Meet Nekima

Rev. Dr. Nekima Levy-Pounds

Rev. Dr. Nekima Levy-Pounds is a civil rights attorney, freedom fighter, legal scholar, 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. She is the author of several articles and essays focused on racial justice, poverty, incarceration, and the War on Drugs. Her work has been featured in The Associated Press, The Crisis Magazine, Huffington Post, and the Star Tribune, to name a few. She has appeared on national news outlets such as CNN, PBS, Al Jazeera America, News One, and HuffPost Live.

Currently, she is co-owner and co-founder of Black Pearl, LLC, a multi-faceted company that provides business consulting, talent management, and media management services. In 2016, she received the Distinguished Service Award from the Governor’s Commission on Martin Luther King Day. 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 recognized as one of “50 Under 50 Most Influential Law Professors of Color in the Country” by Lawyers of Color Magazine. She formerly served as a law professor at the University of St. Thomas Law School for thirteen years, as president of the Minneapolis NAACP, and as an advisor to Black Lives Matter Minneapolis. Most recently, she announced her candidacy for Mayor of the city of Minneapolis.

Rev. Dr. Levy-Pounds has received numerous awards and honors including:

  • Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal 2015 40 under 40 Honoree
  • Minnesota Lawyer, honored as Attorney of the Year 2014
  • Hennepin County Bar Association (Individual Lawyer) Diversity Award Winner 2014
  • Lawyers of Color Magazine: 50 Under 50 Professors of Color Making an Impact 2014
  • Faculty Member of the Year Award, Black Law Students Association 2014
  • Profile in Courage Award, Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers 2012
  • Inaugural Recipient of Launa Q. Newman Community Justice Award, Minnesota Spokesman Recorder 2012
  • Named One of Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans by the Minnesota Jaycees 2011
  • Elected into the American Bar Foundation Fellows (honorary society of lawyers and judges)
  • American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Shanara M. Gilbert Award, Emerging Clinician of the Year 2011
  • Outstanding Faculty Service Learning Award, University of St. Thomas 2011
  • GP/Solo American Bar Association, “Breaking Barriers Award,” 2008
  • Kay Pranis Restorative Practices Award, Dispute Resolution Center 2008
  • Dean’s Award for Outstanding Law Teacher of the Year 2008
  • Diversity Leadership in Teaching & Research Award, UST 2008
  • Minnesota Justice Foundation, Law School Professor Award 2007
  • UST Law “Living the Mission Award”- Excellence in Public Service, 2006
  • BLSA Award for Excellence in Community Service 2005