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January 27, 2022

Oakland, California, youth law academy to receive ABA award for diversity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2022 — The Youth Law Academy Centro Legal de la Raza in Oakland, California, has been selected as the recipient of the 2022 Alexander Award for excellence in pipeline diversity, presented by the American Bar Association Council for Diversity in the Educational Pipeline. The award will be presented at the Joint Reception: Spirit of Excellence Honorees/Alexander Award Presentation on Wednesday, Feb. 9, from 5-6 p.m. CST during the ABA Virtual Midyear Meeting.

The award recognizes an individual or organization that has demonstrated exemplary leadership and success in educational pipeline work. It is named after the life and legacy of two legal trailblazers — Raymond Pace Alexander and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander. Raymond was the first Black graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and first Black judge on the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia. His wife, Sadie, was the first Black woman to receive a Ph.D. in the United States and the first Black woman to receive a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

The Youth Law Academy (YLA) — launched in 2005 by Centro Legal de la Raza, a nonprofit legal services organization founded in 1969 — is a three-year program for Oakland high school students designed to build confidence and understanding of the path to college. YLA recognizes the need for more diversity in the legal profession and ultimately hopes to inspire students to seek a career in the law. In a typical year, YLA serves 36 high school students and 40 college students. Overall, the YLA is 85% Latina/o, 10% African American and 5% multiracial or other. The gender breakdown is 70% female and 30% male. Nearly 90% of the students will be the first in their family to enroll in college and 90% are from a low-income household.

YLA is one of the few programs in the country that provides support on the law-school career pipeline from high school through college. Not only are students given SAT prep in high school, but they are given the opportunity for LSAT prep in college as well as access to internships and work-placement assistance.

The awards ceremony is open to members of the press, but registration is required. For media registration, please contact Marc Davis at [email protected].

The mission of the ABA Council for Diversity in the Educational Pipeline (Pipeline Council) is to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in the educational pipeline to the legal profession.

The ABA is largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.