Motivated by Justice, Inspired by Service


Celebrating Black History Month

LBA Celebrates Black History Month Feature Member Jeremy Bazile

This year, our Association is focusing its efforts on our membership by providing the tools to build new relationships and creating an atmosphere for important discussions. This includes diversity awareness. February brings us the perfect opportunity to discuss diversity in our local legal community and in the legal community at large as we celebrate Black History Month. Throughout the month of February, we would like to share the personal and professional journeys of our members who are African American or persons of color.

Featured Member: Jeremy Bazile
What does the celebration of Black History Month mean to you?
As an American, celebrating Black History Month is equivalent to celebrating American history in general. In this country, it is critical that we make sure our black citizens are not left out of the conversation when we honor the great architects, scientists, professors, veterans, and heroes who helped build our nation and contributed to its success. Black History Month is a rich celebration for everyone who loves our country.
The national 2021 Black History Month theme is "The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity." How is this theme related to your own life?
I am the first attorney in my family and one of the very few who hold a professional degree. When I graduated from law school, I had over 30 family members travel to Baton Rouge to watch me graduate. That moment was not only a reflection of my family's joy for me, but it was also a bigger celebration for the black community as a whole. We truly do come together to support the monumental achievements of our black brothers and sisters, because we come from a world and a history that has systematically held us back from reaching our goals and fulfilling our greatest potential. I may not have grown up in the pre-Civil Rights era, but the negative side effects of segregation have still trickled down to me, and I have experienced various roadblocks because of it. Nevertheless, even though most of us in the black community have come from very little, both financially and in terms of our lack of exposure to pivotal social connections, we still persevere and have achieved great successes primarily due to the love and support from God and the resilient black family unit the has blessed us with.
Why do you feel it is important that we promote conversations about diversity?
I remember reading in an American Association for Justice publication a few years ago how law firms have expressed support for diversity initiatives over the years, at least in theory, but have fallen short in putting action into practice to create true change. I could not agree more and believe we must promote conversations about diversity in order to reach our highest level of public service and form a sense of community that is based on reality, not the colorblind theory that feels good to support, but does not actually exist. Often times, I am the only black professional at the conference table or board meeting, and it is disappointing. But, I am encouraged by the bar association's honesty and willingness to promote conversations about diversity in hopes of more firms taking note and making the effort to recruit more associates from historically black law schools and support opportunities to advance diverse attorneys' careers. This not only signals your firm's commitment to hiring and developing minority lawyers, but it reflects the firm?s wiliness to take firm diversity to the next level.