Two Scholarship Opportunities For High Schoolers


The Committee on Diversity in the Legal Profession is spreading the word about two competitions for high schoolers. High School juniors and seniors who will attend college are invited to register for a chance to win a scholarship of up to $5,000 for college and a free three-day, two-night trip to Atlanta. Ga.

  • The first is the Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest. Deadline to submit essays to New Mexico Black Lawyers Association President Aja Brooks at is March 31.
  • The second is the regional Drum Major for Justice Competition, which NMBLA is hosting at the UNM School of Law April 26.

Founded in 1925, the National Bar Association (NBA) is the nation’s oldest and largest association of African American lawyers and judges. Every year the NBA hosts its Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Justice Competition. This advocacy competition is open to high school junior and seniors, and is a great scholarship opportunity. The New Mexico Black Lawyers Association is hosting the regional round of the competition April 26 at the University of New Mexico School of Law.


Submit an essay no longer than 1,000 words, answering the following question:

The Voting Rights Act (Act of 1965) was enacted to address racial discrimination in voting. In June 2013, the United States Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder struck down the coverage formula used in Section 4 of the Act. This section of the Act is a key provision, which includes a formula for defining which jurisdictions have prerequisite rules to voting and had low voter registration or turnout. In such jurisdictions, Section 5 of the Act provides that no change to the voting procedures can take effect until the procedures are approved by the Department of Justice.

If Martin Luther King Jr. were alive, would he advocate to revise Section 4 of the Act to include a new formula for deciding which states and localities warrant federal monitoring based on their histories of discriminatory anti-voting rules?

Please discuss why or why not. (see linked Student Handbook for further specifications)

Important Dates:

  • March 31, 2014: deadline to register via the NBA website: This is also the deadline for essays to be e-mailed to Aja Brooks, President, New Mexico Black Lawyers Association,
  • April 26, 2014: Region X MLK Jr. Drum Major for Justice Regional Competition at the University of New Mexico School of Law. Regional winner will receive a scholarship. Amount to be determined.
  • July 26, 2014 – Aug. 1, 2014: National NBA Competition in Atlanta, Ga. Regional winner will have an opportunity to compete for a national scholarship (up to $5,000) in addition to the regional scholarship.