This month, STU Law will feature some of our amazing students, faculty, and staff for #BlackHistoryMonth. Meet St. Thomas University College of Law student PaulMarie E. Bobb (’21)!
PaulMarie E. Bobb, 3L
St. Thomas University College of Law, Class of 2021
Ms. Bobb was raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. As a student at St. Thomas University College of Law, she is involved in various organizations and leadership positions on campus. “As an unconventional student, being a member of the clubs and organizations at St. Thomas allows me to stay connected,” says Ms. Bobb. She’s a member of the St. Thomas Journal of Complex Litigation, Black Law Student Association, Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law, Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, Tort Law Society, Entertainment and Sports Law Society, Caribbean Law Students Association, Intellectual Property Cyber Law Society, and Public Interest Law Society.
What does Black excellence mean to you? The phrase “Black Excellence” is defined by the Urban Dictionary to be: “Someone that is black and portrays great qualities and abilities that make the black community proud.” For me, it is a term used to celebrate the achievements of black people within the American community. It is our ancestor’s wildest dreams. It is what black people wake up and strive for every day. It is the mindset that mediocrity and complacency are never enough for us. It is a state of mind that allows for us black people to celebrate our achievements. It is a symbol of resiliency, strength, and determination. Black excellence is myself and every other Black person working towards the amelioration of our people.
How do you embody Black excellence? Being of Haitian descent and knowing that I come from the world’s first black-led and independent nation, embodying black excellence is what I strive for every day. My ancestors conquered French colonial control and abolished slavery in the early 19th century and gained their independence in 1804. When I say, “I am my ancestor’s wildest dreams,” it is more than just a hashtag for me. It means that I must go above and beyond to make up for everything my ancestors were deprived of. It means I wake up every day with a determination to effectively utilize the tools given to me to better myself, my family, my community, and my people.
Why do you think it’s important to celebrate Black History Month? I believe that black history should be highlighted and celebrated all year long. Still, this month is important to celebrate because it is a time where all Americans get to learn, know, and understand black history. It is a time when we celebrate black people’s accomplishments, past, present, and inform those who might not have known otherwise.
Do you have someone in the Black community that you look up to? Someone in the black community I look up to is Marie F. Elie – my mother. She is the epitome of strength, resilience, and perseverance. She has devoted her life to empowering her children and encouraging them to reach for the sky. She instilled in me the understanding that I need to continue uplifting myself and those around me to reach heights we never thought possible. Her guidance and influence have allowed me to achieve the success that I have thus far. Thanks to her contributions to my life, I am my ancestor’s wildest dreams!
According to the ABA, only 5% of lawyers are African American. What does being a black lawyer mean to you? In 2018, I took a leap of faith and applied (and was admitted) to Law School. Now in 2021, I am the first in my family to go to law school. In a few months, I will be the first to receive a law degree, and God willing, I will become the first in my family to be an attorney. Being a black lawyer is everything to me. Coming from a country where women and education were never in the same sentence, being an attorney as a black Haitian-American woman is the definition of progress and growth. While 5% is low, I am optimistic that those numbers will increase sooner than later. The same way a path was paved for us to succeed, it’s imperative that we do the same for the generation of future lawyers coming behind us.
Anything else you’d like to add? To all the black students and potential black students of St. Thomas University College of Law, this profession needs more of us! Go for it!