CAMDEN — Three individuals who exemplify the values advocated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be honored by the Rutgers Black Law Students Association during its 20th annual Champions of Social Justice and Equality Awards Banquet in Camden on Friday, Jan. 15.
This year’s honorees include Archer & Greiner Associate Lloyd Freeman, a 2007 alumnus of Rutgers Law School and the first African-American chancellor of its Alumni Association in Camden; Rutgers Law Clinical Professor Sarah Ricks, co-founder and co-director of the Pro Bono Research Project; and, Dr. Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, founder and board chair of LEAP Academy University Charter School and a Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor of Public Policy at Rutgers University–Camden.
According to BLSA President Sadé Calin, a second-year law student, the event serves to honor achievement and advocacy for diversity in the legal community.
Since its inception, the annual banquet has honored nearly 100 community leaders whose commitment to social justice and equality invokes the spirit and ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This year’s event will begin at 6 p.m. in the Rutgers University–Camden Campus Center, located on Third Street between Cooper Street and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
At Archer & Greiner, Freeman concentrates his practice in the area of commercial and complex civil litigation in state and federal courts in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He has represented clients in trials, arbitration, and mediation in both states. A member of the firm’s discovery practice group, Freeman is extremely knowledgeable in the areas of civil procedure both on the state and federal levels.
Prior to joining the firm, Freeman served as an intern to the Hon. Jerome B. Simandle, Chief U.S.D.J, and as an extern to the Hon. Joseph E. Irenas, S.U.S.D.J., both of the District of New Jersey. At the firm, Freeman serves as a member of the Hiring and Diversity Committees and as chair of the firm's affinity group LEAD (Lawyers Encouraging Archer's Diversity). He also coordinates the Rutgers Law School Diversity Scholarship Program.
Ricks graduated from Yale Law School, where she co-founded the journal Yale Journal of Law & Feminism and from Columbia University’s Barnard College. After clerking for the Hon. Thomas N. O'Neill Jr., of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, she joined Pepper Hamilton in Philadelphia as a litigation associate. Ricks then served as an appellate and legislative attorney for the City of Philadelphia Law Department, where she litigated dozens of federal and state appeals.
With Jill Friedman, acting assistant dean for pro bono programs, Ricks co-directs the Pro Bono Research Project, which offers free student legal research services to public interest law practitioners. At Rutgers Law, Ricks teaches legal writing, Current Issues in Civil Rights Litigation, Public Interest Research and Writing, and Advanced Legal Writing, and serves as a faculty advisor for the Journal of Law and Public Policy.
A resident of West Mount Airy in Philadelphia, Ricks was appointed by Philadelphia Mayor Nutter to the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, which enforces the City's antidiscrimination laws in employment, public accommodations, and housing.
A Rutgers Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor, Bonilla-Santiago directs the Community Leadership Center at Rutgers University—Camden and is the overseer and board chair of the LEAP Academy University Charter School, an innovative community that today serves 1,400 students in grades from infants to high school, and beyond.. The LEAP community has become a hub for serving the families of these children through a number of LEAP portfolio schools in Camden City, from ELRA (Early Research Academy) to LEAP STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math).
Bonilla-Santiago’s 25 years of experience include program development, fundraising, strategic planning, and leadership training. She writes and speaks widely on the areas of community development, public policy, education, migration, diversity management and, organizational leadership. In 1993, she received the Warren I. Susman Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest recognition for teaching given to Rutgers faculty. In 2008, she received the L’Oreal Paris Women Of Worth award, a national recognition that honors 10 women for their exemplary and transcending service to communities.
She is the author of numerous articles and three books, titled The Miracle on Cooper Street, Lessons from an Inner City; Breaking Ground and Barriers: Hispanic Women Developing Effective Leadership; and Organizing Puerto Rican Migrant Farmworkers.
Tickets for the event are $50 for general admission, $40 for past honorees, faculty, and staff, and $20 for students. To purchase tickets in advance, call the Impact Booth at 856-225-6161 or send checks to Angela Baker, associate dean of students and diversity affairs, Rutgers Law School, 217 North Fifth Street, Camden, NJ 08102-1203.