Feature Photo of Rhasheda Douglas, of the Rutgers-Camden School of Law by Brett H. Boone Sr.
By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
GLASSBORO – Rhasheda Douglas, assistant dean of the minority student program at the Rutgers University Camden School of Law, gave a passionate speech to students, supporters and members of the Glassboro Orchid Club at their annual scholarship luncheon at Masso's Crystal Manor on Saturday (May 7).
Douglas, who was introduced by Glassboro City Councilwoman Anna Miller, touched on a wide range of subjects including the need for better representation for minorities in the legal field, the value of education and the legal challenges facing minorities with new restrictive social laws.
Douglas said while the law profession is made up of 86% of people who are white, it is struggling to catch up with the rest of the U.S. population, which is 40% people of color. She said 50% of the country's young people, 18 and under, identify themselves as people of color.
"Our country is becoming more and more diverse," Douglas said. "It's essential that we have attorneys and other members that are in influential places to be able to continue advancing laws that care for the people, because that's what the laws are for, to serve the people, not the other way around."
Douglas thanked her father for always sitting down with her to preach the virtues of education and how important it was to obtain knowledge to be successful.
"I will always use the platform that I have to advance black men and to advance black women as well," Douglas said. "It's essential that we never let anyone forget that Black lives matter, that they matter in roles of prestige and matter in roles of influence.
Douglas said Black lives also matter at the grassroots level, sharing that is where Harriet Tubman first escaped slavery and then returned over again to bring others out of bondage, becoming a national hero in the process.
Douglas told the audience it was important that when people of color do achieve positions of power and influence, they must take up the mantle of advocating for others to widen that door of access.
"So we can aspire to be in these roles of great prestige and we gain these degrees and these accolades, but we can't forget to look back and to go back to make sure … that the door is open for others and that the seat that we do have at the table, we're using that seek to advocate for greater access for resources, because we know better than anyone else about the struggle. It's real."
Douglas drove home the point of challenges still facing many Blacks and minorities today even two years after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and social justice protests around the world. She pointed to legislation creating more restrictive voting laws, abortion and the teaching of Critical Race Theory.
"What Critical Race Theory is, in a nutshell, is the reality of the fact that slavery was a part of this nation …," Douglas said. "It's about how racism continues to play a part in the operation of our nation. It's critical that we have an examination of and then that we have reparations for what was done, because otherwise, we will not move forward."
Community awardees included Quandell Iglesia, CEO and team leader of IQ Real Estate and the founder of SNJ Millennials; Sadiyyah Maasmoon-Means, realtor and owner of The Cultural Collective Café and BlackNKulture Events Space and author Shannan Starr, along with Edith Alston. Jared Hunter, another honoree, could not attend because of a death in the family.
The Glassboro Orchid Club Scholarship winners included:
*Savannah Duckworth, Woodbury High School, attending Berklee College of Music: Duckworth is a member of the Woodbury student council, marching band and track and field team. She was also accepted into Drexel University and Rider University.
*Jeremiah Harold (Rev. Dr. Bernice Willis Scholarship), Clayton High School: took part in the Opioid Addiction Bulletin Board Project and Courtyard Landscaping Project at Clayton. He was a member of the school choir. At Emmanuel Baptist Church, he volunteered for community outreach events along with the Youth Abundant Ministry. He had been accepted into Rowan University, Rutgers University and Morgan State University. He plans on studying business and pre-law.
*Dallas Hohney, Glassboro High School: A member of the Glassboro H.S. honor roll and Principal's List, Hohney was selected Senior of the Month and served as president of the school's Black Cultural League. He played varsity basketball and was a member of the track and field team. Hohney was accepted to Bryant University, Rider University and Iowa State University.
*David A. Lopez II (Carmen Johnson Scholarship), St. Augustine Prep attending the University of Miami: Lopez was a member of the National Honor Society, President's List and Dean's List. He was also a member of the Multi-Cultural Club. He was also accepted to Loyola Marymount and Penn State.
*Ralph McBride, Glassboro High School, attending William Paterson University: McBride has been on the Glassboro honor roll and had received the People's Choice Award. He was a member of the Black Culture Club, played basketball and ran track.
*Qasim Muhammad (Dr. Dolores M. Harris Scholarship), Glassboro High School: An honor roll member, Muhammad was a member of the varsity basketball team, ran track and served as vice president of the school's Black Culture Club. He had been accepted to Lincoln University, William Paterson University and Stockton University. He wants to major in health and exercise sciences and become a physical therapist.
*Shayla Waugh, Our Lady of Mercy Academy, attending North Carolina State University: Waugh is a member of the National Honor Society and is a member of Zeta Phi Beta sorority, Archonette Gamma Nu Zeta chapter. She was a member of the Archery Club as well as the track team. She was also accepted to Ohio State University and the University of Delaware. She will study veterinary medicine.
*Donovan Wood, Gloucester County Institute of Technology, attending the University of Southern California: Wood was a member of the National Honor Society, student council and the National Technical Honor Society. He is certified in Abode Photoshop and Premier Pro. He was also accepted to the University of Miami and New York University.
Question: What can colleges, universities and trade schools do better to attract more young Blacks and Latinos? Answer in the Discussion Section below.
What's New on Front Runner New Jersey.com?
Follow Us Today On:
Subscribe to FRNJ EXTRA newsletter for exclusive information on this event and other premium content, courtesy of Front Runner New Jersey.com.
Note from AC JosepH Media: If you like this story and others posted on Front Runner New Jersey.com., lend us a hand so we can keep producing articles like these for New Jersey and the world to see. Click on SUPPORT FRNJ and make a contribution that will do directly in making more stories like this available. Thank you for reading.