Incoming 1L Brandon Redmon Named First Recipient of George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in Law
A former truck driver and father of four, Redmon's interests include labor law and civil rights
It was while working as a truck driver in his mid 20s—transporting everything from beer and seafood to gas and hazardous materials—that incoming 1L Brandon Redmon experienced an incident of discrimination where he had to take legal action against his employer.
“Going through that process was definitely challenging,” he says. “But I came out of it thinking, ‘Wow this was interesting. I could possibly do this.’ And then I had a great attorney who motivated me and said, ‘Hey Brandon, you’d probably be good at this.’”
When he later encountered a similar incident at a different company, Redmon—then in his mid 30s and a father of four—resolved to go back to school and pursue a law degree. This fall, he will start his first year at Minnesota Law, supported by the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in Law.
The endowed scholarship in George Floyd’s name, created in June 2020 following Floyd’s death at the hands of police, is designed to provide critical financial support for underrepresented students, and Black or African American students in particular, in pursuing careers in the law and achieving their dreams.
A Name that Carries Weight, Pain
The scholarship began through a gift from Catlan M. McCurdy ’11 and Sanjiv P. Laud ’12, with matching funds from Minnesota Law. McCurdy and Laud called on others in the Minnesota Law community and beyond to contribute. Nearly 350 donors rose to the occasion—from faculty, staff, and students to donors who have no formal ties to the Law School. The Class of 2021 even chose the scholarship as their class gift, making it one of the largest such gifts in recent years.
For Redmon, receiving the scholarship has evoked complex and bittersweet emotions. On one hand, he is excited by the opportunities it will help make possible. On the other, George Floyd’s name carries a lot of weight and hurt for him as a Black man. Redmon says he couldn’t bring himself to watch the widely viewed video of Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis Police. As someone who has had brushes with the law in the past, he could see parallels between Floyd and himself.
“It’s wonderful to honor him by being a recipient of the scholarship, but at the same time it reminds me of the work that needs to be done,” he says. “It reminds me of injustices that happen in our country, in our state. It also reminds me that there are good folks out there, and how the community rallied up and tried to change the trajectories.”
Returning to School
Redmon is originally from North Carolina but lived in California for the last dozen years. His return to school began at Los Medanos College, a community college in Pittsburg, California. After graduation, he went on to University of California, Berkeley, where he majored in American studies, a field that explored subjects such as the sociology of culture and what defines race and ethnicity.
Since moving to Minneapolis earlier this summer, Redmon has been getting prepared to kick off his first semester in law school. While he is interested in fields like labor law and civil rights law, he plans to stay open to other areas of study, as long as his future career gives him the opportunity to help people.
Redmon says he comes from a lower socioeconomic background and was a foster youth earlier in his life. Having overcome obstacles and reached this point as a nontraditional student, he emphasized that it’s never too late to go back to school.
“It doesn’t matter what background you’re from, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been out of academia,” he says. “You can always jump back into it.”
Kevin Coss is a Twin Cities-based freelance writer. Find out more about the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in Law Fund.