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Congrats to Jonathan Smith, '84 and the Washington Lawyers' Committee

Wednesday, October 24, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joe Libertelli
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Congratulations to executive director Jonathan M. Smith, '84, and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs for orchestrating a fabulous 50th anniversary Wiley A. Branton Awards Dinner on Tuesday, October 23.

The gala event, attended by 850, raised more $1.1 million in support of the WLC's civil rights work and featured a series of engaging and informative remarks by presenters and award recipients. The Roderic V.O. Boggs award was presented to long-time disability rights attorney Elaine Gardner. The Wiley A. Branton Award was presented by Wiley A. Branton Jr. to former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick who delivered his acceptance by video from London. The immigrants' rights group CASA and the Barry Farms Tenants and Allies Association were also honored.

The presentation of the Vincent E. Reed Award was made by noted children's rights attorney and advocate Marian Wright Edelman.  But, for many in attendance, the highlight of the evening was the transcendent acceptance remarks made by Ruby Bridges who, as a six-year-old, was the first African-American child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana during the New Orleans school desegregation crisis in 1960, and has gone on to a lifetime of work towards civil rights, education and racial harmony.  Her wise, loving and wonderfully inspiring remarks permitted a dedicated but weary audience to see and feel that we can, indeed, overcome racism someday.  

Of particular note to UDC Law ears was the mention by Mr. Branton, Jr. of Antioch School of Law alum Kerry Scanlon, '77, and his role in support of his father's efforts. We are also pleased to note that Omar Vincent Melehy, '86, is a member of the Washington Lawyers' Committee Board. UDC Law Acting Dean John Brittain and D.C. School of Law Foundation Chair Jon Bouker of Arent Fox were also in attendance.

Jonathan Smith at podium
Washington Lawyer's Committee Executive Director Jonathan M. Smith, '84, addressing the huge crowd
Audience
 
Dave O'Brien, Twinette Johnson and Tracey Jackson seated
Dave O'Brien, Director of Career & Professional Development; Professor Twinette Johnson, Director of the UDC Law Academic Success Program; and former SBA President Tracey Jackson, PhD, were among the many UDC Law staff and graduates in attendance.
 

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