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Celebrating Black History Month

|Written By Heather Gardiner

The Black Law Students Association of Canada is working hard to get students to embrace diversity this month.

Osgoode Hall Law School Black Law Students’ Association’s co-chairwomen Camille Dunbar (left) and Oyinkan Akinyele (right) present Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Michael Tulloch with the Lincoln Alexander Award.

In recognition of Black History Month, last week the BLSA at Osgoode Hall Law School presented the inaugural Lincoln Alexander Award to Justice Michael Tulloch — the first black judge appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal. He joined the bench on June 22, 2012.

Tulloch graduated from Osgoode in 1989, at a time when he was one of three black students at the law school.

The BLSA established the award in recognition of Lincoln Alexander, who died last year. He was Ontario’s first black lieutenant-governor and the first black member of Parliament.

Other trail-blazing Osgoode alumni were also recognized at the event, including retired judge George Carter, the first black Canadian-born judge in Canada; the late Leonard Braithwaite, the first black Canadian to be elected to the Ontario legislature; and MPP Margarett Best.

Also, the BLSA’s biggest event of the year — its annual national conference — will be held in Ottawa from Feb. 21-24. Events include a meet and greet with judges from the Supreme Court of Canada, trips to Parliament, moots, and a keynote speech from Sheila Monteith, Jamaica’s high commissioner to Canada.

Feb. 25-27 is diversity week at Osgoode. The theme this year is “coming together.” The BLSA is encouraging students to share their experiences, lifestyles, cultures, and beliefs with each other. Lawyers from Toronto’s black and South Asian bars will be attending some of the events.

Second-year Osgoode student Justin Pilgrim has also been chosen as the recipient for this year’s Lucie and Thornton Blackburn scholarship, presented by Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP and the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers.

“It is a privilege to be able to help yet another student pursue his legal studies while at the same time fostering diversity in the legal profession,” said Douglas New, co-chairman of Fasken’s diversity and inclusiveness committee.

The scholarship includes a $5,000 grant, given to a student from an equity-seeking group entering his/her second year of law school.


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