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Recipient announced for the Michigan Auto Law 2018 Law Student Diversity Scholarship

October 4, 2018 by Steven M. Gursten

Meet this year’s winner, Georgetown Law student Toni Deane, and learn how she is working to change recruitment practices within Greek Life

Michigan Auto Law 2018 Law Student Diversity Scholarship winner Toni Deane

On behalf of all of the attorneys and professional staff at Michigan Auto Law, I’d like to offer congratulations to Toni Deane, the winner of the Michigan Auto Law 2018 Law Student Diversity Scholarship!

Toni is a first-year law student at Georgetown Law School in Washington D.C. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in political science.

We chose Toni because we were moved not only by her life story, but also by her courageous (and successful) efforts in college to create the G.U.I.D.E. organization whose mission was to:

“[U]nite the four Greek Councils at the University of Florida in order to engage in an open dialogue that acknowledges, addresses and overcomes stereotypes, implicit biases, and discusses intersectionality with the ultimate goal of fostering inclusive change on campus and among Greek Organizations.”

We’re proud to be able to award this Diversity Scholarship to Toni as we know it will help her accomplish the many great things she aspires to:

“My life experiences and revelations have fueled a desire to fight for the rights of all minority groups. I know my understanding the importance of giving a voice to the voiceless/minorities can create an opportunity for justice and equality. If I had the honor of receiving this scholarship, I would be eternally grateful. I am the first to attend law school in my family and am most humbled to be pursuing my dream profession at my dream law school. Any monetary assistance would set our worries to bay and I hope this committee sees the passion I possess for equity and change, not only on my undergraduate campus, but also for this country.”

Working to change perceptions in the Panhellenic (Greek) Community in college

The child of a mother of White Trinidadian heritage and a father of Black Barbadian ancestry, Toni explained in her essay that her struggle to define her Caribbean ethnicity began in her childhood and persisted through school and into her time at the University of Florida.

As Toni continued to wrestle with issues of racial identity and perceptions at college, she joined a sorority where she witnessed first-hand the urgent need for diversity education within the Greek community. When racism surfaced during the sorority recruitment process, Toni responded by speaking out against it through presentations and personal anecdotes and, ultimately, through her creation of “Greeks United by Inclusion and Diversity Efforts” (G.U.I.D.E.), a council centered on diversity.

Toni explains in her essay what she was striving for:

“My end goal is that undergraduate students will not have to choose what Greek organization they must join based upon the color of their skin or who looks the most like them physically, but rather, which organization meets the qualities and standards they are willing to embrace for the rest of their lives.”

While Toni graduated this past spring, she still remains active in her quest:

“I continue to be invested in working with my chapter’s new Recruitment Chair and President to ensure that the women recruiting this fall will look beyond race and their own implicit biases when talking to Potential New Members and instead know to look at the content of these women’s characters, regardless of the complexion of their skin.”

That kind of thinking was why our attorneys first got together to create our Diversity Scholarship. It is also what makes Toni Deane the perfect recipient for our 2018 Law Student Diversity Scholarship.

Our lawyers wish Toni nothing but the best during her studies at Georgetown Law and in her promising legal career that will follow.

Michigan Auto Law scholarships

Each year, Michigan Auto Law awards a Diversity Scholarship to a law student. The next scholarship deadline is June 1, 2019. For more information on application guidelines and eligibility, visit our Diversity Scholarship webpage.

Michigan Auto Law also offers two other scholarships annually.

In addition to the Law Student Diversity Scholarship, our attorneys contribute to a scholarship for college students who have been seriously injured in a car accident as well as a Distracted Driving Awareness scholarship for high school juniors and seniors. Visit our Scholarship Page to learn more.

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