SWLAW Blog | Diversity

Image - BLSA Board 2021

February 24, 2021

Meet our 2021 Black Law Students Association Board Members

Meet the movers, shakers, and changemakers leading our Black Law Students Association in 2021. 


Co-President - Sydney Woods

Image - WoodsYear: 2L Day
Future: Entertainment Lawyer
Activities: BLSA, Peer Mentor Program, Children’s Rights Clinic, Entertainment Law Society, Music Law Society
She says: BLSA has provided a space for me to be myself in a field where I don’t see many people that look like me. The friendships I have formed mean so much to me and have played a significant role in my happiness and success now and into the future.
Fun Fact: I was born in Japan!



Co-President - Josie Deese

Image - DeeseYear: 2L Day
Future: Entertainment Lawyer
Activities: BLSA, Dean's Taskforce for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
She says: I left everyone I knew in Houston, TX to chase my dream career in Los Angeles. I do not know how I would have survived this long in law school if it weren't for my BLSA family. They are the kindest and most inspiring group of people I have met, and they are a true reflection of what makes Southwestern so special.
Fun Fact: I shook Beyonce's hand.


 Vice-President - Kristen Blanton

Image - KristenYear: 3L Day
Future: Criminal Lawyer
Activities: BLSA, Children's Rights Clinic
She says: I came to Southwestern for the Entertainment law program and quickly found my love for Criminal Law. Southwestern has afforded me the opportunity to network with the right people in the right places and make connections that will last a lifetime.
Fun Fact: I have ten younger siblings!



 Organization Coordinator - Chaviante Bell

Image - ChavianteYear: 3L Day
Future: Entertainment Lawyer
Activities: BLSA, Entertainment Law Society, Prison Abolishment in the Law
She says: I am thankful for the opportunities and experiences that Southwestern Law School has afforded me. I am also especially thankful for the time that I have served as BLSA Co-President.
Fun Fact: Favorite food is seafood!!!



Event Coordinator - Angel Ajala

Image - AjalaYear: 2L Day
Future: Criminal Law/Public Interest Lawyer
Activities: BLSA, SBA (Director), Street Law Clinic, Peer Mentor Program, Teen Court (Franklin High School Co-Rep), Safe Space Series
She says: Say yes to everything and remember, this is your meant to be.
Fun Fact: I used to be signed to an acting agency, and yes, I was terrible.



 Competitions Chair - Kirsten Stowe

Image - StoweYear: 2L Day
Future: Entertainment Lawyer
Activities: BLSA, Entertainment Law Society, Peer Mentor, California Lawyers for the Arts Extern
She says: When I first got to law school, I was so overwhelmed and nervous that I wouldn't find my niche. To my surprise, the Southwestern community embraced me with open arms. Through mentors, classmates, and organizations like BLSA, I felt accepted and was able to finally feel like I was in the right place. Southwestern has taught me how important community building is and to never doubt my abilities.
Fun Fact: I used to play the piano competitively.


Social Chair - Tatiana Owens

Image - OwensYear: 2L Day
She says: I have discovered valuable and fulfilling friendships with people especially through the Black Students Association and Latino Law Students Association on campus. I have learned a lot about myself and about the justice system at Southwestern. I feel more empowered every day to blossom into the best attorney I can be for my future clients. 
Fun Fact: I spend my downtime writing poetry, cooking, baking, and learning about animals with my son Justin.



Treasurer - Ameer Wafer

Image - WaferYear: 2L Day
Future: Lawyer/Entrepreneur 
Activities: BLSA, Street Law Clinic
He says: I want to be an asset to my community and advocate for positive change. 
Fun Fact: I am currently one of two Black men in my section.





Fundraising Chair - Joshua Davis

Image - DavisYear: SCALE II
Future: Entertainment Lawyer
Activities: BLSA, Entertainment Law Society, Peer Mentor Program, Journal of International Media and Entertainment Law (Student Editor)
He says: My time at Southwestern has reinforced the value of relationships.  From classmates to professional networks, I've learned that grades are not the sole determinant of success.  Success is a culmination of working hard, playing hard, and building a community of integral people committed to excellence.
Fun Fact: I've traveled to 16 countries.


Student Outreach Advisor - Lauren Polk

Image - PolkYear: 2L Day
Future: Civil Litigator
Activities: BLSA (Student Outreach Advisor), Judicial Extern at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Moot Court Honors Program (Oralist), Law Review (Staff), Dean's Fellow, Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity 
She says: Coming to Southwestern from Atlanta has been a dream. I've really enjoyed the tight-knit community, supportive environment, and opportunity to pursue my passion. Always remember to work hard, chase your goals, and don't ever let anyone convince you that your dreams are too big. 
Fun Fact: I've lived in Georgia, Florida, and California.


 1L Representative - Thelma Mbaezue-Daniel

Image - Mbaezue-DanielsYear: 1L Evening
Future: Public Interest Lawyer, Criminal/Civil Litigator
Activities: National Lawyers Guild Immigration Court Watchers, BLSA, Mass Incarceration Awareness Law Society, Criminal Law Society, Women’s Law, International Law, Immigration Law, Public Interest Law Committee, Teen Court, Homelessness Prevention Law Project
She says: “Do nothing without intention.” In that I mean, don’t tell the Universe what you want, tell the Universe what you are, and you will become it. I am a lawyer and a beacon of change.
Fun Fact: My first paying job or internship was with CNN. In addition to being a law student, I am a proud journalist and television host.


Secretary - Vanessa Barnett

Image - BarnettYear: 4L Evening
Future: Entertainment Lawyer
Activities: BLSA (Secretary), Negotiation Honors Program (Member), Peer Mentor Program (Advisory Board Member), Entertainment Law Society (Student Rep)
She says: The special relationships I have cultivated while at SWLAW bring me the most joy. Specifically, the friendships and bonds created through BLSA are those I will cherish for a lifetime. Those are my people and I'm proud of their hard work, dedication, and unwavering determination. They inspire me every day.