Published on: Wednesday, May 4, 2011
The Executive Committee of the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education has recognized University of St. Thomas School of Law Associate Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds with the 2011 Shanara Gilbert Emerging Clinician Award for her work with the Community Justice Project under the auspices of the Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services (IPC).
The Shanara Gilbert award honors a junior or “emerging” clinician who has demonstrated a commitment to teaching and achieving social justice, particularly in the areas of race and the criminal justice system. Award winners also display their dedication in service to the cause of clinical legal education, both nationally and internationally. The Shanara Gilbert Award will be presented at the Conference on Clinical Legal Education's Awards Luncheon on Thursday, June 16th, in Seattle, Washington. Shanara Gilbert, who died in 1996 at age 45, was a founder and co-director of CUNY Law School’s Defender Clinic.
In 2006, the Community Justice Project, under the leadership of Professor Levy-Pounds, and the St. Paul Chapter of the NAACP formed a partnership to work collaboratively on behalf of communities of color to challenge laws and policies that negatively impact these communities. Through collaborative efforts, the Community Justice Project and the St. Paul Chapter of the NAACP have engaged law students, local youth, and other community members in addressing current civil rights issues. They have increased dialogue and improved relations between law enforcement and communities of color. Together the CJP and NAACP have written key reports that have led to systemic changes.
In June 2010, the Community Justice Project and the St. Paul NAACP were awarded the prestigious Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Award by Minnesota Campus Compact to honor their outstanding work and to highlight the work of effective campus-community partnerships that address critical public issues.
In addition to her work in the CJP, Levy-Pounds is an active contributor to the field of civil rights and criminal justice by serving as a consultant to local civil rights organizations and community groups, a commentator in local media, and a lecturer and speaker in national and international forums. Her scholarly interests include African-Americans and the law, the impact of the war on drugs on African-American children and families, the treatment of women in prisons, and intersecting issues of race, class, and the criminal justice system. Levy-Pounds also focuses on juvenile justice issues, police and community relations, and the school-to-prison pipeline facing children of color.