by Meghan Bradley
On January 31, John Marshall Bar Association (JMBA) and Black Law Students Association (BLSA) hosted the kick off event for both Professionalism Week and Black History Month on the UF Law campus.
“Today’s event goes beyond the speaker. It was the start of a relationship between two of UF Law’s largest organizations—BLSA & JMBA. Historically the organizations have not seen eye to eye; however, it was incredibly valuable that the orgs could come together to sponsor such a series,” described 2L Alisha Moriceau.
The guest speaker, Raysean Brown, serves as the director of My Brother’s Keeper Orlando. My Brother’s Keeper is an organization that seeks to provide underprivileged youth with resources to enable them to reach their full potential.
Mentorship is key to the program’s mission of filling opportunity gaps boys and young men face by providing them with support and skills they need to thrive. Alisha Moriceau opined, “mentoring is not about where you come from, what you look like, or how much money your parents make. It’s about caring so much for someone else that you are able to free yourself enough not to notice your differences.”
Law students are uniquely positioned to be leaders in their communities.
“Mentoring is vital to the professional and legal world because it helps young people develop the skill sets they need to succeed. Young law students have a unique opportunity to show young people that you do not have to have the perfect childhood or family situation to succeed in the field of law,” said Amber Lengacher, 2L.
The presentation focused importance of mentorship and the difference law students can make. Mr. Brown stressed that, “you don’t always have to relate, you just have to care.” He explained that we all have experiences that put us where we are today, so through mentoring we can help develop the young professionals of tomorrow.
“The presentation helped me realize that through mentorship we can help today’s youth see beyond the scope of their circumstances,” said Samantha Jacob, 1L.
My Brother’s Keeper in Orlando has made great strides. The program has aided to producing a 74% reduction in young African American incarceration rate in Orlando as well as improved academic performance and increased employment.