S mooth seas do not make skillful sailors. This African proverb most adequately describes the challenging times we find ourselves in — not just in our nation, but as a civilization. The world has figuratively become smaller since technological advances allow us to witness the world’s events in real time. Through a devastating pandemic, global supply chain issues, the undeniable effects of climate change, and the possibility of world war, the world is experiencing a torrential surging storm at sea. In the midst of it all, I have had the honor of serving as the 30th President of the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chi- cago, Inc. during its 35th year in existence. I began the bar year ready to “right the ship” in what hopefuls deemed the aftermath of a very trying year. Today, I realize that one wave begets another, and thus, BWLA’s existence is more important than ever to ensure the success, sustainability and longevity of Black women lawyers in the legal profession. BWLA has embraced the convenience of virtual webinars, and as a result, we have increased our CLE-eligible programming. We have also focused on personal health and wellness through both virtual and in-person activities with certified physical and mental specialists.
Unpredictably, we are honored to cele- brate the appointment of the second Black woman to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, BWLA’s own Honorable Candace Jackson-Akiwumi. And as I write this, Black women everywhere are watching with pride the confirmation hearings of what may be the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. What an historic time. At the close of this bar year, I am beyond excited to honor and celebrate BWLA’s dy- namic founders and members at our Fundrais- er Gala. Black women lawyers are taking their places in rarely or never-before-seen spaces in the boardroom, the C-suite, and the White House, among others. BWLA’s Beyond Ball will reflect on the ad- vances we have made to take our seat at ta- bles that were not historically set for us while inspiring Black women lawyers everywhere to stretch themselves beyond their wildest imag- inations. BWLA has a legacy like no other, and I take such great pride in steering the organiza- tion during such a remarkable time. As I look upon the horizon, I am in awe of the beauty of the journey ahead.
NAKHIA CROSSLEY President, Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago, Inc.
mental health initiative by hosting yoga in the park followed by an open discussion with a licensed mental health counselor about the importance of mental health counseling. In conjunction with the Decalogue So- ciety, AABAR held its Sixth Annual Building Bridges Awards ceremony in September, hon- oring Neda Shaheen and Jacqueline Carroll for their outstanding service in combating hate and discrimination. In November, AABAR & Northwest Sub- urban Bar Association co-hosted a CLE on “Understanding Diversity & Inclusion through AABAR History.” As a result of the work of sev- eral members of AABAR and AMVOTE, Middle Eastern/North African (“MENA”) is now recog-
nized as a minority-designated group under the Minority Business Enterprise Ordinance of the City of Chicago. The Arab American Bar Association con- tinues to be highly active and engaged in leadership during these difficult times. The relationships that we have built with the Arab American community and other bar associa- tions has been remarkable and we look for- ward to continuing the meaningful work we do. The 2021-2023 installed officers also in- clude President Nura Yanaki, Treasurer Jawad Shalabi, Recording Secretary Mona Naser and Corresponding Secretary Cory Cassis.
CHICAGO DAILY LAW BULLETIN • LAW DAY 2022 45
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