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'Realizing the Dream: Equality for All' program to observe Law Day

March 25, 2013
Contact: Latasha Smith, Director of Communications, National Center for Civil and Human Rights or lsmith@civilandhumanrights.org

ATLANTA – A collaborative effort between Georgia’s legal community and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights will commemorate Law Day 2013 with a special program Monday, April 22, from 12:30 to 7 p.m. at the State Bar of Georgia, 104 Marietta St. in downtown Atlanta.

"Realizing the Dream: Equality for All" is the national Law Day theme for 2013, the 150th anniversary of the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln and the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

The theme provides an opportunity to explore the movement for civil and human rights in America and the impact that it has had in promoting the idea of equality under the law. It will provide a forum for reflecting on the work that remains to be done in rectifying injustice, eliminating all forms of discrimination and putting an end to human trafficking and other violations of basic human rights. As Dr. King pointed out in his letter from a Birmingham Jail, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Co-sponsoring organizations include: the State Bar of Georgia, the Atlanta Bar Association, the Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism, the Gate City Bar Association, the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys, the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers, the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association, the Multi-Bar Leadership Council, the South Asian Bar Association of Georgia and the Stonewall Bar Association.

The program is open to the public. Those planning to attend must register online. Registration and box lunch pickup will take place starting at noon, followed by these sessions:

  • Youth Talk: An age-appropriate overview of human rights will feature a Human Rights 101 presentation and a panel discussion featuring youth activists. Students will be introduced to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Nefertari Kirkman-Bey will moderate the session, and confirmed speakers include Mary Pratt Hector, founder of Youth in Action; Jessica Colotl, local Georgia dreamer and immigration activist; Brandon Dykes, YouthPride student activist; and Will Canon, Emory University student and human rights activist.
  • International Pressure to "Realize the Dream": This session will explore human rights violations in the United States, including juvenile justice violations, the use of torture on war criminals and environmental abuses. Additionally, the session will focus on the most controversial aspects of international human rights law, such as debates over cultural and religious objections/exceptions to global human rights standards and double standards in human rights enforcement and implementation. The moderator will be Ejim Dike, executive director of the U.S. Human Rights Network, and speakers will include Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Sharon Hill, director of the Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice; Jerry Gonzalez of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials; and Azadeh N. Shahshahani of the ACLU Foundation of Georgia.
  • The New Slavery: An estimated 1 million people are trafficked around the world each year, lured into involuntary servitude and sexual slavery. The session will explore the catastrophic consequences of human trafficking and provide attendees with a greater sense of the challenges surrounding the issue. The film "Not in My Life" will be shown, followed by a panel discussion. The moderator will be Deborah Richardson, executive vice president of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and speakers will include Sally Quillian Yates, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia; Lisa Williams, executive director of Living Water for Girls; Alia El-Saw, human trafficking victim assistance specialist for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and Teodoro Maus of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights.
  • The Legends Speak: Following a reception, prominent civil and human rights leaders, both past and present, will engage in a panel discussion, moderated by Maria Saporta of The Saporta Report and Atlanta Business Chronicle. Panelists include civil rights activist Juanita Abernathy, state Sens. Jason Carter and Nan Orrock, former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young and Executive Director of the Andrew Young Foundation Andrea Young.

Law Day, officially observed May 1 of each year, is a national celebration of the rule of law. Law Day underscores how law and the legal process contribute to the freedoms that all Americans share. Law Day also provides an opportunity to recognize the role of courts in this democracy and the importance of jury service to maintaining the integrity of the courts.

"Realizing the Dream: Equality for All" is aimed at making the connection between the American civil rights movement and the principles of human rights and providing an in-depth look at human rights violations in the United States, as well as human trafficking and how it undermines the health, safety and social progress of all nations.

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The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is a cultural institution coming to Atlanta in spring of 2014. The Center provides exhibitions, designated event spaces, a broadcast studio, and educational forums that share the courageous fight of all people to secure equality for African Americans in the modern American Civil Rights Movement, and its fundamental impact and inspiration on contemporary movements for human rights globally. The Center will be the only public place in the world displaying the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection (King Papers) and his historic "I Have a Dream Speech." Visitors will be immersed in an interactive story-telling experience in each exhibit. The facilities will also serve as a hub for ongoing dialogue — attracting world-renowned speakers and artists who work on a variety of human rights topics. For more information, visit www.civilandhumanrights.org.

The State Bar of Georgia, with offices in Atlanta, Savannah and Tifton, was established in 1964 by Georgia's Supreme Court as the successor to the voluntary Georgia Bar Association, founded in 1884. All lawyers licensed to practice in Georgia belong to the State Bar. Its more than 43,000 members work together to strengthen the constitutional promise of justice for all, promote principles of duty and public service among Georgia's lawyers, and administer a strict code of legal ethics.

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