February 2015 Bar Bulletin
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February 2015 Bar Bulletin

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon - A Wonderful Celebration!


More than 700 guests attended KCBA's annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon on January 16 at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel to celebrate Dr. King's legacy.

Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., was scheduled to speak. Unfortunately, she was requested to attend a meeting at the White House on the same day as the Luncheon. We were fortunate to have Janai Nelson, the NAACP fund's associate director-counsel, as our substitute speaker. She spoke about voting rights and recent developments that threaten to disenfranchise many voters, in particular members of minority communities.

Her most recent publication, "The Causal Context of Disparate Vote Denial," 54 B.C. L. Rev. 579 (2013), examines Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act as a disparate impact standard and the racial dimensions of modern vote denial. As she stated at the beginning of her speech, noting that 2015 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, "We are surrounded by milestones ... some of the most important moments of the transformative era in our history - the Civil Rights Movement."

She concluded her remarks with a challenge:

There is an undeniable urgency to all of these issues and there are many more.... [W]hile we don't know precisely what the next milestone will be, we (LDF) remain engaged in a full-frontal attack to secure equity in education, to fight for economic justice and empowerment, to protect our voting rights, and to ensure fairness in the criminal justice system. And we are confident that the load-bearing walls at which we steadfastly chisel and surgically attack, with every legal tool in our arsenal, will one day come crumbling down.

As part of the event, King County Superior Court Judge Patrick Oishi spoke about the importance of the Minority Law School Scholarship Fund. He expressed the importance of diversity of the bar and commended the King County Bar Foundation for supporting this ideal.

Karen Murray, co-chair of the MLK Luncheon Committee, asked attendees to consider giving to the KCBF Minority Law School Scholarship Fund. Luncheon attendees were once again treated to a terrific musical performance by the Graham Hill Elementary School Chorus.

In addition to the generous sponsorship support provided by many local law firms and organizations, the King County Bar Association gratefully acknowledges the members of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon Committee for their tireless work in making this program such a successful community event: Co-chairs Judge Richard A. Jones and Karen W. Murray, Lisa Castilleja, Phillip H. Ginsberg, Justo Gonzalez, Hon. Charles V. Johnson (ret.), Kerry J. Keefe, James E. Lobsenz, Gregory M. Miller, Kevin A. Peck, Burns Petersen, Judge Catherine D. Shaffer, Michele E. Storms, Pallavi Mehta Wahi and Leann Wagele.

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