At The University of Tulsa College of Law, the Black Law Student Association (BLSA) fosters an environment that advances the professional and educational goals of Black law students. BLSA President Kayla Tunley, who is in her second year at TU Law, is helping the organization meet its goals.
“BLSA is a student organization that strives to create an atmosphere of unity within the minority community so we can help each other succeed as we enter into the legal community,” she said. Everyone is welcome in BLSA, Tunley added, because it is important to promote knowledge and education among all law students.
Throughout the school year, BLSA hosts meetings, social events and guest speakers. The association is also strategizing community outreach plans for next year. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, BLSA participated in Minority Law Awareness Day, an event that hosted high school students from Tulsa Public Schools. These young minds mingled with some of Tulsa’s greatest legal minds, learned about court proceedings and discovered more about applying to college. “Community outreach is something that is very important to BLSA, so we are taking time to try and build that momentum back up again,” Tunley said.
For Black History Month this year, BLSA has planned an array of informative and fun events, such as catering meals from Black-owned restaurants, hosting a trivia night and selling BLSA merchandise. In partnership with the Women’s Law Caucus, BLSA is hosting a Black History Month book club. The two groups will be reading Richard Rothstein’s “The Color of Law,” a penetrating book that underscores persistent racial segregation and the government’s role in perpetuating the oppressive system that renders so many Black individuals impoverished and disempowered.
Now more than ever, bright minds and voices are needed to address the legal needs of the Black community. BLSA’s goal is to equip students with the requisites necessary to approach varied and nuanced legal concerns.
It is challenging to articulate just how important and valuable groups like BLSA are to universities, particularly in Tulsa considering the difficult past associated with the city and state. TU is located at the juncture of significant historical events like the Tulsa Race Massacre and the forced removal of dozens of Native American tribes – and their slaves – to this region. It is crucial to ensure that the needs of Black law students are met in every corner, because they are the ones who will disrupt oppressive systems and uplift progressive sentiments that drive real change.
“Ensuring that organizations like BLSA feel welcome on TU’s campus is important because it guarantees that the law school’s Black students have a comfortable and safe space. Additionally, it helps Black students get connected with local attorneys, internship and externship opportunities and most importantly a support system that wants to see them succeed,” Tunley said. The campus family can continue to show support by attending BLSA events and supporting fundraising opportunities. Tunley hopes that BLSA membership continues to grow not only with Black students but with allies as well.
Are you interested in learning more about BLSA and other TU Law student organizations? Contact the Office of Student Affairs at 918-631-2401.