I am not a lawyer. I have never been a law fellow. What I am is passionate. I’m passionate about inspiring young people. And I am grateful. I am grateful to be a part of a company that is committed to supporting young scholars. I am a black, lesbian woman in my 50’s and have already seen so much in this young life. From the Civil Rights movement to equal voting rights and marriage equality, so much has changed. I know that it took passionate, dedicated and educated lawyers to implement these changes, and that the work isn’t over. I’m excited to see the advances brought up by our young leaders.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) works to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights for all persons and eliminate race-based discrimination. Through their law fellow program, the NAACP provides law students with first-hand exposure to civil rights advocacy and the legal profession. Armed with the knowledge that not every law is a fair and just law, these eager young scholars have a unique opportunity to learn from accomplished lawyers before stepping out into their own careers.
For 15 years, Kellogg has partnered with the NAACP and sponsored its Law Fellows Program. During the program, students travel to Kellogg Headquarters for an immersion in Kellogg’s legal practices, observe real-life examples of civil and human rights cases and learn more about our Diversity and Inclusion efforts. The program is designed to provide experience and knowledge beyond what’s available in a classroom. This year, I had the distinct honor of accompanying the law students during their visit to Battle Creek and I learned a great deal about their passions, their commitments and their drive for building a just and equitable legal system.
When it was time for them to depart, I stood near the bus, waving goodbye to these brilliant, driven minds. A young woman named Shani turned around and said, “We are not Kellogg’s first law fellows group, but we will always be your best group.” I know these students will certainly rise to the occasion to make the world a better place for us all. I responded with a smile, “Always endeavor to do your best.”
To learn more about the program, visit: http://www.naacp.org/campaigns/law-fellow-program/
Note: To participate in the program, law fellows don’t have to be a person of color, but a person with passion for equality, equal rights and justice for all.
For more stories like Cheryl’s and to learn more about Kellogg’s global diversity and inclusion efforts, click here.