Student Leaders Reflect on Black History Month

February 23, 2024
Black Heritage Celebration For Us By Us

As we enter the final week of Black History Month, GW Law is pleased to present the reflections of the incredible members of our GW Law community.

Shallum Atkinson

Shallum Atkinson, President of the Student Bar Association 

Black History Month is an essential celebration of the contributions of African Americans to the advancement of our country. I often think back to 2015, when I attended the Million Man March in DC on the 20th Anniversary of the original one my dad attended in 1995, the same year I was born. It’s a reminder that even with the change of generations, Black Americans still face similar struggles, like the fight for equality. 

And that’s why I have always chosen to serve my community—such as by working in Congress to make sure underserved families have more resources than I did, and that this country’s policies reflect the need to help the most vulnerable among us. It’s why I also always find time to serve my classmates here at GW Law so people who look like me can continue to attend and thrive at one of the best law schools in the nation. Because the reality is, you will never go wrong serving others, even when it comes at a personal cost, and a large part of Black History Month is recognizing those who sacrificed to make sure we could have a more inclusive and just society. Black history is being made every day and, in this climate, where those very contributions and stories are being wiped from the history books, it’s important to recognize these moments now more than ever.


Anthony Brown Jr

Anthony Brown, Jr., Member of Dean’s Student Advisory Board

When I think of Black History Month, it recalls memories of my grandmother sitting with me as a child telling stories of our family history. Stories of chicken attacks on dirt back roads in upstate South Carolina as she and her sister ran home from school. I think of family trips from my hometown of Charlotte, NC, to our family church nearly 2 hours away – yards from where my grandmother was born. A church with generations of relatives laid to rest outside.

Some were farmers, housewives, teachers, preachers, war veterans; they all added to our history. They lived with the law, were shaped by it, suppressed by it, and worked to change and overcome it. Their lived experiences matter. That’s what my grandmother taught me long before I conceived of being a lawyer.

Every time I walk on campus as an evening student, attend a Dean's Advisory Board meeting, or meet with my fellow editors of GW’s Journal of Law and Technology (JOLT), I think of how the law is shaping me now. How it interlaces with Black history. How it is part of the stories my wife and I now tell our two children, accenting the very ones my grandmother told me. I think of how the law and all the people impacted by it matter, in ensuring tomorrow’s history is better. That’s the importance of Black History Month to me—the reminder of past endurance, present change, and future hope. 


Jada Romulus

Jada Romulus, Staff Editor, American Intellectual Property Law Association Quarterly Journal; Student Attorney, IP & Technology Law Clinic 

To me, every day is a celebration of Black History, as our advancements and achievements are always prominently showcased. Black History Month holds particular significance because it provides a focused platform to highlight the remarkable strides and accomplishments of Black people. Despite the systemic oppression and struggles we face, this month serves as a powerful reminder of our resilience and perseverance in the face of oppression. As we honor and celebrate the importance of Black History, it's essential to recognize that the celebration should not be confined to a single month as the lasting benefits and contributions of Black History are felt and appreciated daily.


Jasmine Williams

Jasmine Williams, President of the Black Law Students Association

Black History Month is always a wonderful opportunity to embrace and learn more about Black culture and the history behind it. One of my favorite things to do during Black History Month is share with others unknown Black History Month facts and influential figures.

I am a proud Michigander. Most of my family is from Detroit. Growing up in and around a city like Detroit truly makes you appreciate Black culture and history so much more because Detroit is such a culture-rich city. Going to the Motown Museum was always one of my favorite things to do as a child and it made me realize how influential Detroit has been in Black culture. It also makes me grateful to grow up in an area where I was absorbing Black history and culture every day.

Because I’ve been immersed in Black culture throughout my life, it will always be a goal of mine to positively contribute to the growth and betterment of the Black community. This is a large reason why I decided to run for BLSA President. Through BLSA I have been able to create a safe space for Black law students to fellowship and network amongst themselves and Black attorneys in the DC area.