NaTasha Henry, Ivan Bodensteiner, and the Black Law Students Association were honored at Monday’s 23rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration as the 2012 Martin Luther King Award winners.
Henry, associate director of Undergraduate Admission, has been an active supporter of diversity efforts as an adviser and mentor to individual students and diverse multicultural groups. As an undergraduate at Valparaiso University, she was one of the original 10 students to found the annual Peace and Justice Symposium.
She founded MANA (Multicultural Alumni Networking Association), planning annual homecoming brunches for multicultural and first-generation college students. She has co-facilitated GS200: Study Circles on Race Relations, for the past five years. She also helps to coordinate the SMART Scholars Mentoring program, conducting retreats and leadership workships.
Henry is a 2004 graduate of Valparaiso University with an individualized degree, and a 2006 Master of Arts in Liberal Studies graduate.
Bodensteiner, professor of law, has been a strong supporter of cultural diversity at Valparaiso University law School. He has worked to further the civil rights of minorities and has written many scholarly works on the subjects of discrimination, racial equality, and civil liberties.
He has chaired the Mayor’s Human Relations Council, participated in the Valparaiso Diversity Network Association and Diversity Summit Task Force, and presented on topics for the Peace and Social Justice Symposium, MLK Day, and other events on and off campus.
“The spirit of the 14th Amendment is that we are, in fact, all equal, that we should not be judged based on stereotypes ” we should all have an equal opportunity to succeed,” Bodensteiner said in a recent interview.
The Black Law Students Association serves to promote diversity and academic excellence. It sponsors an annual race panel that seeks to provide a forum for discussion of related issues in the community. Also each semester, the BLSA holds an academic discussion featuring a prominent attorney who discusses topics such as race relations, career outlooks, and diversity.
Among other BLSA efforts are Talk to a Lawyer, the multicultural picnic, Black History Month events, an annual 1L dinner, the MLK Mock Congressional Debate, philanthropic activities, and voter registration.
For more information and to watch video interviews of Henry and Bodensteiner, visit http://www.valpo.edu/mlk/awardwinners/index.php.