Black Law Students Association Hosts First-Ever King Hall Black Alumni Reunion
In an inspiring display of unity across the generations, alumni of the UC Davis School of Law Black Law Students Association (BLSA) returned to UC Davis on April 6 for the first-ever King Hall Black Alumni Reunion.
The event drew a strong turnout of alumni as well as current Law School faculty, students, and staff, who enjoyed tours of the newly renovated and expanded King Hall and a luncheon featuring remarks from Dean Kevin R. Johnson at the Gunrock Pub. As part of the festivities, Assistant Dean Sharon Pinkney was honored with the inaugural BLSA Legacy Award.
"I think that all of us associated with UC Davis School of Law can take pride in the sense of community that is on display here today," Dean Johnson said in his welcoming remarks. "This event came into being because you all wanted to come together, celebrate your achievements, and show your support for each other and the School of Law."
Dean Johnson said he hoped the reunion would become an annual event that would bolster the Law School's sense of community and help to promote the formation of mentoring relationships between BLSA alumni and students. "The forming and nurturing of mentoring relationships is especially important," he said. "They enable us to share experiences and connections, and most of all to share our support and encouragement for the next generation of legal professionals."
Click here for more photos from the Black Alumni Reunion.
Dean Johnson introduced BLSA co-chair Irene Williams '14, who also talked about the important bond between BLSA alumni and current students. "This reunion is about you, King Hall's black alumni," she said. "We are here to celebrate your achievements and the fact that current black law students likely wouldn't be where we are today, wouldn't have the opportunities we have today, wouldn't dare to dream like we dare to dream today, if those of you who came before us had not paved the way."
Williams also described how the reunion event was conceived as a result of a chance meeting between BLSA students Jihan Kahssay '12 and Fitz King '13 and alumni Windie Scott '77, a California Deputy State Controller, and the Honorable Otis Benning '77, a retired state administrative law judge, at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. march in Sacramento two years ago. Scott and Benning, who were instrumental in organizing the reunion, hosted the next segment of the event, a "walk through the decades" in which they recalled events and issues at King Hall through the years, inviting alumni to add their perspectives.
Sharon Pinkney, Assistant Dean for Admission and Enrollment at King Hall, was honored with the BLSA Legacy Award in recognition of her unwavering dedication to promoting diversity at King Hall. (Pinkney was unable to attend due to a family commitment.)
The event closed with remarks from BLSA President Katie Fowler ‘14. She thanked Scott and Benning for helping to organize and plan the reunion, and acknowledged the support from the Law School Dean's Office and staff, as well as the BLSA members who helped to make the event a success.
"Finally, on behalf of BLSA, I would like to thank each of you for coming," Fowler said. "It was so important for us to put this day together because we hope to establish a stronger connection to you, our black alumni. You inspire us with your accomplishments and as we look forward to our own legal careers, it is comforting to know that we are joining such an amazing community of strong, successful, black professionals."
Click here for Dean Johnson's blog on the reunion.
Among the many BLSA alumni present were Michael Lawson '70, Randy Cooke '71, the Honorable Elihu Harris '72, Darryl Billups '75, the Honorable Judy Johnson '76, Cynthia Spencer-Ayres '76, Ramona Armistead (Arceneaux) '76, the Honorable Leslie Brown '77, Michael Lee '79, Linda Blackwell '80, the Honorable Ramona Garrett '80, Gregory Jennings '87, Sandra Talbott '88, Vera Marcus '90, Don F. Harris '91, Darryl Stallworth '92, David Andrew Eldridge '94, the Honorable Stacy Boulware Eurie '95, Marvin Mizell '96, Christine Lovely '96, Marvin Mizell '96, Amal Abu-Rahma '97, the Honorable Dian Vorters '97, Arthur Lipscomb '02, Shanee Y. W. Nelson '02, Natasha Ralston '04, Makesha Patterson '05, Bryan Hawkins '05, Kyanna Williams '06, Renee Reimonenq '08, Charles Oshinuga '11, Jihan A Kahssay '12, and Edward Brown '12.
The reunion also was attended by King Hall faculty including Dean Johnson, Associate Dean Vikram Amar, Professors Alan Brownstein, Angela Harris, and Evelyn Lewis, and Director of Legal Writing Clay Tanaka.