news release


News Briefs: LGBTQ legal professionals mobilize to ‘Legalize Drag’ :: Bay Area Reporter

  • June 10, 2023

Legal professionals in the LGBTQI+ community will take the stage at Oasis Saturday, April 29, for “Legalize Drag,” a fundraiser for grassroots organizations in Tennessee. The state recently passed a law banning adult-oriented performances that are harmful to minors from taking place on public property and in the presence of those under 18 years of age.

The law also deems “male and female impersonators” adult cabaret performers. The law was supposed to go into effect April 1 but a federal judge has temporarily blocked it, saying it was likely “vague and overly broad” in its restrictions of speech, as Reuters reported.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) also signed legislation banning gender-affirming care for trans youth, as the BAR previously reported.

Given those developments, as well as the over 400 other anti-LGBTQ bills facing legislative action across the country, local drag performers and legal professionals Michael Trung Nguyen and Ari Jones decided to organize and host the fundraiser, a news release stated.

Jones, who identifies as nonbinary, performs in drag as Pop Rox. The release stated that they saw the need to raise funds and showcase legal professionals who also perform in drag as a way to fight back against the legislation. Jones is a director at Berkeley-based Oasis Legal Services, which works with queer asylees and other immigrant survivors of trauma, the release stated.

“The criminalization of drag presents a unique hardship for queer legal professionals and others who have to pass background checks and prove a certain moral standard in order to be licensed,” Jones stated. “The idea that I could lose my law license if I lived in another state simply because I dress a certain way or lip synch to a song is a clear violation of the First Amendment to our Constitution.”

The show will also

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UAPB alumnae end law school

  • July 5, 2022

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff extends congratulations and recognizes four female alumni who finished law school in 2022.

The UAPB alumnae are: Ajia Richardson, Tonisha Cox, Ja’Mecia Laws, and Angel (Thurman) Lockhart, according to a news release.

AJIA RICHARDSON is a Pine Bluff native and a 2022 graduate from Howard University School of Law. Richardson is a 2018 UAPB graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in political science degree. Richardson plans to take the Georgia Bar Exam and use her knowledge accumulated at Howard University to implement equity in the entertainment field, according to the news release. During law school, Richardson interned with Amazon Studios and United Talent Agency (UTA). She also interned with Epps Firm LLC, a boutique business and intellectual property law practice that provides legal advice to creatives and entrepreneurs. Also in law school, Richardson served as a student attorney of the Intellectual Property Trademark Clinic and was a member of the Sports and Entertainment Law Student Association (SELSA). She led as SELSA’s 2022 chair of their annual Center Court Conference. While at UAPB, she interned with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) and was initiated into the Delta Eta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. in the spring of 2016. Richardson was a member of the Lady Lions Women’s basketball team at UAPB.

TONISHA “TONI” COX is from East St. Louis, Ill. and is a 2018 UAPB graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in political science degree. In May 2022, she graduated from the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Cox plans to take the Pennsylvania Bar Exam where she aims to later join the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office as assistant district attorney. Being a lawyer is a dream that she developed at

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