Amelia Persaud 3L was named the 2019 Chapter President of the Year by the Northeast Region of the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) on January 26. Persaud accepted her award at NBLSA’s regional gala—part of its regional convention events—in Nashua, New Hampshire.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Persaud earned her B.A. in political science and M.S. in criminal justice from Molloy College. At NYLS, she affiliated with the Center for Business and Financial Law. She is the Competition Chair of NYLS Trial Competition team and President of NYLS’s Equal Rights Association chapter.
Persaud joined BLSA as a 1L in 2016. She vividly remembers the first time she met a member from NYLS’s BLSA chapter. She was heading to the locker room after receiving critical feedback on an assignment. Convinced she was going to fail law school, Persaud was visibly distressed. A student in the BLSA office saw her, and asked if she wanted to chat.
“It was that conversation that helped me succeed to this point—it was everything,” says Persaud. “The student sat down with me, talked me through the class, and helped me understand the material. From there, I found a home. I felt really lucky.”
During her 2L year, she became the BLSA Mentor/Mentee Chair. That leadership role enabled her to meet and get to know everyone in the association. In Persaud’s words, her “family kept getting larger and larger.”
“That’s what BLSA really is; it’s a family on campus—a place you can go to for academic help, for emotional support, to have a good time—anything. You can really be yourself,” she says.
The mission of NBLSA is to increase the number of culturally responsible Black and minority attorneys who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community. The northeastern region is comprised of chapters in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey (Northern), New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Persaud largely credits her success as a BLSA chapter president to the support of the Black lawyer community, from the New York Women’s Bar Association, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, PALS (Practicing Attorney Law Students), and NYLS alumni in particular.
“Our alumni have been my backbone when it comes to getting this position and staying in it,” she says. “I always go to them if I have any questions about funding, putting teams together, or attending conferences. They are always in my corner.”