Monday Morning Message 4.19.21 BLSA Leading the Way

Posted 2021-04-19 11:08am

“Before COVID-19, the pandemic of racism has plagued this country for years. As students of the law and future lawyers, we are emboldened to change the system. We recognize that despite its flaws, our system is dynamic and can, in fact, be changed. We see the problems within this system as our community experiences the disproportionate impact of it daily…There is no room for silence during this time.”  -C|M|LAW BLSA Executive Board "No Room for Silence" Statement June 1, 2020

 Closing arguments begin today in the Derek Chauvin trial and then the case goes to the jury. The nation awaits the verdict, which could come down as early as this week. Since testimony began on March 29, at least 64 people have died at the hands of law enforcement nationwide, with Black and Latino people representing more than half of the dead. As of Saturday, the average was more than three killings a day. This is a stark reminder that regardless of the outcome of the Chauvin trial, we have a long way to go. See Professor Reggie Oh’s recent column in the Washington MonthlyGeography Helped Kill George Floyd

We have many wonderful student organizations, and I look forward to featuring many of them in future Monday Morning Messages, but one student organization, in particular, has stood out over the past year for its leadership on racial and social justice issues and community outreach- the C|M|LAW Black Law Students Association (BLSA) The mission of BLSA is to promote and assist in the attainment of the academic needs and goals of racially and ethnically diverse law students and to bring about change within the legal system to make it more responsive to the needs of the community.

Days after the killing of George Floyd, the C|M|LAW BLSA Executive Board issued its “No Room for Silence” Statement which has served as our law school’s Call to Action. In recent weeks, BLSA, along with other student organizations, issued a statement in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and in condemnation of anti-Asian hate and violence which continues. We Stand in Solidarity

The members of the C|M|LAW BLSA Executive Board, led by BLSA President Davona Mason '22, have dedicated themselves to being in service of others and engaging students in a virtual academic experience. Their activities have connected members to one another, students, staff, faculty, alumni, and the community. Just a few weeks ago, BLSA delivered over 250 brand new items to the families at the City Mission. Among their many other accomplishments are: 

  • Food Packing and Distribution with First Love Outreach Ministries and the Cleveland Food Bank
  • Amazon Drive for the Salvation Army Family Shelter
  • Welcome Back Game Night
  • Ask an Upperclassman Sessions
  • Academic support and Self Care
  • Voting Education Initiative/ Push to the Polls
  • End of Semester Review Sessions
  • Good Trouble Discussion with Cleveland Metro Bar Association
  • 2L Course Planning
  • Alumni Happy Hour Sessions
  • Raised just under $4000 for the BLSA Chapter’s initiatives


Recently the CSU Cleveland-Marshall BLSA Thurgood Marshall Moot Court Team of Alexis Bovell ’21, Vanessa Gomez ’21, and Anita Davenport ‘21, won 1st Place at the 2020-2021 National Thurgood Marshall Moot Court Competition. Last February this same talented team won the Regional Competition, which was CSU Cleveland-Marshall’s third regional Thurgood Marshall championship in the past 4 years! BLSA Thurgood Marshall Moot Court Team Wins National Championship

This past Friday evening, I watched with pride the virtual BLSA 2021 Annual Scholarship Banquet. In a very well-planned and executed event, BLSA awarded two 2 BLSA Excellence Scholarships, valued at $750 each, and gave its  Outstanding Alumni Award to Stanley C. Ball ’11, Vice President and Chief Litigation Counsel at Eaton, and its Outstanding Upper-class Member Award to Lauryn Robinson ’21.

My thanks and congratulations to the 2020-21 BLSA Executive Board and to the newly elected 2021-22 BLSA Executive Board. The officers are listed below.

2020-21 BLSA Executive Board

Davona Mason ‘22President

Bianca Smith ‘22Vice President

Chuka Anyafo ’22 , Treasurer

Erykah Gandy ‘22Corresponding Secretary

Jasmine Arambula ’22 , Recording Secretary

J Thompson ‘22Historian

Latosha Tate ‘21Parliamentarian


2021-22 BLSA Executive Board

Stephanie Goggans ’23President

Jordan Rodriquez ’23Vice President

Robert Dinkins Jr ’23Treasurer

Kimana Bowen ’23Corresponding Secretary

Meagan Rowley ‘23, Recording Secretary

Jewel Heath ‘23, Parliamentarian

C|M|LAW BLSA exemplifies our charge to all our students and alumni to use their legal education and law degree to live justice - which means to advocate for justice everywhere, to fight against injustice anywhere, and to help heal our nation.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay Committed to Living Justice.

Have a great day. Have a great week.

For copies of past messages, please go to this link: Monday Morning Messages

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My best,


Lee Fisher

Dean, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law | Cleveland State University
Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law
1801 Euclid Avenue, LB 138 |Cleveland, Ohio 44115 -2214
216-687-2300 |


No Room for Silence

We Stand in Solidarity

Social Justice and Antiracism Resources Guide


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