The Cook County Bar Association (CCBA) will host its 102nd Annual Awards and Installation Banquet on Friday, June 24 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 East Upper Wacker Drive, at 5:30 p.m. The event themed, “Taking Our Seat at the Table” will feature the installation of Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Natalie L. Howse as president of the CCBA.
This year’s keynote is Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens of Kentucky, who made national headlines for his decision to dismiss a predominantly white jury panel in a felony narcotics case. Judge Stevens is an outspoken advocate for fairness and equality in the criminal justice system. Also addressing the group will be Kim Foxx, Democratic candidate for Cook County State’s Attorney.
“This year, the CCBA has collaborated with the citizens of Cook County and like-minded organizations to address shared concerns, related to police accountability, voter education and judicial ratings,” said Arlene Y. Coleman, president of the CCBA. “As we prepare to transition to our new leadership, we will continue to be a strong advocate for a fair and impartial judicial system, and as our 100-year legacy dictates, we will continue to champion issues of importance, not just to African Americans, but all Americans.”
Incoming CCBA President Howse commented, “Our organization is in a unique position to make great strides for our members and within our community, hence our theme, Taking our Seat at the Table. We will be advocating for networking opportunities for our lawyers across the greater Chicagoland area and working to strengthen relationships between the community and law enforcement.”
Each year, the Board of the CCBA bestows awards that are reflective of the organization’s history and its past leaders. This year’s awardees are as follows:
Richard E. Westbrook Award: Brett J. Hart; Kenneth E. Wilson Award: Hon. Franklin U. Valderama; Harold Washington Award: posthumously toHenry English;
William R. Ming, Jr. Award: Congressman Danny K. Davis (7th); Meritorious Service
Award: Jeanette S. Samuels; Senior Counselor Award: Hon. Arlander Keys (Ret.), Hon. Leonard Murray and Hon. Sidney A. Jones, III (Ret.); Junior Counselor Award: Rhandi C. Anderson; Judicial Award: Hon. Sophia Atcherson, Hon. Robert W. Johnson, Hon. John F. Lyke, Hon. Fred C. Bates, Hon. Delvin J. Schoop, and Hon. Geraldine D’Souza.
During the past bar year, the CCBA hosted a Town Hall meeting with Attorney Benjamin Crump, president of the National Bar Association (NBA), which drew nearly 500 attendees to Trinity Church to discuss the proliferation of deadly police interactions in the African- American community.
The Association released its Annual Judicial Candidate’s Ratings, and hosted a press conference where they released their 10-point platform paper highlighting recommendations on creating transparency and improving accountability within the Chicago Police Department. It should be noted that all of the initiatives in the 10-point plan have been completed or are in the process of completion.
Additionally, they hosted a State’s Attorney’s Forum at Chicago State University and their annual Joint Dinner Meeting with the Illinois Judicial Council and the Black Women’s Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago (BWLA), as well as a series professional development programs for their members.
Coleman was a sought-after speaker on issues related to community-police relations, legislative initiatives and civil rights.
The CCBA has engaged in a variety of programs to advance the legal profession and its members and celebrated its centennial in 2015. Among its most important contributions was the development of an organized system for the fair and impartial evaluation of judicial candidates that led to the joint alliance with other minority bar associations.
Sponsors for the Awards and Installation Banquet include, James D. Montgomery & Associated, LTD, Power Rogers & Smith, P.C., Jenner & Block and Wiley Adams & Region VII.
Tickets are $150 for individuals, and sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more details, visit www.cookcountybar.org or contact Cordelia Brown at [email protected] the CCBA on Facebook.
About the Cook County Bar Association
The CCBA was founded in 1914 and is the oldest association of African-American lawyers and judges in the nation. Since its inception 102 years ago, the CCBA has been actively engaged in community service and outreach. Members of the CCBA recognize their special responsibility to make a difference and provide direct pro bono legal services to those in need.