Tickets are still available for our dinner this coming Thursday, April 28, 2016. Legal Aid will present our highest honor – the Servant of Justice Award – to Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President of the Childrens’ Defense Fund (CDF). This award will be presented by the Honorable Patricia M. Wald, retired Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Mrs. Edelman has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. Under her leadership, the CDF has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families. The CDF’s Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.
Mrs. Edelman, a graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, began her career in the mid-60s when, as the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1968, she moved to Washington, D.C., as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his untimely death. She founded the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and the parent body of the CDF. For two years she served as the Director of the Center for Law and Education at Harvard University and in 1973 began CDF.
Mrs. Edelman served on the Board of Trustees of Spelman College which she chaired from 1976 to 1987 and was the first woman elected by alumni as a member of the Yale University Corporation on which she served from 1971 to 1977. She has received over a hundred honorary degrees and many awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, and a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship. In 2000, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings.
She is a board member of the Robin Hood Foundation and the Association to Benefit Children, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
Marian Wright Edelman is married to Peter Edelman, the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law and Public Policy at Georgetown University Law Center and Faculty Director of the Center on Poverty and Inequality. Peter is the Chair of the D.C. Access to Justice Commission and was the recipient of the Servant of Justice Award in 1997. They have three sons and four grandchildren.
Please join us on April 28, 2016 – individual tickets are still available – to honor Marian Wright Edelman, as well as her fellow Servant of Justice Honoree, Thomas S. Williamson, Jr. of Covington & Burling LLP, and Klepper Prize winner, Brendan Caroll of Alston & Bird LLP.