Our Statement on Affirmative Action
New York, NY Release: July 2023.
“With let-them-eat-cake obliviousness, today, the majority pulls the ripcord and announces "colorblindness for all" by legal fiat. But deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life.”
- Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson
Institutions of higher education would be nothing without the contributions of Black and Brown students, educators, and staff. Our ideas, talents, and labor have enriched and continue to shape these institutions, making them vibrant centers of learning, innovation, and progress.
The recent Supreme Court decision to nullify affirmative action denies the history of America and the promise encapsulated within the American Dream. Race-blind admissions assume that we live in an equitable society where the privilege of legacy and wealth has no bearing on a student’s educational prospects.
The Fordham Black Law Students Association remains firmly opposed to the abolition of Affirmative Action. More importantly, we extend our unwavering support to every Black student whose place in their classroom has ever been unjustly questioned. We also stand in solidarity with the Black and Brown students who may never reach said classrooms because of today’s SCOTUS decision.
Although the Supreme Court's decision is clear in its prohibition of explicit race-based preferences, it doesn't entirely disallow universities from considering an applicant's unique story of how their racial experiences have shaped their lives. These experiences may span a broad spectrum - from overcoming discrimination to instances of profound inspiration or any significant racial encounters that have defined their personal journey. However, it's worth noting that the Court's opinion maintains that "Courts may not license separating students on the basis of race without an exceedingly persuasive justification that is measurable and concrete enough to permit judicial review." The precise implications of this part of the ruling are not yet clear and will likely become more apparent as we observe its implementation and the legal discourse that unfolds in response to this decision.
As Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson writes in her dissent, “Although formal race-linked legal barriers are gone, race still matters to the lived experiences of all Americans in innumerable ways, and today's ruling makes things worse, not better.”
The Fordham Black Law Student Association
Fordham BLSA Won Chapter of the Year Award
New York, NY Release: February 1, 2019.
The Black Law Students Association (BLSA) at Fordham University was announced as the winner of the coveted Medium Chapter of the Year Award on January 26, at the 51st Annual Northeast Region of the National Black Law Students Association (NEBLSA) 2019 Convention in Nashua, New Hampshire.
When asked about this achievement, Melissa Romain the Fordham BLSA President said, “I am so proud of our chapter! The dedication and love our board members have to BLSA is truly evident. I am honored to have such an inspiring team working together to uplift our mission of supporting one another as we climb.”
The mission of NEBLSA is to increase the number of culturally responsible Black and minority attorneys who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community. The Medium Chapter of the Year Award is an annual award given to a BLSA chapter, composed of 20-40 dues-paying members, that demonstrates a strong commitment to the mission and purpose of BLSA.
Over this past fall semester, Fordham BLSA supported the success of its members by facilitating a variety of events and programs including, exam prep and writing workshops, career panels, and alumni networking socials. Fordham BLSA also participated in two community service events: Battery Urban Farm beautification and a holiday fundraiser with Harlem Grown.
The 51st Annual NEBLSA Convention featured regional oral advocacy competitions, networking opportunities, panels for law students and alumni, a pre-law symposium, career fair, community service events, and an annual gala. The gala and awards ceremony featured a speech by the founder of BLSA, Algernon Johnson “A.J.” Cooper. Awards were given to Small, Medium, and Large Chapter of the Year, executive board members, and competitors of the Thurgood Marshall Moot Court Competition and Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Competition.
More information on NBLSA can be found here.
April 14, 2017
Dear Fordham University School of Law Community:
The members of Fordham Law’s Black Law Students Association extend our deepest condolences to the family of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaamand the members of the New York Court of Appeals.
Described as a “humble pioneer” by colleagues, Justice Abdus-Salaam climbed the ranks of New York’s judicial chambers to become the first African-American woman and Muslim to serve on New York State’s highest court, the New York State Court of Appeals. Her journey and trailblazing efforts provide us with an extra jolt of confidence, assuring us that we too can be transcendent figures in the legal world, our communities, and the world at large. As we continue on our legal paths, we will remain inspired by Judge Abdus-Salaam’s brilliant successes.
It is said that “it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, and a day to love them, but it takes an entire lifetime to forget them.” JudgeAbdus-Salaam, may you never be forgotten and may your legacy be celebrated for lifetimes to come.
The Fordham Black Law Students Association
In Memory of Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam
October 11, 2016
The members of the Black Law Students Association at Fordham University School of Law extend their condolences to the family of Kenneth P. Thompson and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. We are deeply saddened by his recent passing, and extend our heartfelt sympathies to his family and friends.
Mr. Thompson served as role model for many aspiring Black lawyers, not only in New York City but in the nation at large. As we continue our studies, the legacy and achievements of Brooklyn’s first Black District Attorney will inspire each of us to push ourselves further in pursuit of justice and excellence. For us, Mr. Thompson achieved one of the greatest aims to which one can aspire: becoming a committed and trusted public servant of the highest order.
Whether it was the time Mr. Thompson spent working for the federal government, in private practice, as an entrepreneurial attorney, or in his role as the chief law enforcement officer for New York City’s most diverse borough, many of us here at Fordham have modeled our goals to his successes in one form or another. We can only hope to build a career in the law as adeptly as he did, and offer our thoughts and prayers to those who knew him well.
We speak for many when we say that Mr. Kenneth P. “Ken” Thompson has changed the lives of many Black Americans in the law. His life and legacy deserve to be celebrated and honored, and we will reverently celebrate his memory for years to come.
The Fordham Black Law Students Association
In Memory of Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson
July 15, 2016
In Memory of Lives Lost to Racial and Police Violence
In the past week, the media has been bullet-ridden with images and stories of violence and murder:
On July 4, 2016, 18-year old Anthony Nuñez was shot and killed by the police in San Jose, California while he contemplated suicide.
On July 5, 2016, Alton Sterling was shot and killed by the police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana as he was selling CDs on the street.
On July 6, 2016, Minneapolis, Minnesota police shot and killed Philando Castile in his car- in front of his girlfriend and her daughter- after he indicated that he was reaching for his driver’s license.
And on July 7, 2016, five police officers in Dallas, Texas were killed in the midst of ensuring a peaceful protest.
The recklessness with which human life is being taken is truly astonishing.
The Fordham Black Law Students Association pays its respects to the lives lost through these senseless and unjustified killings. These events have cloaked our nation in somber air, spreading feelings of outrage, distress, and distrust across the land. Fear and anger should not plague our understanding of a basic truth: human life should be respected and honored.
This period in our history has highlighted the importance of the intersectionality of race, law, and justice. It is our duty as advocates to address the injustice and discrimination facing our community and to use our education to improve an unjust societal system- as evidenced within our laws, criminal justice policies, and social norms- that has historically disadvantaged the Black community. We seek to accomplish this through collaboration, communication, and education.
The events that have transpired have been a reminder that we need to continue our fight, and we ask for your support as we push forward to achieve a united goal of pursuing peace, justice, and equality in our society.
The Fordham Black Law Students Association