Largo, Md. – The Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. (CLEO) has selected their 2020 Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Civil Rights Scholars. Five outstanding first-year law students who are passionate about protecting the civil rights of all Americans have been awarded a $500 scholarship. The scholarship is named to honor Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., attorney, noted civil rights leader/activist, an advisor to presidents, businessman, and a board member to several Fortune 500 companies. Each scholar was selected after displaying academic achievement, extra-curricular participation, and writing an essay on how he/she would use their law degree to advance civil rights.
UM Law student Sarah Pierre was among the inaugural class of recipients.
“I believe my law degree will give me the platform to ‘do something,’” Pierre said. “It will allow me to truly offer justice within civil rights’ cases, instead of what I witness now, and did, growing up. I will use my J.D. towards this area of law to, not only be a light within our broken system, but to be a paragon within my community.”
Applications were accepted from students who attended CLEO’s 1L Prep – Attitude Is Essential pre-law seminar during the summer. After receiving more than 150 applications, the scholarship committee selected the five finalists. This is the first time CLEO has awarded this scholarship.
Below are the additional members of the inaugural class of Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Civil Rights scholarship recipients:
Azra Carrington – Azra is attending the Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, MA. She says, “I aim to gain the legal and clinical tools necessary to combat racial inequality and seek justice for communities of color. Particularly, I intend to develop policy focused on race and equating educational resource allocation in an effort to eradicate the digital divide and school-to-prison pipeline. With my law degree, I will ensure [an] American’s right to equal education must be preserved, protected and respected.”
Carlton Lewis – Carlton is attending Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. Per Carlton, “Now more than ever, leadership is critical to the health of our country and its people. And having one’s constitutional ‘right to vote’ suppressed, or taken away, for the rest of one’s life, as many returning citizens have had to endure, is not right. I plan to ‘fight’ to make sure this injustice is abolished from our nation once and for all!”
Chanel Taylor – Chanel is attending University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in Detroit, MI. According to Chanel, “Being an advocate is central to who I am because it is proactive, solution-based, and forward-thinking. Becoming a lawyer will open me up to a variety of fields and, whether I work as an attorney, a field director, an elected official, and/or lead a non-profit, I will always keep advocacy at the center of my work. Challenging the status-quo and boldly pursuing social advancement is a lifelong battle that I am ready to fight!”
Lois Winn – This fall, Lois is attending the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, CA. Lois says, “I am most looking forward to the range of law school classes I will take that will help me determine what type of law I want to practice. As I sample criminal law, contracts, and torts, I am ready to discover my passion for the next 30 years. Nonetheless, whichever career path I choose, I know I will engage in legal matters involving various forms of discrimination. Just as I rally for equality in my everyday life, I will work to advance civil rights my entire legal career.”
About the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc.
CLEO, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to inspire, motivate, and prepare students from underrepresented communities to succeed in law school and beyond. Founded in 1968, when the number of lawyers of color was less than one percent, to date, more than 25,000 individuals have attended a CLEO program and/or used a service, with many of our alumni excelling in every area of the legal profession to include judges, corporate attorneys, law school deans and professors, practitioners, politicians, and more. Additional information about CLEO and its programs can be found at https://cleoinc.org/