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Hilda Frimpong will be the first black student to serve as editor-in-chief of the Syracuse Law Review.
Frimpong, a sophomore law student at Syracuse University, will take on the position alongside a mostly female editorial team for the 2021-22 academic year. She hopes her team will bring a fresh perspective on the release that provides a forum for legal research and writing.
"Of course, our backgrounds and life experiences shape the way we approach problems, whether we are aware of them or not," said Frimpong. "I plan to approach this position by being my authentic self, and that authentic self has many layers."
Frimpong hopes to maintain the Review's status as a credible source of law for practicing lawyers and academics, and to promote inclusivity within the organization.
Frimpong also aims to help students better understand the role of publication so that they can ultimately make a contribution. Her efforts include working with other student organizations, hosting events together, and working with different communities, she said.
Katy Morris, who will serve as Editor of Forms and Accuracies in Legal Review next year, said diversity is critical to legal publications. At a time when the country is counting on its racial history, she said being part of a progress brought "pride and joy".
I see this as a step toward a future where diversity and representation are a given and Katy Morris, editor for in-depth accuracy at The Syracuse Law Review, is not to be noted
"Everyone who lives here is subject to our laws, and yet we have historically marginalized and silenced the perspectives of the populations most vulnerable to those laws," said Morris. "Through leadership that represents our entire society, we can use the magazine to make decisions that contribute to its growth and the equitable development of the law."
Staff also plan to build on last year's edition, said Leita Powers, who will be the editor-in-chief for the next year. Powers feels obliged to diversify the content of the publication, especially given the fact that the editorial staff consists almost entirely of women.
"I don't necessarily see it as a pressure, but more as an opportunity," said Morris. "I see this as a step towards a future in which diversity and representation are a given and not remarkable."
For Frimpong, the election as editor-in-chief during Black History Month made the moment even more special. She has pondered the contributions, courage, and perseverance of people like William Herbert Johnson, who became the first black to graduate from Syracuse in 1903 but was denied admission to the New York State Bar Association due to ongoing racial discrimination in the profession.
Frimpong said she remembered when the club posthumously accepted Johnson in 2019, her first year in Syracuse. That moment gave her cause for hope.
"While there is still much to be done, we have come a long way to see diversity and inclusion and I am honored to be a part of it," said Frimpong.
Posted on February 28, 2021 at 10:51 pm