MEMPHIS, The Musical. WOW! Last month, the Greensboro Bar Association along with the Guilford County Association of Black Lawyers came together at the Community Theater of Greensboro for a membership outing of singing, dancing and good old-fashioned fun. Greensboro is home to such tremendous artistic talent. And that talent brought the audience back in time to 1950’s Memphis where laws, society and everyday human beings came face to face with deep seated prejudice and injustice. These reminders of our past were both emotional and thought provoking.
While watching this performance, I couldn’t help considering what a middle-aged attorney (like me) would be doing in the 1950s. Would I be aware of the weight of prejudice? Would I quietly go about my business letting others do the heavy lifting of reform? Could the Greensboro Bar Association even participate in an event with the Guilford County Association of Black lawyers? What friends (that I have today) would I likely not have had back then? What relationships would be frowned upon, ridiculed or just forbidden? Thank you, Community Theater of Greensboro, for using the arts, the talented performers of Memphis and our country’s difficult past to remind us that social justice is an ongoing journey, an evolving struggle and an essential destination of a healthy society.
As lawyers, we play a critical role in the journey of social justice. We are both participants in and creators of social justice.
So, as we enjoy our 90th year as a bar association, it is important to take stock of our past. To be mindful of where we have been so that we can be deliberate about where we are going. I hope each of us will consider our history in deciding the role we will play in our legal community’s future. As lawyers, we play a critical role in the journey of social justice. We are both participants in and creators of social justice. Walk into our courtrooms, read appellate decisions, and attend bar events to witness it in action. Pick up a newspaper or turn on the news and hear about an innocence project’s latest exonerated citizen. One way or another we will leave a legacy for our successors.
During the month of October, we will present more events and opportunities for members to connect, network, and earn CLE credit. On October 4, Lisa Arthur and her CLE committee will host a full-day CLE focusing on the opioid crisis at Fox Rothschild. For just $25.00, GBA members can have lunch and earn 6 CLE credits while watching a program simulcast from the State Bar. Thank you, Steve Robertson, for bringing this idea to our CLE committee’s attention. Next, our monthly membership meeting will celebrate several of our members followed by an Elon Law update by Dean Luke Bierman on October 17 at Starmount Forest Country Club. On October 25 at 3:00 pm in the Federal Courthouse, our Young Lawyers Section will assist our newest lawyers with a swearing-in ceremony. And, finally, our bar will come together on October 23 with our colleagues from High Point to nominate candidates to fill the District Court judicial vacancy left by Judge Jarrell’s passing, along with the Guilford County Public Defender vacancy created by Fred Lind’s upcoming retirement.
These are just a few of the happenings in October. Glance through this newsletter to find even more of what we have in store for the membership. Also, please consider helping on a committee. It is a great way to get involved with the GBA while developing your leadership skills. Anyone interested in learning more about the Greensboro Bar Association’s committee opportunities can call me or Diane Lowe at the GBA office. On behalf of my hard-working Board of Directors, we truly hope you will consider joining our team and attending one or more of these GBA events