On Trophies and Recognition

Finally back in Nashville after a whirlwind trip to NYC and DC. It concluded with an awards show from the American Bar Association in our country’s capitol…just miles away from the Supreme Court where we were victorious.

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I was deeply humbled to receive the Mark T. Banner award though all recognition should have just went to the legal team of Ron Coleman, Joel MacMull, and John Connell (as well as Spencer Trowbridge, who originally convinced me this was something worth fighting for). I’m glad that they got awards and were able to share some remarks (at least Ron), though I felt slightly out of place. However people might feel about the pageantry of awards events, I thought it was a great opportunity to challenge attorneys, judges, and law students to rethink how we approach laws, especially when it comes to the most marginalized.

This legal journey has introduced me to thousands of lawyers and people who want to serve others through law. I don’t doubt many of their intentions, there are some incredible people who do immense amounts of work advancing this cause. That being said, I think it’s easy for them to forget what that process is like for clients: how does it feel to be stuck in legal purgatory for a decade? Even if an appeals process is offered, is that just? What is it like for people who can’t afford a single hour of attorney’s fees?

In the end, it’s all about that vision of equity. After the applause dies down and the dust settles, we still have to roll up our sleeves and show up for justice. It’s nice to have a fancy luncheon and some etched glass to place on my bookshelf but we still need to make tough choices about bending the moral arc of the universe a bit further. And that requires work.

 

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