Less than a year before starting law school, Khalil Ferguson, ’25, received the Sacramento Bee’s inaugural Top 25 Black Change Makers Award for his work to transform Sacramento and neighboring communities through leadership and innovation.

Ferguson is a business owner, community leader, activist and published author. He is the CEO of the United CORE Alliance, a nonprofit organization serving disadvantaged communities adversely impacted by the War on Drugs and the continuing racial bias in the cannabis industry.

“The United CORE Alliance (UCA) operates to increase economic mobility in communities that have been targeted by the War on Drugs. Essentially the UCA is a reflection of my understanding of how economics underlies the legal and socioeconomic issues faced by these communities,” Ferguson said.

A native of Richmond, California, Ferguson has lived in Sacramento for the past decade. He is a graduate of California State University, Sacramento, where he was a co-founder of the Black Student Union and later served as the Black Alumni President.

Now, Ferguson is a second-year law student at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law. He is pursuing the Capital Lawyering Concentration, exploring his interests in Business Law and Marijuana Law, and currently serves as president of the McGeorge School of Law’s Black Law Student Association.

“My legal education will provide me with the skills necessary to navigate complex issues that prevent communities from establishing and scaling their business and generating wealth. Running a business relies not only on principles of business management, but also knowledge of property law, employment law, contract law and others,” Ferguson said. “Ultimately, my legal education will help War-on-Drug-targeted communities build institutions and exercise their economic power.”

Ferguson was recognized with the 2022 Black History Month Legacy Award of Excellence, announced at the 35th Annual Black History Month Legacy Awards Gala in Sacramento.


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