew your membership
Thompson Coburn LLP                                            or join:
One US Bank Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63101                                              Mark your calendars:
t: 314.552.6349                                          The 85th Annual Meeting will be held
f: 314.552.7349
                                                                   in New Orleans
                                                                     August 9 - 13
                                                      { twelve }
                                                                 Plan now to attend!

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