Quinnipiac's Black Law Students Association honors Vanessa Avery with Thurgood Marshall Award; Scot X. Esdaile receives Community Service Award

March 24, 2023

Esdaile and Avery pose smiling with their glass awards

Vanessa Avery, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, received the Quinnipiac Black Law Students Association's Thurgood Marshall Award on March 21.

In addition, Scot X. Esdaile, a member of the NAACP national board of directors and president of the Connecticut State Conference, received the Community Service Award.

“Justice Thurgood Marshall was the epitome of an advocate for social and racial justice,” said Fontaine Chambers, a third-year law student and president of QU’s Black Law Students Association. “He was, in the words of John Lewis, ‘good trouble,’ as he worked to dismantle systematic and oppressive laws targeting Black people in the United States. The legal profession was not designed to uplift people who look like me; however, the late Justice Marshall's representation before and behind the bench showcased that we belong and deserve to be in all spaces.

“Both U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut Vanessa Avery and Connecticut NAACP President Scot Esdaile represent being changemakers who uphold the vision and mission of the late Justice Marshall,” Chambers continued. “Thus, it is a privilege to honor these awardees for their service.”

In its 34th year, the Thurgood Marshall Award is given in honor of the first African American to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Marshall epitomized individual commitment, in word and action, to civil rights. Each year, Quinnipiac's BLSA recognizes an outstanding person in law, education or politics who exemplifies Marshall's dedication to improving society through the advancement of civil rights, civil liberties and human rights.

Avery was sworn in as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut on May 9, 2022.  President Joe Biden nominated Avery on Jan. 26, 2022, and the U.S. Senate confirmed her nomination on April 27, 2022.

Prior to her appointment as U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Avery served as the Associate Attorney General and Chief of the Division of Enforcement and Public Protection at the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General.

A New Haven native who attended New Haven Public Schools, Avery is a graduate of Yale University and the Georgetown University Law Center. She is the 54th U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, an office that was established in 1789.

Esdaile received the 2022 NAACP Activist of the Year Award at the 53rd NAACP Image Awards for his outstanding achievements in promoting social justice and organizing criminal justice reform initiatives throughout the State of Connecticut and across the nation.

He was born and raised in New Haven and developed his passion for public service and civil rights at an early age.

Esdaile is a graduate of Hamden High School, and attended Virginia State University, majoring in Public Administration. He serves as the first African American chairman of the state Boxing Commission and recently retired from the New Haven Board of Education after serving for 26 years working towards redirecting high-risk youth.

Stay in the Loop

Sign Up Now