The Details

Equal Justice Celebration (Local)

Equal Justice Celebration to be held on November 15, 2012.    Guest Speaker: Matt Taibbi
Servant of Justice Honoree:  Ret. Judge George N. Leighton

On November 15th from 6 to 9 p.m. over 200 guests will take part in the first annual Equal Justice Celebration.   The charity event will take place at the New Bedford Whaling Museum (18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford).  Highlights of the event include its guest speaker (Matt Taibbi) and Servant of Justice Honoree (Retired Judge George N. Leighton).  Event attendees will enjoy music by Starry Night and delicious food  catered by Morins Fine  Catering while ensuring equal justice for vulnerable residents of Southeastern Massachusetts.  Tickets to the event are $50, rsvp by contacting the SCCLS Development Department at 774-488-5948, mdubois@sccls.org.  Learn more about the event on the SCCLS website ( http://www.sccls.org/ViewArticle.asp?NewsID=33). 

All proceeds from the annual fundraiser will support SCCLS and the provision of free non-criminal legal services for  poor, low-income, and elderly people throughout Southeastern Massachusetts.

The events guest speaker is Mr. Matt Taibbi.  A polemic author and a contributing editor for Rolling Stone Magazine, Mr. Taibbi will discuss the current foreclosure crisis, its effects on the poor and low-income, and how legal services helps these individuals.

During the Equal Justice Celebration the SCCLS Servant of Justice Award will be presented to Retired Judge George N. Leighton.  A native of New Bedford, Judge Leighton is being honored for his lifetime of achievement as a scholar, judge, humanitarian and freedom fighter and in celebration of his 100th birthday.

Each year the SCCLS Servant of Justice Award will be given to one individual who has shown themselves to be a role model in the law and who has been willing to stand up for those among us who are most vulnerable.  Those chosen will have demonstrated a true commitment to equity and fairness in our judicial system.  

George N. Leighton was born on October 22, 1912 the child of Cape Verdean immigrants. Though Judge Leighton left school after sixth grade to work on an oil tanker his self directed studies gained him entrance to Howard University and Harvard Law School where his academic performance placed him at the top of his class.  Attorney Leighton chose to open a law practice in Chicago due to Illinois election of the Countrys first African American to Congress.   

 A professional career that brought Mr. Leighton to the height of achievement from a Presidential appointment to serve as a United States District Judge, Northern District of Illinois is highlighted by significant case work to improve society, ensure equity under the law, social justice:

- The first and perhaps the most important of these was the Boswell Amendment Case in which as counsel for ten African American citizens of Mobile, Alabama, he succeeded in obtaining a judgment declaring the amendment unconstitutional. The Boswell Amendment was designed as a device for eliminating African Americans from voting in Alabama.   

- In 1950, Leighton represented African American parents of school children in Harrisburg, Illinois in a proceeding which he filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. An injunction was obtained ordering desegregation of the public schools of Harrisburg, Illinois.

ABOUT SCCLS:

South Coastal Counties Legal Services, Inc. (SCCLS) is the principal provider of free civil (non-criminal) legal assistance to low-income individuals, families, elders, children and the disabled in Southeastern MA. The service area includes the five counties in Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands (Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Nantucket and Plymouth Counties) and the towns of Avon and Stoughton in Norfolk County.  

 The core mission of SCCLS and its subsidiary, the Justice Center, is to achieve equal justice for the poor and disadvantaged through community-based advocacy.  SCCLS goal is to transform lives through the provision of quality legal advocacy in the following priority areas: accessing and preserving secure and affordable housing; obtaining and maintaining public benefits; protecting families from the scourge of domestic violence; ensuring quality educational opportunities for at risk youth; assisting elders with the wide range of health, financial, and end-of-life matters; and assisting consumers with debt and fraud issues.  

Time:
Host: Michelle DuBois
Location:
New Bedford Whaling Museum (New Bedford, MA)
18 Johnny Cake Hill
New Bedford, MA 02740

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