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President’s Message

It takes a village...
jehan-crump-gibson-president-321x480

I am truly humbled to serve as the 2016-2017 President of the Wolverine Bar Association and Wolverine Bar Foundation. In considering the direction of the Wolverine Bar for this year, I reflected on our standing as the powerful force we have been not only in the legal community for over 80 years, but in the community as a whole. We stand proud today, not because of a few, but because of many working together to achieve equal opportunity, equal justice and equal access. The key here is “together”.

With this notion in mind, the theme for this Bar Year is “It takes a Village…” This age-old expression establishes a framework that is all-encompassing and crucial to improving our efforts concerning diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, a goal we should never lose sight of.

In striving to achieve this end, we will reach back farther with our pipeline programming. The sharp decline in recent law school enrollment has been alarming in general, but the rates for African Americans are abysmal and particularly appalling for African American males. We must start earlier. While we offer phenomenal resources and programming to law students of color, we must recalibrate and concentrate our efforts on reaching and cultivating our youth as early as possible. This must be done to guide them THROUGH the pipeline so that they get TO law school. To that end, we will be partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit to pilot the “AIM” Program: Advocating, Inspiring and Mentoring, a mentorship program that will allow us to interact one-on-one with youth in underserved areas, teaching them life skills, advocacy skills and offering them much-needed exposure.

“It takes a Village…” This age-old expression establishes a framework that is all-encompassing and crucial to improving our efforts concerning diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, a goal we should never lose sight of.

This year, the WBA will roll out our much anticipated mentorship program designed for younger attorneys to be mentored by more seasoned attorneys. We have so many members that are pioneers in our profession with a wealth of institutional knowledge. They will serve as invaluable resources for those just getting started in their careers.

We will also be ramping up our efforts to pull together the African American legal community for a couple of reasons: 1) we can pool our resources to have a greater impact regarding the unique and disconcerting issues that face our community as a whole and 2) to create more synergy amongst African American lawyers that are traditional practicing attorneys and those that are not. It is imperative that we are inclusive and provide diverse resources for lawyers of color in all different disciplines and fields.

As a village, WE have much to do. I look forward to galvanizing our Village so that we can continue our strong commitment to our profession and our community.

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