In partnership with 3M, the University of St. Thomas School of Law is launching a new fellowship program that will allow a new law graduate to work full time for the school’s award-winning Community Justice Project.

The 3M Community Justice Fellowship will give a UST School of Law alumnus the chance to dedicate his or her post-graduate year to bridge-building with community stakeholders and problem-solving in underserved communities. The program has been approved for three years, with one fellow being named each year.

“Beginning in the spring of 2016, one third-year law student will be selected to work alongside Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds to further the important work of our Community Justice Project,” Dean Robert Vischer said. “This is a strong affirmation of the Community Justice Project’s relevance and positive impact on our community.”

One of the school’s 11 legal clinics and part of the university’s Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services, the Community Justice Project primarily works to improve the lives of the African American community in the Twin Cities. Led by Levy-Pounds, the law students and faculty who work in the clinic have engaged in intensive research into practical solutions to longstanding challenges, such as racial disparities in the criminal justice system, policy brutality, and racial disparities in the educational and juvenile justice systems.

“I am honored that the Community Justice Project has been selected to participate in this groundbreaking partnership with 3M,” Levy-Pounds said. “Our Community Justice Fellow will work to advance the cause of justice on a variety of issues that impact communities of color. I anticipate that the fellow will make significant contributions as an attorney and advocate for social change.”

The Community Justice Project is responsible for founding Brotherhood, Inc., a Saint Paul-based non-profit organization aimed at creating pathways out of poverty, gangs and incarceration for young African American men through educational opportunities, social services, legal services and in-house employment. Most recently, the group has leading local efforts to address the strained relationship between the African American community and Minneapolis Police Department, and the racial disparities in the Minneapolis Public Schools.

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