2 Stetson Law students selected as Racial Justice Fellows
A consortium of higher education institutions focused on racial justice in Pinellas County has selected its inaugural cohort of Racial Justice Student Fellows, including two from Stetson College of Law.
The St. Pete/Pinellas Higher Education for Race Equity (SPHERE) consortium chose eight students, two each from four Pinellas County universities and colleges, for the year-long fellowship.
“Through our consortium, we seek to acknowledge the unique responsibility of institutions of higher education in seeking systematic change,” said Michelle Madden, campus diversity officer at USF’s St. Petersburg campus, one of the partners of the consortium.
The fellowship will put college students at the center of creating systemic change by providing opportunities to shape policy and systems through a racial justice lens. Students will learn about mechanisms that enable racial healing and serve in summer internships to work on projects that support racial healing and transformation in the local community. Each student will receive up to $2,000 during the 2021-2022 academic year.
The eight fellows selected are: Trey Daniels and Kayla Rendon-Torres from Eckerd College; Audrie Brinegar and Na’Keidra Perez from St. Petersburg College; Blake Radford and Megan Holmes from Stetson University’s College of Law; and Aaron Rose and Destiny Gomez from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus.
Fellows will participate in biweekly planning meetings with consortium institution representatives to help shape the vision, goals and activities of a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center for Pinellas County. This will include participating in other meetings at their home institutions as well as engaging with community members.
Over the course of the academic year, students will also be involved in at least seven approved activities, events or discussions related to race equity and racial justice. Students will complete a six-week internship in the summer of 2022 that focuses on deepening their understanding of systemic racism and developing opportunities to drive healing and transformation.
“As we build the work of the consortium, the student voice is critical,” said Judith Scully, a professor of law and director of the Social Justice Advocacy program at Stetson College of Law.
“We’re excited for this inaugural cohort and hope to grow the program in the future.”
SPHERE is a joint initiative among Eckerd College, St. Petersburg College, Stetson University College of Law, USF St. Petersburg campus and the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg. The collaboration emerged out of a community task force that was convened to connect efforts in addressing inequalities that exist in the region. These institutions, which collectively serve more than 40,000 students, have been collaborating since the fall of 2020 to create a consortium working to dismantle racial hierarchies in the region.
Student testimonials for wanting to be a fellow
Megan Holmes – Stetson University’s College of Law – Juris Doctor Candidate, B.A. in Political Science and Pre-law
“I came to law school interested in learning how to solve big, intractable problems, specifically those surrounding racial equity. I believe that this fellowship is the perfect next step in my career-long commitment to that cause. This fellowship will provide the opportunity to build a consortium that outlasts my time at Stetson.”
Blake Radford – Stetson University’s College of Law – Juris Doctor Candidate, B.A. in Political Science, Psychology
“If I want to help end racism and change the environment my cousins will have to grow up in, I need to learn from more enlightened and experienced minds on the tools they’ve used as well as what they have found in their experience to work and not work. I believe this fellowship will give me an opportunity to learn, experience, and discuss the situations we face and have a hand in trying to fix some of the issues. The potential to work with other fellows from various academic institutions and with more experienced individuals who can impart their knowledge onto me will undoubtedly grant me a vast array of experience that I can learn from and implement into my leadership style and take forward with me on my journey.”
-Stetson College of Law