By Lila Iriburiro Happy
BLSA Windsor members, photographer: Crystal Bryan - Crystalized Moments
The Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA) Windsor Chapter epitomizes the legacy of a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) compounded with infinite possibilities of a Wakanda. Given the exclusionary practices of law schools in Canada, BLSA is a revolution of Black joy, resistance, and success. Founded in 1991, BLSA is a student-led, bilingual nationwide non-profit. The Windsor Chapter of BLSA commenced in 2009 at the Faculty of Law, while a Black student group was active since 1991. Academic mentorship, career strategies, and platforms to critically discuss legal policy issues include avenues that BLSA Windsor provides.
Natasha Daley (JD/MSW '22), the BLSA Canada National Chair and Lloyd Dean Moot Co-chair reflects how, “BLSA Windsor created a family for me throughout my law school journey. We celebrate and champion each other, provide countless networking opportunities, and are always there to offer support at the drop of a hat! BLSA Windsor also gave me the perfect space to build leadership skills that have sharpened me, both personally and professionally.” This is consistent with the BLSA 2021 - 2022 emboldening theme: “In Excellence, We Stand; In Power, We Rise”.
Kevin Limbombe (JD '23), Director of Social Outreach encourages that “We must continue to fight for change. As Black students, we have had to claw and fight to get into law school. We must try twice as hard for the same result.” Limbombe explains how “BLSA has been a saving grace for my law school experience. Despite the virtual learning at a distance, BLSA Windsor has made sure that the infamous community atmosphere it is known for is not missed. The group provides safe spaces and a level of comradery that is unmatched.”
BLSA Windsor continues to challenge and change UWindsor. Aucha Stewart (JD ’22), BLSA Windsor President and Co-Chair of the anti-Black Racism Committee at Windsor Law reports that “BLSA’s advocacy has aided in the implementation of important initiatives such as the creation of the anti-Black Racism Committee which works to dismantle the barriers, practices, and cultures that perpetuate anti-Blackness within the University.” Steward celebrates how, “Here at Windsor Law, ‘BLSA’ means family! BLSA Windsor is one of the largest chapters of BLSA Canada. Throughout my law school experience, BLSA has provided a comfortable environment where students can be true to themselves and where they can be supported in their endeavours.”
BLSA Windsor pioneers multiple initiatives and organizes year-round events. The Lloyd Dean Moot, named after the Honourable Justice Lloyd Dean, presiding on the Ontario Court of Justice, is a unique BLSA undergraduate annual moot at Windsor Law. Brian Provo (JD ’23) Co-Chair of the 2022 Moot shares, “I had the opportunity to work with an amazing team who were all dedicated to our goal of inspiring and encouraging students to apply to law school. My favourite part was meeting students at the end and sharing my experiences, challenges, and strategies for success in law school with them. For that reason, even though the pandemic forced the competition to be online, it was one of the most successful moots of the year.” Beyond campus, as the host of the 31st BLSA Gala at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver, Limbombe expresses the conference was “the first time we were able to visualize our future at scale”. The keynote speaker Rafael Tachie, stated “[BLSA] creates legends as a side hustle.” In response, “this statement perfectly describes the development that all members of BLSA go through during their time at Windsor Law” (Limbombe).
To keep updated with the future lawyers, judges, policymakers, and leaders of the world, follow BLSA Windsor on LinkedIn, @blsawindsor on social media and visit https://www.blsawindsor.com/home/. On behalf of the VP EDI office and the UWindsor campus community, our gratitude goes out to BLSA Windsor.