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"The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is simply the best civil rights law firm in American history." -- President Obama

LDF Celebrates 75 Years of Visionary Civil Rights Leadership at Annual National Equal Justice Award Dinner

11/05/15

NAACP Legal Defense Fund Celebrates 75 Years at its 29th Annual NEJAD Dinner

Over 750 supporters joined the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (“LDF”) at the New York Hilton at its 75th Anniversary National Equal Justice Award Dinner honoring former Attorney General Eric H. Holder and two international foundations on November 4, 2015. The occasion served as a celebration of LDF's work, as well as a call to action to rally around the broad racial justice agenda that the organization has advanced. Dinner guests were treated to a performance by members of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, dynamic speakers, and an inspiring film screening depicting LDF's seventy-five year history.

The evening's distinguished guests included civil rights leaders, law firms and corporations, entertainers, public officials and other notables. The enthusiastic support for LDF by guests, funding institutions, and individual donors reflects a deep and unwavering commitment to racial justice work. “Our country is in an unprecedented moment in its recognition of the need to confront our nation’s history of racial bias,” said President and CEO of Atlantic Philanthropies Chris Oechsli, whose organization received one of two National Equal Justice Awards. “LDF brings a combination of vision, prescience and strategy to fill the void.”

Array

Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF President and Director-Counsel, greets honorees and guests

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr., 82nd Attorney General of the United States 

Gerald Adolph, Co-Chair, LDF Board of Directors; Judith Byrd, NEJAD Dinner Chair; The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr., 82nd Attorney General of the United States; Angela Vallot, NEJAD Dinner Chair; and Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF President and Director-Counsel

Joy-Ann Reid, MSNBC National Correspondent and Author of “Fracture”

Christopher Oechsli, President & Chief Executive Officer, Atlantic Philanthropies

Darren Walker, President, the Ford Foundation; and Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF President and Director-Counsel

Janai Nelson, LDF Associate Director-Counsel; and Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF President and Director-Counsel

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr., 82nd Attorney General of the United States

Darren Walker, President, the Ford Foundation

Ted Wells, LDF Board Member; and Lisa Boykin, Associate Principal Counsel, Legal Affairs at Disney ABC Television

Jamar Roberts, Alvin Ailey Dancer

Linda Celeste Sims, Alvin Ailey Dancer

Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation; and Ted Shaw, Former LDF President and Director-Counsel

Elaine Jones, Former LDF President and Director-Counsel; Jack Greenberg, Former LDF Director-Counsel; and Debby Greenberg, wife of Jack Greenberg

Judith Byrd, LDF Board; Angela Vallot, LDF Board

Richard Parsons; Thelma Golden

Jonathan Capehart; Joy-Ann Reid; Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF President and Director-Counsel

Jack Greenberg, Former LDF Director-Counsel and wife, Debby Greenberg

Janai Nelson, LDF Associate Director-Counsel; The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.; Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF President and Director-Counsel

Dr. Sharon Malone; Ted Shaw, Former LDF President and Director-Counsel; Angela Vallot, LDF Board

Frank Ahimaz; Guest

Seth Bryant, Bryant Rabbino; Jeremy Harris, Praxair; Khary Lazarre-White

Ted Shaw, Former LDF President and Director-Counsel; Gail O'Neal

Susan Fales-Hill; Jacqueline Nickelberry

Elizabeth Alexander; Thelma Golden

Darrell Gay; Lisa Davis; Guest

Guest; Pamela Newkirk

Crystal McCrary, Award-winning film and television producer, director, and author; Raymond J. McGuire, Global Head, Corporate and Investment Banking, Citigroup

Christina Swarns, LDF Director of Litigation; Jin Hee Lee, LDF Deputy Director of Litigation

Star Jones; Keli Goff

Seth Bryant; Janai Nelson, LDF Associate Director-Counsel

Valencia Macon, Head of US M & A Legal of Siemens; Lu-Shawn Thompson; Kenneth Thompson, Brooklyn District Attorney; Ackneil ("Trey") Muldrow III

Former Governer Deval Patrick; Guest

Guest; The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.; Dr. Sharon Malone; Ken Jarvis; Dennis Obregon

Angela Vallot, LDF Board; Judith Byrd, LDF Board

Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis

Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF President and Director-Counsel

Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF President and Director-Counsel

Dr. Janet Dewart Bell

LDF @ 75

Joy-Ann Reid

NEJAD Guest Texting Her Pledge to LDF

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.; Darren Walker

Raymond McGuire; Dr. Sharon Malone

Ken Thompson, Brooklyn District Attorney; Ted Wells, LDF Board Member

Guest; Mary Bonauto

Christopher Williams; Lydia Mallett

Fred Terrell; James Basker

Alexandra C. Trower; Gladstone N. Jones, III

Gayle King; Nina Wells

Susan Fales-Hill; Darren Walker; David Monn

Guest; Robert Battle

Jonathan Soros; Guest

Elaine Jones, Former LDF President and Director-Counsel; David Kendall

Darren Walker; Tony Coles

Gwen Adolph

Elizabeth Alexander; Charles Hamilton; Isabel Wilkerson, 1994 Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist

Guests

Reginald M. Rasch, Rakuten Marketing; Ackneil ("Trey") Muldrow III, Akin Gump; Lucas Torres, Akin Gump

Darrel Gay; Ted Shaw, Former LDF President and Director-Counsel; The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Nina Wells; Gabriella Morris, LDF Board

 Lisa Boykin; Natasha Korgaonkar, LDF Assistant Counsel

Robert Battle

Alexandra C. Trower; Angela Vallot, LDF Board; Guest

Ivo Knobloch; Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF President and Director-Counsel

Christopher Oechsli; Guest

Marva Smalls; Carol Sutton Lewis

Angela Vallot, LDF Board; Guest

Star Jones; Alana Morales

Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF President and Director-Counsel; Star Jones; Alana Morales

Robyn Coles; Gwen Adoph; Guest

Robyb Coles; Tony Coles; Gwen Adolph; Guest

Bruce Gordon; Tawana Tibbs

Nyasha Laing, LDF Communications Consultant; Kathryn Bowser, LDF Art Director; Michele Linton, LDF Director of Data /Donor Service Department, Developement 

Monique Dixon, Deputy Policy Director and Senior Counsel; Samantha Erskine, Senior Director of DevelopmentJanai Nelson, LDF Associate Director-Counsel

Janai Nelson, LDF Associate Director-Counsel; The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Melanie Berdecia; Marissa Alter-Nelson; Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF President and Director-Counsel; Maria Melendez

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.; Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF President and Director-Counsel

Eleanor Applewhaite; Guests

Room Shot

Room Shot

President Darren Walker, who accepted the National Equal Justice Award on behalf of the Ford Foundation, called racial discrimination and the persistence of poverty the “twin scourges” of inequality. However, he said, the work of LDF, its leadership, and Ford’s long relationship with the organization, motivated him to be optimistic about the future.

Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of LDF thanked LDF’s longstanding generous patrons, including the late philanthropist William Scheide and the board of directors of LDF, for making it possible for LDF to defend the rights of its clients and pursue transformative justice. She also spoke of growing support by funders – including Atlantic Philanthropies and the Ford Foundation – for the LDF’s groundbreaking, interdisciplinary policy reform, research, and strategic communications work, facilitated through its Thurgood Marshall Institute. Ifill also announced the establishment of an Eric Holder Fellowship that will enable a new generation of lawyers to join LDF's ranks. “Last night, our guests felt that they were part of something transformative, exciting, and essential for our country,” said Sherrilyn Ifill.

The evening’s crowning moment was Eric Holder’s acceptance of the Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award. Serving as a legal intern with LDF in his early career brought him in the company of lawyers who followed in Thurgood Marshall's footsteps, said Holder in accepting the award, and reinforced his sense of humility and commitment to civil rights work. Holder cited discrimination and criminal justice reform as the unfinished legacy of the civil rights movement and credited LDF as a key catalyst for fostering a “beloved community” in full support of equal rights and justice. “In the history of this organization, every generation is tested and called upon to make real the promise of our democracy,” said Holder. “We must honor those who sacrificed so much so that we might enjoy that which they were cruelly denied. I accept this honor and pledge my desire to work with all of you and this essential and beloved organization in the effort to guarantee for our fellow citizens a nation that lives up to its founding doctrines.”

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The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is not a part of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) although LDF was founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. Since 1957, LDF has been a completely separate organization. Please refer to us in all media attributions as the “NAACP Legal Defense Fund” or “LDF”.