On Wednesday, May 6, Legal Aid will present our highest honor – the Servant of Justice Award – to Wade Henderson, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Wade’s award will be presented by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.
Wade has spent his career fighting to protect the civil rights and civil liberties of people who traditionally have been denied those fundamental rights. A graduate of Howard University and the Rutgers University School of Law, Wade began his legal career working on civil rights issues at the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union. He then took over as the Washington Bureau director of the NAACP, where he directed that organization’s government affairs and national legislative programs. Recognizing the disparities in access to quality education and health care related to race, ethnicity and socio-economic status, Wade also has been a voice for equity on the boards of the Educational Testing Service; the National Quality Forum, which supports improvement in health care and health care access; and the Center for Responsive Lending, which seeks to protect home ownership and combat predatory lending practices.
Over the past 25 years, Wade has led advocacy campaigns on a wide range of civil and human rights issues including immigration reform, equal pay for women, workers’ rights, hate crimes protections for those in the LGBTQ community, efforts to combat police violence and racial profiling and voting rights for all Americans – including those that live in the District of Columbia.
Wade is a true servant of justice and a hero to those who have worked with him. Julie Fernandes, who worked with Wade for many years at the Leadership Conference and is now a senior advisor at the Open Society Foundations, noted, “Wade is the ultimate inside player who has been a strong mentor and friend to me and countless civil rights lawyers and advocates in Washington. His combination of expert legal acumen, charm, strategic thinking and tenacity make him an indispensable leader in the fight for civil and human rights in our country.”
John Relman, who chaired the Legal Aid Board Servant of Justice Honoree Selection Committee, added, “Wade is one of the singular civil rights leaders of his generation. He has accomplished so much nationally, but we at Legal Aid are also honoring him for his local work on behalf of persons living in poverty in D.C. Wade is a true Servant of Justice.”
Tickets are still available for Legal Aid’s Servant of Justice Awards Dinner, which will take place on May 6, 2015, at the JW Marriott. Please join us for what will be a special evening.