The Black Law Students’ Association of Canada (BLSA Canada) is a national student-run non-profit organization founded in 1991. We are committed to supporting and enhancing academic and professional opportunities for black law students in both official languages. This commitment extends to black high school and undergraduate students and the community generally through our mentorship initiatives and our charitable initiative, BLSACares.
BLSA Canada and its chapters at law schools nationwide are concerned by the challenges faced by the black community in the legal profession. Promoting increased representation of black students in law schools and law firms is our primary mission. We are proud to provide professional opportunities and resources for black students, as well as a forum for formal and informal discussions about many subjects, including legal policy issues, effective career strategies, evolutions in substantive law, and access to justice for marginalized groups.
We reflect the diversity of the African/Black experience and welcome allies from all backgrounds who also seek to make a contribution to the furtherance of justice.
This is a very exciting year for BLSA Canada, as we mark 30 years since this organization was established. Over the last 30 years, executive teams and volunteers have established networks and initiatives to advocate for and encourage Black law and pre-law students in both official languages. Most prominently, we have established premier events to motivate and create bonds between Black law students across the country, namely the Civil Law Symposium, the Julius Alexander Isaac Moot, and the Annual National Conference. As this year’s executive, we are excited to continue these initiatives, establish new ones, and grow and strengthen the community of Black law students across Canada.
The entire 2020-2021 National Executive is looking forward to making this year a great success, filled with memories, mentorship, community and support at the forefront.
The theme for this year is “Together We Thrive; Together We Strive #BLSA30 #30YearsofBlackBrilliance.” We believe this statement encapsulates what BLSA Canada has done since its inception, and it is a legacy that we want to continue to celebrate. We see this togetherness in everything that we do: we celebrate one another’s accomplishments; we build each other up, through formalized and non-formalized engagement; and our BLSA alumni are dedicated to the Black students that are following in their footsteps. It is a special, communal bond that motivates us daily and inspires our approach for the upcoming year.
In 2020-2021, BLSA Canada is dedicated to furthering connections and mentorship amongst Black law students, pre-law students, and alumni. We look forward to creating more mentorship and networking opportunities with upper-year students and Black lawyers to facilitate the development of these connections. We especially want to deepen these connections and formalize networks between French-speaking and civil law Black law students and Black lawyers in Quebec. We are also excited to highlight and engage with BLSA Chapters across the country and assist in establishing new ones. We want all Black law students to feel that they are part of the broader BLSA community, no matter the size of their law school’s Chapter. Finally, we are dedicated to increasing the number of Black students that attend law school. We want to strengthen our engagement with Black pre-law students in both official languages by creating mentorship opportunities for them and increasing our visibility to continue to encourage Black applicants across Canada.
This togetherness and community-building are particularly important during what may become one of the most challenging years in recent memory. The COVID-19 crisis has created a lot of uncertainty for Black law students at almost every juncture of their journey through law school. Most critically, its disproportionate effect on Black lives may create additional strains for members of our BLSA family. BLSA Canada is prepared to respond to the challenges of this unique time and wants to ensure that Black students have the support and resources they need to navigate law school successfully.
No matter the forum, we are excited to meet you all this year! Stay up to date with us on our social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn), website (blsacanada.com), and we encourage you all to participate in our events and initiatives over the course of the year. And never hesitate to reach out to us for any questions that you have or anything that you need.
#BLSA30 is a time to celebrate US and we look forward to doing that with you this year.
We wish you continued good health and success over the summer months and into the upcoming year. Let us remember that although this is a challenging time in a multitude of ways, we can all get through it by supporting one another and never losing sight of what is important.