Drake University Law School is pleased to announce that the Drake Law School Black Law Student Association (BLSA) is a 2022 recipient of the Iowa National Bar Association’s (INBA) Journey Award. The Journey Award is presented to organizations or individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in Iowa’s legal community. The award was presented at the fourth annual Meeting at the Monument: A Celebration of Diversity within the Iowa Legal Community on Sept. 29, 2022. Marcus Coleman, immediate past-president of BLSA, accepted the award on behalf of BLSA.
BLSA was recognized for outstanding programming and initiatives that enhanced the experience of Black students at the Law School and strengthened connections and commitments to the greater legal community. Some of the specific programs noted include increasing the availability of free and low cost textbooks to BLSA students and the student body through the BLSA Lending Library; hosting nationally acclaimed attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons for a presentation about his fight for victims of the Tulsa race massacre; maintaining representation with students in positions on the executive boards of the National and Midwest Black Law Student Associations; and increasing collaboration with the Law School Office of Admission and Financial Aid to improve efforts to recruit black students to Drake Law School.
Kaleb McKinnon, current president of BLSA, said, “I am proud of the accomplishments of the Drake BLSA in working to build relationships with the community and across campus. We are honored to accept The Journey Award, as it symbolizes all of the hard work we have done over the years. It is an honor for me and the current executive board to continue to move the needle forward for black law students at Drake Law.”
Jerry Anderson, dean of Drake Law School, said, “BLSA has been a wonderful leader in enriching the fabric of Drake Law’s community in so many ways and supporting other students of color. I am really proud of the work they’ve done and pleased to see those efforts recognized by the Iowa NBA.”