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Student receives MLK Scholarship for essay on nonviolent direct action

Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea, scholarship winner Grace Allen and scholarship committee chair Ben Alba.
Third-year law student Grace Allen is the recipient of the DePaul University College of Law 2016 Dr. Martin Luther King Scholarship. She received $2,000 for her winning essay.

The essay contest was held in coordination with the College of Law's annual MLK Programming. This year’s contest prompt was the Martin Luther King Jr. quote, We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.” 

Allen’s essay drew from the words of civil rights activists and protest lyrics to modern mantras of social activists in an effort to highlight the legacy of nonviolent direct action: ​ 
“​Though the mode of the movement is evolving, the driving force behind the movement remains the same, a burning desire for substantial change. [...] The key to a successful civil rights movement is the passing of the torch from the older generation to the younger generation. One must pass on to others that which they gained from their predecessors. This ensures that the legacy will continue to grow stronger from generation to generation. Modern day activists must begin to look to the past to gain inspiration and guidance as to how previous methods and theories can be applied to current movements. It is through conducting a close reading of past trials and triumphs that one can learn the pathway to success in the future. The struggles currently faced by African-American communities were foreshadowed by events that occurred in the past. As young activists begin to study the methods and theories behind the movements and protests conducted in the 1960s -1980s they will be better able to understand the direction in which the current movement must be steered.

In addition to her essay, Allen was chosen for her involvement with the College of Law. Allen is the former president of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), a Dean’s Scholarship recipient and member of the BLSA mock trial team. She has participated in DePaul’s international moot court team and is a member of Phi Alpha Delta fraternity.

In fall 2015, Allen was one of seven law students selected to work in the advanced mediation clinic primarily focusing on legal issues relating to real estate. The following year, she was one of eight law students selected to work in the criminal appeals clinic under the supervision of the Office of the Illinois State Appellate Defender.​

The MLK Scholarship committee consisted of Student Advising & Bar Passage​ Director of Academic Support Ben Alba, Director of Student Affairs & Diversity​ Lubna El-Gendi, Center for Public Intere​st Law​ Executive Director Shaye Loughlin and Associate Dean for Information Technology and Library Services Allen Moye.