During our Defend Black Lives event, we honored legendary Black defenders that inspired the creation of BPDA, shared stories of current defenders, and introduced you to the next generation of freedom fighters in the BPDA 2020 Fellows!

The event raised $20,000 for the BPDA Summer Fellowship Program. The 2020 BPDA Summer Fellows shared how the mentorship and financial support they received from the fellowship was integral in their pursuit of a career in public defense.

Claire Davis spoke about how the fellowship impacted her career as a future public defender: It was important to be in a comfortable space where we could be unapologetically Black…we truly got that support all summer. It was an experience that changed my life.

Marquise Findley-Smith explained how the fellowship helped him gain invaluable experience at a public defender office, even when COVID-19 threatened his plans: I was able to be mentored by talented Black attorneys who are passionate about their clients and the communities they serve. Without the summer stipend, it would not have been possible for me to relocate from California to DC.

Michael Mingo shared his story and touched us all deeply on how much our donors are making a difference for future Black defenders: I hope that each and every one of my co-fellows’ stories impacts your decision to give and pour into our future generation of fighters, our future generation of warriors. Give back and let’s flourish together because together we can.