Class of 2020 graduate Ra’Mon Jones was published in the July 2020 issue of the Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal. His article, “What The Hair: Employment Discrimination Against Black People Based on Hairstyles”, asserts that employment discrimination against Black people based on natural hairstyles and hair texture is a form of racial discrimination banned by the Civil Rights Act (Title VII). His article provides a provocative discussion on how negative perceptions of Black natural hair adversely affect Black employment opportunities, challenges the reasonableness of the mutable characteristics loophole that courts have imposed under Title VII to uphold this form of employment discrimination, modern professionalism, and potential solutions from legislative and business standpoints to eradicate this issue.
During his time in law school, Ra’Mon was an active and involved student. He served as president of the Black Law Students Association from 2018-2019, treasurer of the Student Bar Association from 2019-2020, and he participated in the NIU Law study abroad program in Agen, France. He also gained valuable legal experience in the NIU Law Health Advocacy Clinic where he worked with medical professionals and social workers to provide free legal, medical and social services to clients with limited resources from across the region.
Ra’Mon received the Embracing Diversity Scholarship Award for 2019-2020 and was responsible for creating, managing, and overseeing a series of talks and community conversations addressing issues of socio-economic diversity. He organized several discussion series on the topics of race and racial prejudice in higher learning, challenges regarding diversity in the legal workplace, and on the lack of understanding and appreciation of ethnic and cultural diversity in America.
He also received the 2020 NIU Law Alumni Council Prize for his essay on commitment and the law and the 2020 Thurgood Marshall Award which is given by the Dean and the Faculty to the graduating student whose educational performance, extracurricular activities, or community service best epitomize Justice Marshall’s deep understanding and commitment to equal justice under law, their dedication to the rule of law in a just society, and their use of the law as an instrument of social change.
Following the bar exam, Ra’Mon intends to practice compliance law or work in some area of regulatory compliance. Ultimately, he desires to transition into policy work and community development. He plans to help improve underserved and underrepresented communities by implementing legislative and economic solutions that promote equitable access to justice, wealth, and other resources within such communities.