Honoring Congressman John Lewis And Getting Into #GoodTrouble

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law recently awarded civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.) with its Robert F. Kennedy Justice Prize at the 17th annual A. Leon Higginbotham Corporate Leadership Award Dinner.

Top leaders in the legal, corporate, and civil rights communities gathered in New York to honor Congressman Lewis. Accepting the award, Congressman Lewis said, “When you see something that’s not right, not just, you have to stand up. You have to speak out. And you have to get in the way.”

Guests at the Lawyers’ Committee’s annual Higginbotham Gala give a rousing applause for Congressman Lewis.

Noting the recent work of the Lawyers’ Committee in his home state to ensure all eligible voters can participate in an upcoming Congressional runoff election, Congressman Lewis said, “I want to thank the Lawyers’ Committee for getting us all into trouble.”

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former lieutenant governor of Maryland and eldest daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, joined Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil rights Under Law, to honor Congressman Lewis.

“One great lesson I’ve learned from Congressman Lewis is that justice will not be attained by sitting quietly on the sidelines. We are absolutely compelled to use our voices and strength in numbers to work toward equal justice for all under the rule of law.”

— Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil rights Under Law.

The Lawyers’ Committee also honored Craig Menear, chairman, CEO and president of The Home Depot, for his dedication to diversity and equal opportunity. Menear told attendees: “Diversity and inclusion are principles that are ingrained in our eight core values at Home Depot. Values like respect for all people, giving back and doing the right thing.”

Craig Menear, chairman and CEO of The HomeDepot

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law mobilizes one of the largest network of attorneys across the country who provide critical pro bono support in the fight to protect the civil rights of all Americans. In 2016 alone, more than 200 law firms volunteered over 61,000 pro bono hours for a total of nearly $39 million in dedicated time to support the organization’s work across the country.

Critical to the success of this year’s Gala were Teresa Roseborough, General Counsel of Home Depot and Mark Wasserman, managing partner of Eversheds Sutherland, and countless supporters across the country who helped raise nearly $2 million to support the work of the Lawyers’ Committee.

Award-winning actor, bestselling author, and national Lawyers’ Committee spokesman Hill Harper and acclaimed actor Laz Alsono served as emcees for the evening.

At a moment when the voting rights and civil rights of millions of Americans are under attack, Kristen Clarke said the Lawyers’ Committee will continue to ensure equal justice for all through the rule of law:

“In response to some of the rollbacks we are seeing at the Justice Department, we are stepping up to be the People’s Justice. If they won’t file the cases, we will. If they won’t use their bully pulpit to speak out against hate crimes and other injustices, we will.”

To learn more about the work of the Lawyers’ Committee, including its efforts to fight back against voter suppression, click here.