Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds Honored with Saint Paul Foundation Facing Race Ambassador Award


Article University of St. Thomas’ Helen Clarke Ebert  Photograph by Mark Brown

Posted on March 16, 2015

University of St. Thomas School of Law Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds is a 2015 recipient of the Saint Paul Foundation Facing Race Ambassador Award, which honors Minnesota’s anti-racism activists.

Levy-Pounds, who serves as a civil rights attorney, law professor and founding director of the award-winning Community Justice Project at UST School of Law, also was recognized this year as Attorney of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer and a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree. She will be recognized with the Facing Race Ambassador Award on April 28 during an awards ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Saint Paul-Riverfront.

(Full Article)

Hear Nekima Levy-Pounds discuss Black Lives Matter protest case at Mall of America on TPT’s Almanac

Target cuts, MOA Protest case, former lawmakers panel
Aired: 03/13/201501:01:18Rating: TV-PG
Target job cuts, role of party chairs at the legislature, Minnesota History Center Hmong exhibit, Black Lives Matter protest case at Mall of America, former lawmakers panel

Nekima Levy-Pounds on race relations in Minnesota Issues

University of St. Thomas law professor Nekima Levy-Pounds called on racial-justice advocates in St. Paul to keep raising awareness about Minnesota’s racial disparities at a Feb. 18, 2015, event. Laura Yuen | MPR News

You’re a law professor and mother. Do you experience this disparity firsthand?

I attended a business circle event at the Guthrie, and that event consisted of Mayor Betsy Hodges giving a presentation on equity in the city. And so prior to the event, there was a reception. I was at that reception, I sat in the corner, away from most people. I had a lot of people come over to that area. Well, several of the people, maybe three or four were African-American. That gave me the sense that there was racial diversity in the room. But once we moved into the auditorium, and I looked around, I realized that those three or four African-Americans who had approached me were the only other people of color in the room, besides myself. I could not believe it, given the conversation was about equity. I said how can we dare have a conversation about racial equity in the city of Minneapolis, and there are four or five people of color in the room.

‘Miracle of Minneapolis’ article sparks outcry over MN’s racial disparities

Lindsey Seavert, KARE 9:06 p.m. EST February 18, 2015


Law Professor and Civil-Rights Attorney Nekima Levy-Pounds Invites Teachers and Students Around The Nation To Join A Candid Conversation on Race, Education, Policing and Cutting-Edge Topics on February 20th in honor of Black History Month



February 9, 2015

OMGMS Media Contact: Monique Linder 612.787.8705

Nekima Levy-Pounds Media Contact: Gabriela Linder 702.885.8708

#RealTalkLIVE . . . Black History Month Edition presented by YOUTHPRISE

Streaming Live from the iHeartRadio Performance Theatre in St. Louis Park, MN

February 20th from 1pm – 2pm CST

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Award-winning Law Professor and Civil Rights Attorney Nekima Levy-Pounds invites teachers and students from around the nation to tune-in to a live stream of #RealTalk LIVE . . . Black History Month Edition on Friday, February 20th, from 1pm – 2pm Central Standard Time.

This very special edition of #RealTalkLive presented by YOUTHPRISE will feature discussion on race, education, policing, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement hosted by social and criminal justice expert and law school professor, Nekima Levy-Pounds.

“It is clear that our nation has a long way to go in addressing long-standing systemic challenges surrounding race relations. A big part of moving us forward is to be able to engage in candid conversations about difficult subject matter, such as race. I will host dozens of young people from diverse backgrounds, dedicated teachers, and other professionals, to have open, honest dialogue about important race issues that are plaguing our society.” ~Nekima Levy-Pounds, Esq.

There are dozens of high school students and their teachers registered to take part in the audience at the live broadcast. Teachers and school administrators from around the nation are encouraged to take part in the discussion by registering your school and submitting questions to Professor Levy-Pounds prior to the live show. Register your school at:

 #RealTalk LIVE Black History Month Edition 2.20.15


Everyone is invited to join the LIVE Stream, LIVE Tweeting and LIVE conversation on February 20th from 1pm – 2pm CST. Use hashtag #RealTalkBHM to join the live tweeting.

This is an OMG Media production.  All rights reserved.


About Nekima Levy-Pounds ( Twitter: @nvlevy

Nekima Levy-Pounds is an award-winning professor of law and founding Director of the Community Justice Project, a civil rights legal clinic, at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, civil rights attorney, legal scholar, media personality, blogger, and nationally recognized expert on issues at the intersections of race, public policy, economic justice, public education, juvenile justice, and the criminal justice system. As host of her weekly podcast, #RealTalk with Nekima Levy-Pounds, she goes straight to the heart of the issues. #RealTalk is available on iTunes and iHeartRadio’s podcast network at Twin Cities News Talk.

In 2015, she was named one of 40 Under 40 by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. In 2014, she was named a Minnesota Attorney of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer; and was named one of 50 under 50 most influential law professors of color in the country by Lawyers of Color Magazine. She has a heart for the people and works toward achieving justice for those whose voices are often unheard within society.

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FCC chairman pushes far-reaching plan to regulate Internet like phone service

Find out what Nekima Levy-Pounds had to say about “net neutrality” on Fox 9 today

Posted: Feb 04, 2015 8:20 PM CST Updated: Feb 04, 2015 8:20 PM CST
video report by Jonathan Choe



1/28/2015 Protecting our black sons . . . A mother’s perspective on race, police abuse and effecting change

Nekima3by Nekima Levy-Pounds
As a mother of two black sons, ages 10 and 12, I have been especially impacted by national news coverage of shootings of unarmed black men and boys by law enforcement officers. The series of high-profile shootings has caused me to grapple with the issue of whether my own sons could ever be victims in similar circumstances. It is a haunting, disturbing feeling to say the least.

The lawyer in me wants to rationalize away any thoughts that my sons could be killed, but the mother in me, the protector in me, knows that my own sons are just as much at risk as the black sons of any mother in the United States.

I came face to face with this painful realization just a few weeks ago when I attended the National March to End Police Brutality in Washington, D.C. At the March, I heard from the mothers of unarmed black men and boys who had been killed in recent months and years, such as Amadou Diallo, Mike Brown, John Crawford, Eric Garner, and Trayvon Martin. There was so much pain and heartache conveyed through their messages.

I was also struck by the heartfelt words of the mother of Tamir Rice, a black boy just 12 years old who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ohio because he was holding an air gun. No questions were asked of Tamir. He was shot twice in the abdomen within two seconds of officers exiting their vehicle. It’s still hard to process how that could have happened and why a mother had to bury her young son.
Listening to Tamir’s mother reminded me of just how fragile life can be for black boys in America and how far we still have t
nvlevy_1421444504_IMG_20141220_145816o go in order to reconcile race relations in this country.

Sadly, black boys are often perceived as being threatening and dangerous, and their innocence becomes lost in the process. This can make them targets in their interactions with police, and it impacts how they are treated within mainstream society and by institutions. Misperceptions and racial stereotyping of black boys may also impact whether we are able to have empathy for them when they experience harm, oppression or even death.
And yet, how many of us actually take time out from our daily schedules to critically reflect upon these issues and to check our hearts concerning these matters?

As women, we have an opportunity to begin to use our voices when we see racial injustices occurring and to demand the changes we desire to see in our world. We can start by empathizing with victims of police violence and their families and internalizing their stories.

Next, we can identify problems and patterns within systems by asking questions of internal and external stakeholders. We should be asking key questions such as: What type of cultural competency training do officers receive? What systems of accountability are in place to ensure equitable outcomes in officer-involved shootings? When excessive force complaints are brought forward, how are they handled and how is success measured? What steps are being taken to diversify our police forces?

As we gather information, we can then begin to use our influence to speak to lawmakers and policymakers about the concerns we have identified and the changes we believe are needed. This takes time, effort, patience and tenacity, and it most certainly will not be easy. But we must rise to the occasion if we desire to dismantle oppressive systems and policies for the betterment of all people, but particularly the most vulnerable.

Finally, we can work within our homes, churches, institutions and social clubs to educate others about these issues and to encourage those in our circles to take a vested interest in changing things for the better.

Nekima Levy-Pounds is a professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law and director of the Community Justice Project. Follow her on Twitter: @nvlevy

1/19/15 Statement from Black Lives Matter Minneapolis about direct action


Published on Jan 19, 2015

Silent Die-IN at Governor Dayton’s MLK Event . . .#SilentNoMore

Minneapolis, MN- “Today we performed a direct action at the State of Minnesota Governor’s Council on MLK Day Celebration in a silent protest to demand the leadership of the state take immediate action to institute meaningful, systemic policy solutions to address the worst racial disparities in the country. These racial disparities exist in every indicator of standards of living in our state including housing, employment, education, health, and policing. Every year Governor Dayton speaks on the legacy of Dr. King, yet has refused to comment on the racial inequities that continue to tear communities of color apart. His silence will leave a black mark on his legacy and only serves to trivialize the legacy of Dr. King. We take action today with these words from Dr. King echoing in our hearts: “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was ‘well timed’ in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never’. We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.” – MLK Letter From Birmingham Jail Today, we reclaim his legacy to fight for justice and equity for Black lives in our state and the country we call home. The message, “Black lives matter”, is important and needs to be expressed now more than ever. Every 28 hours police or vigilantes kill a black person in the United States and it is unacceptable.”

Click here to see the list of demands that Black Lives Matter puts forth to empower and protect our communities.


1/23/15 MSP/St. Paul 40 Under 40 honorees


MLK12-600x330January 23, 2015

Minneapolis, MN – Nekima Levy-Pounds was honored today by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal on their 40 under 40 list.

An incerpt from the article written by Mark Reilly, Managing Edition of MSP/St. Paul Business Journal. . . “Leaders at 3M Co., Minnesota Public Radio and the St. Paul City Council are among the final group of honorees in this year’s Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal 40 Under 40 honorees.  

The awards, which recognize the region’s top young business and community newsmakers, have been published by the Business Journal for more than 20 years. We had a record number of nominations this year, and many worthy candidates weren’t selected. But I think you’ll agree that our honorees this year, each and every one, have already done great things in their careers, and are poised for even greater things in the years ahead.” (Full Article)

1/22/15 For civil rights attorney, kudos and criminal charges

By: Mike Mosedale, Minnesota Lawyer Magazine

January 22, 2015 MLK12-600x330

With more than 16,000 tweets under her belt, a blog at the Star Tribune, frequent appearances in other Twin Cities print media and a freshly launched podcast of her own, attorney Nekima Levy-Pounds has established herself in recent years as one of Minnesota’s most visible and vocal civil rights advocates. Both an activist and an academic, Levy-Pounds, a law professor at the University of St Thomas Law School and director of the Community Justice Project, devotes most of her energy to shining a light on the persistent disparities that are a fact of life for many black Minnesotans. If there is a public policy discussion involving race in Minnesota, it’s a good bet Levy-Pounds, 38, will be on hand whether the dialogue involves education or crime or health outcomes or economics. (Full Article)