My Dearest BWLA, Friends and Supporters,
I am honored to serve as the 30th President of the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago, Inc. as the organization embarks upon its 35th in existence! When I became a member of BWLA 11 years ago, I did not imagine being at the helm of this illustrious organization. Nevertheless, I am greatly encouraged by your trust in me and will do my best to serve your needs this bar year.
We are moving beyond a very challenging season. We have been isolated from one another for over a year due to a pandemic. We have witnessed an insurrection of our Nation’s Capital. We have experienced increased police brutality against Blacks which sparked protests across the country and proclamations of solidarity by Corporate America. All of this has magnified the disparities in health, wealth, and safety between white and black and brown communities in the United States. I firmly believe we must examine and heal from the lasting effects of these incidents in both our personal and professional lives.
BWLA will continue to provide relevant programming tailored to the needs of its members as we transition back to the workplace. We will focus on enhancing member benefits by offering more CLE-eligible programming and a brand-new professional development program focused on the pathway to law firm partnership.
We will continue to be a valuable resource to our community through our signature Street Law Program and Civil Rights Action Committee and create a forum to connect black and brown teenagers plagued by the city’s violence and scarce resources with mentors and motivation to strive beyond their circumstances.
We will also celebrate BWLA’s dynamic founders and members as we reflect on our 35-year history. Globally, Black women attorneys have moved beyond the traditional law-firm partner track and have taken their places in the boardroom, the c-suite, the New York Times bestseller’s list, and the White House. Tremendous barriers have been broken by Black women attorneys and BWLA’s members have greatly contributed to that. Throughout the year, we will reflect on the advances we have made to take our seat at tables that were not historically set for us while inspiring and challenging our members to stretch themselves beyond traditional professional pathways.
This past year was not normal. Thus, this bar year we will not return to normal. Instead, we will embrace the opportunities and possibilities beyond perceived limitations and boldly lead and empower our members to shape the future we want for the legal profession.
It is a privilege to serve you and for such a time as this. I am extremely excited about this opportunity and encourage you to reach out to me with your ideas to make this our most successful bar year yet!
Yours in Service and Sisterhood,
Nakhia C. Crossley