Nastassia “Tazzy” Janvier, former president of the Florida State University Student Government Association, has been selected to join a prestigious program committed to providing civil rights legal advocacy in the South.
Janvier will join an elite 10-person cohort of the Marshall-Motley Scholars Program (MMSP), a pipeline program of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) that develops people to become ambassadors and advocates for transformational change in Black communities in the southern US
In exchange for a full law school scholarship and professional development, Janvier and fellow scholars will devote the first eight years of their careers to practicing civil rights law in the service of Black communities in the South. The scholarship will cover tuition, room, board and incidentals to alleviate the debt burden that can prevent future lawyers from pursuing careers as a civil rights attorneys.
“It is with great honor and responsibility that I take on becoming a Marshall-Motley Scholar,” Janvier said. “My life’s calling has been to fight for the rights of Black people, and with this opportunity, I will continue a long-standing legacy set by the NAACP LDF. As a civil rights attorney, I will continue this work in the South upon graduating law school. ”
Launched in January 2021, the MMSP is named in honor of Thurgood Marshall, the late Supreme Court Justice, legendary civil rights attorney and LDF founder; and Constance Baker Motley, the late civil rights litigator, former LDF attorney and first Black woman to serve as a federal judge.
The only Florida resident in the 2022 MMSP cohort, Janvier was born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, and grew up in Miramar, Fla. A proud first-generation college student, she began her undergraduate career with FSU’s Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement (CARE) after graduating from Nova High School in Davie, Fla.
“Much of my work surrounds fighting for access, equity, and the protection of Black students,” Janvier said. “From my work with the 2020 presidential anti-racism task force to expanding student life and safety with the Division of Student Affairs and FSU Police Department, I continuously center the livelihood and well-being of a population that is traditionally underrepresented.
Janvier graduated from FSU in May 2020 with her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary social science. She continued her education at Florida State and earned a master’s degree in public administration this past spring.
While continuing her education, Janvier served as the 2021-2022 FSU student body president and chairwoman of the Florida Student Association. She served as a member of the FSU Board of Trustees and of the Board of Governors for the State University System of Florida, which oversees the operation and management of the Florida Public University System’s 12 institutions.
“I couldn’t think of a more deserving student than Tazzy Janvier to receive this prestigious scholarship,” said Amy Hecht, FSU vice president for Student Affairs. “In all that she does, Tazzy’s values and commitment to inclusion, diversity and equity are apparent.”
Hecht added: “She has led many initiatives across campus and the community that have made FSU and Tallahassee better. She has worked incredibly hard both in and outside the classroom. Her scholarship is not only a testament to what she has accomplished, but to what she will accomplish. I could not be prouder, and I am grateful to have worked with her. ”
Janvier also worked as a graduate assistant at the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, where she coordinated sponsorship opportunities with Florida State alumni. She also served as president of the NAACP Tallahassee Chapter, where she chaired all meetings and oversaw 15 executive committees.
“The legacy I leave at FSU and the State University System is a testament that Black students deserve an equitable opportunity,” Janvier said. “As the third Black women to ever serve as a student body president and the fourth to serve on the University Board of Trustees, I want more people who look like me to be seen and heard. Systemic change can only happen when we prioritize and uplift marginalized identities, and that is what my career at FSU has always been about. ”
Janvier has also been a national Nextgen Fellow with the NAACP; a member of the board of directors for the League of Women Voters; an outreach coordinator with Access Democracy; and a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
“It is with great pleasure that we welcome Nastassia Janvier to the second cohort of the Marshall-Motley Scholars,” said Jino Ray, LDF’s director of the Marshall-Motley Scholars Program. “This program is crucial in endowing the South with the next generation of exceptional civil rights lawyers who are equipped with the skills and dedication to pursue the fight for racial justice on behalf of Black communities.”
Ray, who earned an undergraduate degree from FSU, said “as an FSU alumnus, it brings me joy that Nastassia joining this new group of Scholars will allow her to represent a community that has inspired not only her, but myself as well.”
The NAACP LDF Marshall-Motley Scholar family also includes alumnus Victor Olofin (FSU class of 2018), who is part of the program’s inaugural cohort and currently attends Harvard Law School.
For more information about the LDF and the MMSP, visit marshallmotleyscholars.org.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. The LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957 — although the LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within the LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative.