The Minnesota Jaycees recently named University of St. Thomas School of Law Associate Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds to the list of the 2011 Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans. Levy-Pounds is among 11 honorees who will be recognized at a special awards celebration held on Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, Minn.
“These 11 young Minnesotans are examples of the importance of community service in developing leadership skills and living proof of our belief that service to humanity is the best work of life,” said Jason Benton, president of the Minnesota Jaycees. “This group exemplifies the core values of the Minnesota Jaycees which include developing leadership skills, entrepreneurship, advocacy for issues important for Minnesota, and service to their community.”
Levy-Pounds directs the Community Justice Project (CJP) and teaches at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. The CJP is a part of the Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services dedicated to promoting civil rights. Levy-Pounds’ goal in founding the CJP was to take a more holistic approach to addressing complex issues affecting the poor and working poor. CJP’s advocacy has led to systemic changes, policy reform and increased dialogue between law enforcement, government, and the community. CJP is actively engaged in developing a grassroots reentry initiative, known as Brotherhood Inc., to assist young African-American males who have been involved in the criminal justice system or gangs.
For her work, the American Association of Law Schools recently awarded Levy-Pounds the 2011 Shanara Gilbert Emerging Clinician Award. Often called upon to speak to issues of Civil Rights in the Twin Cities, Levy-Pounds was part of a group that shared the prestigious Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Award by Minnesota Campus Compact in 2010, along with the St. Paul NAACP. She serves as the Chair of the newly formed Minnesota State Advisory Committee, established by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights at the direction of the U.S. Congress.
Started in 1950, the Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans (TOYM) program is Minnesota’s only statewide recognition program for outstanding young leaders between the ages of 18-40 who have devoted themselves to improving their community. The program acknowledges the efforts and accomplishments of young adults who have contributed to our state through their service, thought and influence, community involvement, or entrepreneurship. In the past 61 years, the program has recognized the leadership of more than 400 young Minnesotans. Past awardees have included young up-and-coming leaders Walter Mondale, Marlene Johnson, Dave Winfield, Tim Penny, Paul Douglas, Matt Blair, Wheelock Whitney, Martin Sabo and Jason DeRusha.
2011 Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans Honorees:
- Jeffrey P. Bauer, The Family Partnership, Minneapolis
- Nicholas Banovetz, Minnesota Campaign for Achievement Now, Saint Paul
- Michael Cuddyer, Minnesota Twins, Minneapolis
- Megan Leafblad, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis
- Nekima Levy-Pounds, University of St. Thomas School of Law, Brooklyn Park
- Savannah Leyde, Little People’s Daycare, South Saint Paul
- Kari Mitchell, Charity Events of Minnesota, Rosemount
- Ross Alan Monten, U.S. Naval Intelligence Officer, Apple Valley
- Ni Suphavong, Jade Logistics, Eagan
- Ryan Thomas, Snowshark Publications, Bemidji
For more information, visit the Minnesota Jaycees.