In an effort to increase the coverage and awareness of Black people entering the law profession and encourage young Black people to follow career paths in the legal field, Watch The Yard announced Thursday that it has formed an official partnership with the National Black Law Students Association.
As the premier platform covering news and culture in the Black college space, Watch The Yard will work with the National Black Law Students Association to highlight current Black law students around the country at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and PWIs (predominantly white institutions).
“I am extremely excited to announce this partnership with the National Black Law Students Association. It is an esteemed organization that connects Black law school students across HBCUs and PWIs throughout the country,” Jonathan Rabb, the founder and CEO of Watch The Yard stated. “They represent the future of this country and we at Watch The Yard are proud to partner with them to bring more visibility to Black law students and encourage undergrads to follow their path and consider careers in law.”
The National Black Law Students Association currently has 200 chapters across the United States, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. It boasts that it is the largest student-run non-profit in the United States.
Richard Garzola Jr., National Chair & CEO of the National Black Law Students Association, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. member, and 3rd year law student at Georgetown University Law Center opened up about the partnership with Watch The Yard and its goals:
“One of NBLSA’s purposes is to ‘Instill in the Black attorney and law student a greater
awareness and commitment to the needs of the Black community’ and this partnership does
just that by amplifying our tribulations and our successes. The broadcasting of NBLSA’s
initiatives, scholarships, and programming will inspire the young Black people, who are often
told they couldn’t, to now believe that they can also be apart of the less than 5% of Black
This partnership will be done with an emphasis on highlighting Black law students at HBCUs and predominantly white institutions and take special account to their different needs. Both communities want more visibility but in different ways.
For the HBCU students, highlighting the specific HBCU law schools and communities has been expressed as something that is important. Students and faculty want more awareness of their law programs and the great work that they are doing.
“I decided to go to an HBCU for law school because I didn’t want my humanity to be questioned in the classroom. Unlike PWIs, which have a long history of excluding Black Students, HBCUs were explicitly made to nurture, educate, and create the next Black leaders. I wanted to go to a school that was created and invested in my development to become a social engineer and pillar in my community,” Jasmine Marchbanks-Owens, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., National Member-At Large of the National Black Law Students Association, and 2nd year law student at Howard University School of Law told Watch The Yard.
Iman Davenport, the Midwest Regional Chair of the National Black Law Students Association, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and 3rd year law student at University of Wisconsin-Law School opened up about the importance of this partnership at highlighting Black law students at predominantly white institutions.
“It’s important to highlight Black law students at primarily white institutions because we are part of such a small community on campus. We are surrounded by students who don’t look like us and experience life and law school in a different way,” she stated. “As a proud HBCU graduate I can attest to the differences in culture and challenges. We are constantly put in positions to explain and defend the experiences of the entire Black community and at times that can be draining. Spotlighting the accomplishments and successes of black law students at PWIs is the first step at improving our experience.”
Through the partnership, Watch The Yard will work to provide the visibility that Black law students need and work with the National Black Law Students Association to highlight students and chapters around the country to our over 1.6 million followers across social media. We also plan on bringing them in as speakers to talk about following career paths in law as a way to encourage more Black people to enter the field.
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