Areva Martin Continues to Advocate for Those with Special Needs and Those Facing Discrimination and Injustice

Areva Martin

NNPA Newswire/BlackPressUSA
By Stacy M. Brown

Areva Martin
After attending the “challenging and predominately white” University of Chicago, Areva Martin went to Harvard Law School and ultimately began a career in corporate law. After just one year, she opened her own firm.

Areva Martin grew up in North St. Louis, Missouri, and she said she intuitively knew that something was different about her neighborhood.

“St. Louis is one of the most segregated cities in the nation,” Martin told National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.

The conversation took place inside the NNPA’s state-of-the-art television studio in Washington where Chavis films the PBS-TV show, The Chavis Chronicles.

“When I saw folks who lived on the other side of town, their homes were bigger than a city block. They had massive amounts of wealth. I didn’t have the words, but I knew something wasn’t right about the disparity.”

As her bio states, Martin is passionate, outspoken, and insightful.

Not many can boast a resume like Martin’s.

Martin has appeared on just about every platform available as a producer, content creator, commentator, and talk show host.

Growing up, she desired to attend law school.

After attending the “challenging and predominately white” University of Chicago, Martin went to Harvard Law School and ultimately began a career in corporate law.

After just one year, she opened her own firm.

“I’ve not worked for anyone since then,” she stated. Instead, Martin began representing clients in high-stakes litigation, including discrimination and police brutality cases.

She pointed to the Bruce family in California, who formally received the deed to two parcels of coastal land from county officials in Manhattan Beach in July.

That unfolded more than 90 years after their ancestors — and the original owners (who were Black) — had the land taken from them for racially-motivated reasons.

“The community as a whole has suffered like the Bruce family,” Martin offered. “That’s restorative justice. A lot of people think of it as reparations, but it means an injustice was done to someone. So, we have an obligation morally and legally to make them whole.”

She said there are many more cases like the Bruce family, including some she’s working on currently.

Martin said discrimination remains a hurdle for many, including her two daughters, who attend law school at Columbia.

“They worked this summer at a large firm in New York and had a very similar job that I had,” Martin recounted. “The number of African Americans at these firms today is less than or the same as when I was a first-year law student at Harvard. One of my daughters worked at a firm that hired its first diversity and inclusion officer. At the firm, they showed a videotaped orientation that had all white lawyers and other people. A few African Americans had to go and suggest they consider getting a new video. It’s outdated, and that’s appalling to me.”

Martin also laments the regression seen in the legal and medical professions. “That is a profession starving for Black and Brown students,” Martin stated.

With a son on the autism spectrum, Martin said she’d learned resilience from him.

“Despite his peers ostracizing him and the struggles with things we take for granted, he never complains,” Martin said.

As proactive in her son’s life as any mother would desire, Martin founded the Special Needs Network to help families find resources for autism.

She said the network also helps to build valuable connections.

“One way we have accomplished this is through our community health fair and carnival each year for those with special needs and their siblings,” Martin remarked.

“The kids do arts and crafts, and there are games they play.

“I tell parents to find your village. This is not a journey that parents should undertake on their own,” Martin insisted.

“There is no glory in going at it alone. Seek help from family members, friends, and other parents to help with tasks from housework to medical appointments. Also, be proactive. Learn as much as possible about autism and the resources you can use to help your child.”

The first official portrait of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson

Ketanji Brown Jackson
Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson
Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson

By BOTWC Staff

The first official portrait of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson has been released just one day after she was confirmed to the Supreme Court as the first Black woman to ever sit on the highest court in the land

According to Ebony magazine, Lelanie Foster is the photographer behind Justice Jackson’s official first photo, sharing that she received the once in lifetime opportunity by way of her agent. In an exclusive interview with the magazine, Foster shared: 

“I was so ecstatic, floored, and shocked that I was even asked to capture Justice Brown Jackson. Especially because this came after me having just photographed the young Black women attending Harvard Law School, which is her alma mater. So, it is a very full circle moment…” 

The Bronx native also said she was honored to photograph this historic portrait, calling Justice Jackson’s confirmation “empowering.”

“For me, it’s just incredibly empowering. Anytime we see a Black woman, in front and in these kinds of situations, it becomes incredibly affirming. For us to see them recognized, celebrated and honored is beautiful. For me to be just a piece of that and to have spent that time with Justice Brown Jackson in this moment that celebrates her is so special. I feel like I, too, am seen and heard in this way for such a positive reason. It makes me reflect on how important this is for all Black women to see these moments exist. It’s encouraging,” said Foster. 

Jackson is photographed in a Black dress and blazer combo, sheer Black stockings and heels as she gazes off in the distance. Her signature glasses are in place along with a simple necklace and rings on both hands. The Queen & Slim photographer took the photos of Jackson in the White House. Propped behind the new Justice is a black backdrop.

The photo has already been shared on Instagram by Oprah and on Beyonce’s official website. Winfrey shared an excerpt from Mari Evans poem “I Am a Black Woman,” in the caption, saying the poem properly captured the essence of this defining moment. 

“I’m feeling great renewal today for the grit and grace of our new Supreme Court Justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson,” wrote Winfrey. 

Congratulations again, Justice Jackson! Because of you, we can!

Photo Courtesy of LeLanie Foster/The White House

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