SO resident invites Maplewood students to award ceremony


Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey’s Annual Jazz 2009 Scholarship Brunch

South Orange resident Theresa Andrews, Esq. invited students from CHS to attend this year’s Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey’s Annual Jazz Scholarship Brunch.  She contacted Social Studies teacher Jon Campbell, extending an invitation through him to interested students.  The luncheon celebrates the achievements of change makers epitomized by M. Bernadine Johnson-Marshall, Esq. and Martha Belle-Williams, Esq., the first African American women to become members of the New Jersey Bar.  Ms. Andrews, below, presents an award at the event.

Mrs. Teri Andrews
Ms. Theresa Andrews, Esq.

Students benefit from increased participation by residents.  I saw first hand the excitement of the two students who attended this NBWLNJ luncheon.  I was fortunate to attend with a CHS faculty member.  We were all guests of Ms. Andrews.  During the event the students listened intently.  Afterward, on our way home,  they excitedly spoke of what awaited them at college.

It was an impressive event.  Our country faces challenges posed by a most serious economic downturn, and members celebrated their ability to host this years fundraiser.

The luncheon was hosted by women lawyers who celebrated each others successes.  Personally, I was touched and motivated by all that I saw and heard.  There were 5 scholarship award recipients.  Each woman who received an award is an accomplished student, and I can explain it best in this way.  Brilliant: Allison Gross graduated Magna cum Laude from Barnard College, and was accepted onto the Rutgers Journal of Law and Public Policy as an editor.  Courageous: Diarra Guthrie, as a Minority Peer Counselor during her second year at Brown, counseled students of color and victims of hate crimes, helped to facilitate a first year diversity orientation program, and implemented campus workshops relating to issues of social inequality.  Dedicated: Bisha Nurse is the chair of the Uncontested Divorce Workshop pro bono project where she coordinates Columbia University students and attorneys from Sanctuary for Families in order to complete petitions and affidavits to assist indigent women with their divorces.  Inspirational & Goal Oriented: Chandra Betner-Wood, a single mother of four children who has transcended challenges others would have been overwhelmed by, currently attending Seton Hall University School of Law.  Driven & Devoted: Tamika Stembridge, co-Valedictorian of Plainfield HS, Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa at Spelman College, and volunteer with the Street Law, Pro Bono Project, where she delivers weekly lessons about a variety of legal topics to hs students from the surrounding Camden area.

Mrs. Rhonda Medina, Esq. was the Keynote Speaker.  She was introduced by Kay Walcott-Henderson, Esq, Brunch Co-Chair.  Mrs. Rhonda Medina is the Senior Vice-President of Business & Legal Affairs Nickelodeon Television/MTV Networks Kids &Family, and a member of the Tri-State Finance Committee, Obama for America.  She spoke of overcoming challenges, and staying the course, discussing President Barack Obama’s successful win of the presidential elections.

Governor Corzine spoke of the women of the association with high regard and with fondness.  This year three of ABWLNJ’s members received the New Jersey State Bar Association Professionalism Award.  The award is given annually to lawyers who by virtue of their conduct, competence and demeanor has set a positive example for others in the profession.  Select this link for more about the association.

© 2010 W. S. Hughes

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