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Remembering Marquita Christy, former LSD board member

Marquita Christy

The Law Student Division is saddened to learn of the passing of Marquita Christy, a former circuit governor and member of the Law Student Division Board of Governors from 2015 to 2017. Marquita was a student at Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, La.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, Dec. 4. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Southern University Law Center Marquita Christy Scholarship fund.

Several members of the board and current division council shared their memories of Marquita with us, starting with our current chair.

Marquita and ThomasDear ABA Law Student Division colleagues and friends:

I have some very sad news to share with all of you. Marquita Christy passed away last night.

The ABA Law Student Division has lost a thoughtful leader and cheerful warrior, and this country has lost an amazing legal mind. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Marquita have lost a dear friend, an inspiring social justice activist, and an aspiring lawyer. Marquita leaves behind a legacy that only she could have built, and her soulful spirit, and commitment to diversity will forever be the foundation of our division.

Below I attach some of many thoughtful tributes I’ve received today from colleagues around the nation who served on past ABA Law Student Division Board of Governors with Marquita. We celebrate Marquita’s extraordinary life, admirable faith in Christ, and commitment to true diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. If you would like to share your thoughts, memories, and condolences, you can simply email RememberingMarquita@gmai…. I will personally make sure to share the account with her family.

No words can adequately express my sadness at Marquita’s death or my gratitude for the opportunity to have shared life with her. We will honor her memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work she loved so much. We will honor her by continuing to be the voice of the legal community, advocating for all law students, and promoting the rule of law world-wide.


Thomas E. Kim
Chair, ABA Law Student Division

Marquita served as a national ABA student leader during my first two years with the Division. She was a fantastic representative for the students in her region – dynamic, passionate about helping others, professional, and smart. It’s incomprehensibly sad that we won’t get to watch her realize all that potential as a lawyer, but I’m grateful for the brief opportunity I had to work with her.

Austin Groothuis
Director, ABA Law Student Division

I remember walking into my first ABA Annual Meeting for the Law Student Division. I had no clue what was going on, so I smiled and looked around for someone who did. I remember seeing the calm, cool, and collected law student who looked right at home in the space. Little did I know, that woman who owned the space of that meeting would soon serve another term as governor for her second term on the board I would preside over.

Even from the seat at the head of the table with a name tag proclaiming me as chair of the meeting, I could tell that that same woman was ready for action. Always, bringing people together and putting in the extra mile for the cause and for her fellow human beings, always being the amazing person she was… Marquita was one of a kind. Her work for the Law Student Division was framed with perpetual service but her real contribution in this life was the lasting effect she could have on someone who simply had the chance to know her. Marquita lit up a room with her smile, sparked the most intriguing debates with her words, and was always ready to do more for her community.

When I awoke to the glass-shattering text from a fellow board member, asking if something had happened to Marquita, I was in disbelief. Quickly reaching out to those closest to her, the earth-shattering truth presented itself on my screen. Marquita has gained a new set of wings. She was taken far too soon and will be sorely missed but she will never be forgotten. Thank you for being you Marquita. Rest in peace, my dear friend.

Kareem Aref
Immediate Past Chair, ABA Law Student Division

I extend prayers of comfort, strength, and peace to the family of my friend and former colleague Marquita Christy, who unexpectedly passed away yesterday. I am heartbroken at the news. All of us who knew her – her classmates, community of friends, ABA family, and loved ones – will miss her beautiful smile, genuine kindness, and a sweet voice that made you feel right at home and unafraid. On the ABA Law Student Division Board of Governors, Marquita was a leader who made a meaningful difference in the lives of law students across this country. Marquita, your advocacy and passion were a blessing to us all. Rest in peace my dear friend.

Fabiani Duarte
Past Chair, ABA Law Student Division

We are saddened to hear of the passing of our colleague Marquita Christy. In life, her southern sensibilities always brought a calming tone to any room she was in and of course a pop of brightly colored lipstick. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family in their time of need, may God watch over and bless them. – Christopher and Josephine Jennison, former members of the Board of Governors

I had the pleasure of getting to know Marquita during our time on the Board of Governors, and what struck me most was her constant ability to stay positive and civil during difficult discussions. She was always willing to reason with others, and do so with a smile on her face. She was a wonderful asset to the Law Student Division, and I am personally better-off for having the chance to have worked with her. She will be terribly missed. – Michael Dumas, former Board of Governors member

Marquita ChristyMarquita Christy (second from right) with Law Student Division board members Zac Berkstresser, Michael Dumas, and Marcus Sandifer at the 2016 ABA Midyear Meeting in San Diego.

To My dear sweet friend Marquita,

I wish I could find the words to accurately describe what you meant to so many of us. Although we were only blessed to have you in our lives for a few short years, there aren’t enough words in any language that will sufficiently tell your story. From our first interaction, we were instantly bonded, and you left an indelible impression not just on me but our entire group. You had a smile and warmth that instantly made a stranger feel at home and passion and ambition that lit a fire under anyone in your presence. We instantly knew you were in the room by the beautiful sound of your Louisiana accent and the infectious laugh you possessed. I am so empty and so sad that you are no longer here with us because in a world where so much is going wrong, you were a evidence of the things that are going right. So I grieve today because millions will never know the Angel of the ABA LSD we knew but I am inspired to tell so many about you and how you always had us trying new things, looking at everything optimistically, convincing us never to give up on what we believed and always getting us out on adventures that ended with good food and of course good drinks. So although we won’t conquer the world or the ABA as we planned together, you are forever with me and all of us in our hearts and as long as you stay there, we can always be full of hope and magic. Sleep well my friend and we will meet again.

– Marcus Sandifer, former Board of Governors member

The incomparable Ms. Christy. In addition to her southern charm, she had a vibrant smile and a laugh that could win anyone over. I enjoyed being around her, hearing her perspectives, and getting a glimpse of her many talents and accomplishments. I also appreciated and admired her fighting spirit and how she sought to make a difference in her communities (either professionally and/or academically). Words are not enough to express how we will all miss her, but I’m thankful that I had a chance to know Marquita. To her friends and family members, my utmost condolences. – Ayan Islam, former circuit governor

I had the pleasure of serving alongside Marquita on the ABA Law Student Division’s Board of Directors. Not long after we first met, she became a wonderful colleague and friend. Marquita personified so many qualities of a natural leader. Not only did she welcome constructive dialogue in board meetings, she listened to others’ ideas, and inspired everyone to remain civic minded. When her community was in need in the wake of a storm, she led a grassroots campaign through the Law Student Division to shore up aid for storm victims. Marquita was a kindred spirit, and she lead by example – with a true servant’s heart. My sympathies and condolences go out to Marquita’s family and friends. We will all miss her terribly. – Sandy Gallant-Jones, former circuit governor

Marquita was a strong and compassionate colleague. She had a way of building up those around her, and I greatly appreciated her positivity and kindheartedness. She will be missed dearly. – Jordan Glasgow, former circuit governor

Marquita was one of the most kind and intelligent people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. She stood up for what she believed in and she brought honesty, humor, and calm to everything she did. I was proud to fight alongside her in the Law Student Division and I’m glad I was able to know her. She is and always will be very missed. – Matt Mecoli, former circuit governor

Marquita brought so much to the table at the Law Student Division. She worked hard and was a fierce advocate for those who needed somebody in their corner. We were lucky to learn from her as colleagues, friends, and future professionals. She will be missed. – Morgan Nelson, former circuit governor

My dear friend and sister Marquita. She will be remembered for her southern charm and accent. The bright lipstick she pulled off every time and how vibrant she was. She was kind and had so much soul, especially when she sang. God rest your beautiful soul. – Krystal Yalldo, former circuit governor

Marquita and SamMarquita was beautiful. She was so full of energy, humor, passion, and had so much personality. I enjoyed being in her presence which is why I often asked where she was if she wasn’t around. Even following our service on the ABA board, we often traded text messages about how life was going, our future plans, and my love for her beautiful Louisiana accent. I was even able to visit and spend some time with her during a recent trip to New Orleans. I will miss her so much! – Sam Johnson (pictured at left), former circuit governor

What to say about Marquita? The first time I met her was in Chicago, March of 2016. When she spoke, I was like wow, where’s she from? Her accent was like nothing I’d ever heard before. Louisiana…I soon found out. I didn’t really talk to Marquita in Chicago except for a short introduction from our vice-chair at the time (Marcus Sandifer). He told me later, “she’s good people.” The next time I saw Marquita, we were in California for a meeting. It had been a long day of meetings and networking and after dinner, I decided to walk the city by myself to clear my head. In the midst, I ran into Marquita, Fabiani Duarte and some of the other board members. The two of them talked me into going with them to do Karaoke. Marquita was quick to get on stage. She sang duets with Fabiani, and she sang by herself. She struck me with her beautiful voice. Like wow, she really could sing as she belted out Beyonce’s “Sorry” lyrics. That was the relaxed Marquita that I had the honor of seeing. In our board meetings, she was the 13th circuit governor and chaired the diversity committee. She was always working on something. What struck me about Marquita was her passion. She was always working to make things better, not for herself, but for others. When Louisiana was hit with severe flooding, she was quick to volunteer to help others. Whether it was students who lost books because of the floods, or those in need of shelter she made sure that those in need had help. I will remember her as someone who was passionate about helping those who did not have and for always being willing to help others. Her time here was brief but she will forever have an impact in the lives of those she touched. – Vanessa Pugh, former circuit governor

I am blessed to have known Marquita. Having served with her on the ABA Law Student Division, it was clear to me that Marquita was committed to using her legal training to make a difference. I really admired her for being intentional and diligent in championing the causes that she cared about. As a person, she was genuine, kind, and warm. Marquita will be missed by many. May God comfort Marquita’s family during this time. – Peggy Liu, former division delegate

Serving with Marquita was of most memorable moments while serving on the ABA Law Student Board. She was one known for working hard and inspiring others. It breaks my heart to lose a friend and colleague who was so bright and full of so much joy to give to the world. Quita, you will be missed and I hope you rest in peace. – Merancia Noelsaint, former circuit governor

I am so lucky to have known Marquita. She has always been such a supportive person with a beautiful soul. Her love and her passion for helping others is something I will keep with me my entire life. She made such a large impact during her short time with us, and I am sad we will not be able to see what else she would have accomplished. The loss of Marquita is tragedy. She has left a huge hole in many of our lives and she will never be forgotten. You were such an amazing friend and I will truly miss you.  – Nicholas A. Ventola, former circuit governor

Marquita was such a ray of sunshine for the ABA LSD. I will never forget our crazy Uber rides and inside jokes. I am a better person for knowing her. She will be missed and remembered! – Lynae Tucker, former editor, Student Lawyer magazine

Marquita was a force of nature. In a quiet and understated way, she would get things done. Her passion and dedication could sometimes slip by unnoticed by the less attentive eye. But while others were focused on garnering praise and power, she tirelessly worked on effecting real and tangible change on behalf of those people and causes which she held dear. She was the definition of selflessness and class. Her warm and welcoming demeanor made everyone feel at ease around her. It only took one meeting and you instantly felt you had a new best friend.

Marquita was devoted to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and worked with a singular focus toward improving access to the programs and support necessary to help those traditionally underrepresented populations.

In her off duty time, Marquita was the life of the party. The way she sang karaoke made you think she might be the unknown daughter of Whitney Houston. She had a spunk and fire for life that was undeniable. Always joking and laughing, she lifted the spirits of all around her.

Her sweet spirit will be forever missed by those who knew and loved her. She has left a mark on my life and inspired me for the better through her friendship. Even writing of her in the past tense seems disingenuous because her impact and legacy will never die.

Quita, you are gone too soon, but the world was blessed for the 30 short years we got to have you. My prayers and love are with all who knew and loved you. Find rest with God, until we meet again.

 – Madison Duff Burke, former circuit governor

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