July 2021 Newsletter
President's Message
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 year 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 and represent you well 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. We must all take some time to examine and heal from the lasting effects of these incidents in both our personal and professional lives.

BWLA will continue to provide relevant programming and events tailored to your needs as we transition to the workplace. We encourage your feedback as restrictions in Chicago and the State of Illinois have been lifted for in-person gatherings and events. There are also plenty of opportunities to serve on one of our committees. Please take a few moments to fill out the surveys below as it will help us to serve you better.

In addition to stellar programming, we will continue to be a valuable resource to our community through our signature pipeline programs and committees. Now more than ever, our community should have a resource in BWLA to address civil and human rights issues plaguing our community. We will continue to utilize our legal expertise to educate and empower the communities in which we live and serve.

Finally, this bar year we will honor and 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.

I hope you are as excited as I am about the possibilities before us this year and beyond. I 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
2021-2022 President
Installation of the 2021-2022 BWLA Board of Directors and Scholarship Fund Board
The Installation of the 2021-2022 BWLA Board of Directors and Scholarship Fund Board occurred on June 15, 2021.

BWLA held its first hybrid installation, with members watching via Zoom as the newly elected Board members were sworn into their new positions in person. BWLA Past President Judge LaShonda A. Hunt performed the swearing-in ceremony of the BWLA Board of Directors and the Scholarship Fund Board. BWLA Lifetime Member Andrea Zopp provided inspiring keynote remarks to energize the membership for the upcoming 35th Anniversary bar year, highlighting the stellar accomplishments of BWLA members past and present.

Congratulations to Immediate Past President Kenyatta Beverly on leading a successful and phenomenal 2020-2021 bar year! Thanks to her steadfast leadership, BWLA had a successful and engaging year full of programming, resources and support for our members, in spite of the challenges that the pandemic presented. During the installation ceremony, Kenyatta presented awards to several BWLA members in appreciation for their leadership and service during the 2020-2021 bar year, including presenting a Rising Star award to Kimberly Cross, the first law student to receive this honor, for her leadership and persistence as the President of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) at UIC John Marshall Law School. Congratulations to Ms. Cross and all of the award recipients!

Many thanks to the law firm McDermott Will & Emery for hosting us in their beautiful space for this event.

Click here to view the photo album!

Installation 2021
Installation 2021-14
Installation 2021-13
Installation 2021-10
Installation 2021-6
BWLA Membership Appreciation Reception
Immediately following the 2021-2022 Installation and Awards Ceremony, BWLA members, family and friends gathered at The Beat Kitchen on the Riverwalk for the annual Membership Appreciation Event. Guests enjoyed delicious bites and cocktails as they networked and soaked in the beautiful views of the Chicago River.
Interested in Becoming Active With BWLA?
Are you interested in becoming more active in BWLA during the 2021-2022 bar year? If so, we have plenty of opportunities you may want to consider! Including:

  • Serving as a Committee Member. BWLA has several committees that members can join. If you're interested in serving on a committee, please fill out a brief survey that can be found here.

  • Serving as a Committee Chair or Co-Chair. Committee Chairs play an integral role in planning and implementing BWLA's programming. Chairs work in conjunction with BWLA Board members to plan and host programming throughout the bar year. If you're interested in serving as a Committee Chair, please contact BWLA President Nakhia Crossley at nakhiabwla@gmail.com and indicate which Committee(s) you're interested in Chairing.
Your Opinion Matters!
As restrictions have been lifted in Chicago and the State of Illinois for in-person gatherings, BWLA would appreciate your feedback as we begin to plan events for the upcoming bar year. Please share your thoughts and suggestions for indoor, outdoor and virtual events by completing this anonymous survey.
BWLA T-Shirts on SALE NOW!
We have new BWLA T-shirts that are available for purchase!!! The new T-shirts were designed to celebrate and commemorate our resilience during the pandemic. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to BWLA's Scholarship Fund. T-shirts are $25.00 each and are available in size small - 2XL. Please email administrator@bwla.org to place your order TODAY while supplies last!
Upcoming Events

During the annual Women Everywhere service event BWLA will support Sarah's Circle, a non-profit organization with a mission to serve women who are homeless or in need of a safe space. Located in Chicago's Uptown Community, Sarah's Circle has provided support for thousands of women since 1979. Today, Sarah's Circle has a Daytime Support Center open to any woman in need, a 50-bed interim housing (shelter) program for women who are currently homeless, and permanent supportive housing for women who have a disabling condition and have been chronically homeless. Sarah's Circle also provides case management and supportive counseling to help women achieve their goals. Learn more at https://www.sarahs-circle.org/

We encourage members to donate by visiting their MyRegistry List or making a donation here!
Past Events
Spring General Meeting & 2021-2022 Board of Directors Election
On May 26, 2021, BWLA held its Spring General Meeting & 2021-2022 Board of Directors Election.

This virtual event was well-attended and provided an opportunity for members to reflect on BWLA's accomplishments and achievements during the 2020-2021 bar year. Members were also able to hear from the candidates who were nominated to serve on the Board of Directors.

Immediate Past President Kenyatta Beverly presented a year in review that showcased all of the programming held during the 2020-2021 bar year. You can view the full presentation here.
BWLA Member Achievements
Congratulations to Myka Bell on being named to the Diverse Sports Executives Pipeline Program Cohort!
Congratulations to BWLA Past President Kenyatta Beverly on receiving the She Shines Award by Girls Inc. of Chicago!
Congratulations to BWLA Past President Chastidy Burns on receiving the Milton H. Gray Award For Outstanding Project Leadership by The Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section!
Congratulations to former BWLA Board Member Candace Jackson-Akiwumi on being confirmed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals!
Congratulations to Precious S. Jacobs-Perry on being named a Crain's Chicago Business 2021 Notable Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Executive!
Congratulations to BWLA Past President Kenya A. Jenkins-Wright on being named a Chicago Daily Law Bulletin 2021 Top 50 Women in Law!
Events Around Town
Employment Opportunities
BWLA constantly receives new employment opportunities that our members may be interested in. The ever expanding list has become too lengthy to share here, so please be sure to visit the BWLA Job Board to view all current employment opportunities!
Thank You To Our Sponsors!!!!