Four individuals who exemplify the values advocated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be honored by the Rutgers Law–Camden Black Law Students Association during its 19th annual Champions of Social Justice Awards Banquet on Friday, Jan. 23.
This year’s honorees include Newark City Mayor Ras Baraka; Philadelphia Diversity Law Group Founder Lois Kimbol; United States Magistrate Judge for the District of New Jersey Karen Williams; and Rutgers Law–Camden Associate Dean of Enrollment Camille Andrews.
According to Rutgers–Camden first-year law student Sade Calin, who serves as secretary of BLSA, the event serves to honor achievements in the legal community, as well as serve as scholarship fundraiser.
Since 1997, the annual banquet has honored approximately 84 community leaders whose commitment to social justice and equality invokes the spirit and ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This year’s event will be held during 6 p.m. in the Rutgers–Camden Campus Center, located on Third Street between Cooper Street and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
Elected mayor of Newark in 2014, Ras Baraka previously served as a councilman, a principal of Central High School, and a community organizer. The longtime Newark resident earned degrees from Howard University and St. Peters University.
In his role as councilman, Baraka led legislation recognizing violence as a public health issue; established the Homestead/Abandoned Properties ordinance; re-opened the South Ward police sub-station; created the Bergen Lyons Clinton Special Improvement District; and supported the opening of Key Foods Supermarket. Baraka has also supported initiatives geared towards youth development such as South Ward READS and the South Ward Youth Development Center.
The son of renowned poets Amina and Amiri Baraka, the Newark mayor is also a published author; his latest work Black Girls Learn Love Hard is dedicated to the life of his late sister, Shani Baraka.
Kimbol is of counsel in the environmental law group at Dechert LLP and serves as vice president of programs for the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group. Listed in Best Lawyers in America, Kimbol has written and lectured frequently on environmental law topics. A graduate of Smith College, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Chicago, Kimbol was the first chairperson of Dechert’s diversity committee, of which she is still a member. She represents Dechert on the board of the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group, where she is the co-chair of the Summer 1L Program Committee. Recently, Kimbol was named as an On Being a Black Lawyer 2013 Power 100 Advocate, one of 12 non-black lawyers honored for their efforts to help achieve significant advances for diversity.
Appointed to the bench in May 2009, Williams handles preliminary proceedings in both civil and criminal cases and sits in Camden, New Jersey. Prior to her appointment, she was the managing partner of Jasinski & Williams, P.C., which specializes in labor and employment law. Williams earned her undergraduate degree from Penn State and her law degree from Temple.
In charge of enrollment at Rutgers Law–Camden, Andrews, an alumna, also teaches such courses as including, Antitrust, Evidence, and Complex Litigation, and serves as a faculty advisor to the recently integrated Rutgers University Law Review. Prior to joining the law school, Andrews was a corporate litigation partner with Dilworth Paxson in its Philadelphia office. She has previously served on the boards of LEAP Charter School and the New Jersey Cares.
Tickets for the event are $50 for the general public, $40 for past honorees, and $20 for Rutgers–Camden students and faculty. To register for the event, visit https://camlaw.rutgers.edu/apps/payment/register.php?event_id=73