BLSA: More Than Just A Name
By: Sandy Boisrond
When I decided to write an article about BLSA, so many thoughts ran through my mind and I was torn about whether or not I should focus on one topic or another. The one thing I knew I had to address, however, was the image that BLSA's name brings to mind - one of exclusion and limitation rather than that of inclusion and education. The Black Law Students Association, or "BLSA" (pronounced "Ball-sah") as it's so often referred, is an organization which - contrary to its name - represents a diverse group of students of varying racial and ethnic backgrounds. BLSA supports the needs of all students, as it is particularly focused on promoting diversity in the legal profession. That being said... BLSA is open to ALL students... not just Black students.
I have been approached on numerous occasions with the same question..."Can I join BLSA?" My immediate response is always the same: "Of course! BLSA is open to all students!" The question is a logical one, as I realize that many groups which are named in the fashion that BLSA is, automatically place in the readers mind an idea of exclusivity... that of exclusion. The fact is, however, that groups such as BLSA were created because of the need for support, networking, and guidance of those often underrepresented in the legal profession. Although things are changing, this doesn't negate the need for groups like BLSA... if anything, it gives students an opportunity to feel a sense of ownership and encouragement, to continue the push to allow for different views and different faces to be represented across the various practice areas within the legal profession.
BLSA is more than just a name... more than just a label. BLSA is a group that welcomes and encourages diversity, and although its name may serve as a deterrent to those who may be interested in participating in BLSA activities and events, that is far from the intention. I invite you to take a moment to experience BLSA for yourself... without reservation. As BLSA is affiliated with the National Black Law Students Association, I don't forsee it changing its name anytime soon. I do, however, anticipate that with more exposure and more education about BLSA, the Cooley Auburn Hills campus will surely benefit from the wealth of resources and experiences which BLSA provides.
For more information on BLSA, its upcoming events, and/or if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to check us out:
National Black Law Students Association: www.nblsa.org