Social Justice Institute Announces 2020-2021 Fellowship Program; Wright Lindsey Jennings Commits to 2-Year Collaboration


The Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College (SJI) has announced a new partner for its Undergraduate Fellowship program. Wright Lindsey Jennings (WLJ), a premier law firm based in Little Rock, has pledged a two-year collaborative commitment to underwrite the Fellowship program.

Now in its third cohort, the Social Justice Fellows program offers Philander Smith College students the unique opportunity to become deeply engaged in advocacy and leadership activities. Through immersive social justice education, public policy training and personal development, Fellows are expected to gain firsthand experience in the steps and processes to policy reform and the foundation needed to build equitable systems in communities.

“We are excited to have the support of Wright Lindsey Jennings as this program moves forward,” said SJI Executive Director Tamika Edwards, J.D. “True social justice is rooted in policy reform and addresses laws that serve as a breeding ground for inequality in our communities. Through this collaboration, not only will Wright Lindsey Jennings provide program funding, but we will also work hand-in-hand to identify educational opportunities to help our students understand the critical role the legal system plays in justice-oriented work.”

Wright Lindsey Jennings has a longstanding commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity within the practice of law and within the greater community. The firm has also demonstrated a commitment to civil liberties throughout its 120-year history through the support of causes such as free speech, prisoners’ rights, equality in public education and diversity in the legal profession. WLJ provides support to missions and organizations dedicated to improving the imbalance in legal representation and access to justice and policymaking. Through firm initiatives like WLJ Tech Law, they also work with community partners to improve economic opportunities for entrepreneurs of color in the tech and startup space.

“This collaboration is just one step in our fight against racism and systemic inequality,” said Managing Partner Steve Lancaster. “In 1957, we publicly denounced segregation at Little Rock Central High School and today, more than 50 years later, the moment is no less critical. We know that there is work to do and we will continue to listen and stand with those working to promote equity and equality.”

Applications for the 2020-2021 Social Justice Fellowship are open now to Philander Smith College students with a minimum of thirty (30) credit hours. To learn more about the Social Justice Institute please visit rethinksocialjustice.org.

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About Philander Smith College

Founded in 1877, Philander Smith College is a small, privately supported, historically Black, four-year liberal arts institution related to the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. The College’s mission is to graduate academically accomplished students, grounded as advocates for social justice, determined to change the world for the better. Philander Smith College, the only United Negro College Fund (UNCF) member institution in Arkansas, strives to provide a quality education for all regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin or ethnic background. For more information, visit www.philander.edu.

About The Social Justice Institute

Established in 2007, the Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College Institute has been undergoing an extensive re-imagining which resulted in its re-launch in 2017. An emerging resource for advocates, policy makers, students and community members who are dedicated to advancing the ideals of a more just and equitable society, the Institute is focused toward growing its influence as a local, regional and national hub for training, research, convening and serving as a support center and hub. For more information visit www.rethinksocialjustice.org.

About Wright Lindsey Jennings

Established in 1900, Wright Lindsey Jennings is one of the premier law firms in Arkansas and the region, supporting businesses across a full range of litigation, corporate and transactional service areas. Many Wright Lindsey Jennings attorneys are consistently recognized by their peers as among the best in their areas of practice. The firm’s attorneys are also committed to excellence beyond the practice of law – serving and leading in local, regional and national professional and community organizations. Wright Lindsey Jennings has been recognized as one of the “Best Places to Work” in Arkansas in 2018 and 2019, and also received the 2020 Olivia Farrell Gender Equity Leadership Award. Today, Wright Lindsey Jennings has 69 attorneys practicing in Little Rock and Rogers. Visit www.WLJ.com to learn more.