Celebrating Black History Month
LBA Celebrates Black History Month Feature Member Dwazendra Smith
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: Dwazendra Smith
What does the celebration of Black History Month mean to you?
The celebration of Black history month means not only the celebration of history made by Black people, but also the celebration of American history as a whole. It is a celebration of diversity and hope that one day we will truly all be equal in every facet and we will no longer need to just highlight it during the shortest month of the year. The audacity of hope!
The national 2021 Black History Month theme is "The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity." How is this theme related to your own life?
The national 2021 Black History Month theme is related to my life because, as a single mother, I have been a role model to my daughter and she has seen firsthand that she can break glass ceilings. With the election of our first Black female Vice President, Kamala Harris, this further instills in her that anything is not only possible, but now obtainable. As such, she (and other young adults and children) can now see representation that looks like her in some of the highest and most respected positions, such as lawyers, doctors, senators and now U.S. Vice President. Because of these positions now being diversified, she can identify with this. This is so important to young adults and children to be able to look up to people, to see people who they identify with and to aspire to be like them.
Why do you feel it is important that we promote conversations about diversity?
It is truly important for us to promote conversations about diversity because but for these conversations, there would be no change. 2020 brought about the beginning of much-needed change. 20/20 means perfect vision. It is clear that God ordained and allowed everything that happened so that we could be still long enough to truly open our eyes widely. The pandemic slowed us down and forced us to see things as they are, not the way they were so conveniently distorted in the past. While we lost a lot in 2020, we also saw a lot in 2020... clearly. The pandemic and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement forced us to see what diversity and inclusion mean from another perspective. This, in turn, forced conversations regarding diverse communities and disparities within those communities.