36th National Equal Justice Awards Dinner

We Are All Brown

Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education

May 16, 2024
The Glasshouse
New York City

The National Equal Justice Awards Dinner, LDF’s signature event, is an opportunity to recognize and honor leaders in law, the arts, business, and philanthropy who have demonstrated a commitment to the promotion of racial justice and equality. The evening also serves as an opportunity to celebrate the tremendous civil rights work that has been accomplished by LDF over the past year. This year’s NEJAD was held on Thursday, May 16, 2024, at The Glasshouse in New York City. 

With the theme We Are All Brown, NEJAD 2024 celebrated the 70th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark case that transformed America and its enduring legacy. The event opened with a performance by Sing Harlem & Waverly Fredericks. The event featured a captivating performance by Grammy-nominated artist Aloe Blacc. Wendell Pierce served as the event’s host. Singer, songwriter, and social commentator Dara Starr Tucker joined the evening as LDF’s official red carpet correspondent. 

The event was attended by leaders in the civil rights, business and philanthropy communities, as well as luminaries including legendary actress Alfre Woodard, musician Jon Batiste, fashion designer Sergio Hudson, actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson. Former LDF client, author and criminal justice advocate Kemba Smith, and Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP plaintiff Taiwan Scott also attended the annual dinner. 

NEJAD 2024 Honorees

Ted Shaw
Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Recognition Award

Pioneering civil rights attorney and former LDF President and Director-Counsel Ted Shaw was awarded the Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Recognition Award, in recognition of his exceptional legal career, immeasurable contributions and dedication to LDF and the broader civil rights community. LDF President and Director-Counsel Janai Nelson, and former LDF President and Directors-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill and Elaine Jones presented the award and spoke of Mr. Shaw’s illustrious career and unrelenting commitment to LDF and civil rights. His eldest daughter Zora Shaw received the award on his behalf.

Tonya Lewis Lee and Spike Lee
Spirit of Justice Award

Tonya Lewis Lee and Spike Lee were awarded the Spirit of Justice Award in recognition of their decades-long commitment to advancing racial justice. Through their art and activism, they continue to uplift Black voices and Black stories in the service of civil rights. They and their work exemplify the power of storytelling in changing hearts and minds and the advancing racial justice and civil rights. Actress LaTanya Jackson introduced Tonya Lewis Lee.

Apple Racial Equity and Justice Initiative
National Equal Justice Award

Apple was awarded the National Equal Justice Award for its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative. The initiative’s mission to drive progress across education, economic empowerment and criminal justice reform. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder introduced Apple President and CEO Tim Cook.

NEJAD 2024 Sponsors

Presenting Sponsors


Thurgood Marshall Circle

Brent & Katie Gledhill

Justice Circle

Brenda Berry and Jonathan Lopatin
Kathy and Dick Fuld
Kim Koopersmith and Bill Borner
Angela Vallot and James Basker
Katie McGrath and J.J. Abrams Family Foundation

Leader Circle

Sidley Austin LLP

Benefactor Circle

Gwen and Gerald Adolph
Kathryn and Ken Chenault
Mrs. Robyn Coles and
Dr. N. Anthony Coles
Colleen Foster
The Gilford Family
Anne L. and David E. Kendall
Anne Small
Nina and Ted Wells

Patron Circle

Nancy and Chad Dickerson
Leslie Cornfeld and Jack Bigio
Michael Klein
Beth Lief and Michael Simonson
Karen M. and Timothy D. Proctor
Mrs. Billye Suber Aaron
Tawana Tibbs and Bruce Gordon



Goodwin Procter LLP


Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP

Kramer Levin Naftalis and Frankel

Major League Baseball

The Morrison & Foerster Foundation

National Basketball Association

Ropes and Gray LLP

The Scarlet Feather Fund

Symetra Life Insurance

Willkie Farr and Gallagher LLP

NEJAD 2023

The Future is Ours

The 35th NEJAD was held on May 3, 2023, at the Glasshouse in New York City. Honorees included pioneering Civil Rights Movement attorney Fred Gray; Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners Robert F. Smith; Nike, Jordan Brand, and Converse and Emerson Collective. The evening was hosted by ABC7 News Anchor Sade Baderinwa and featured performances by Brooklyn United Evolution Drumline, Alita Moses, and Ledisi. Legendary filmmaker Spike Lee, NBA star Carmelo Anthony, education pioneer Geoffrey Canada, and Earle, Arkansas Mayor Jaylen Smith presented the awards.

NEJAD 2022

Truth is Power

The 34th NEJAD was held at Jazz at Lincoln Center on May 10, 2022. Honorees included legendary musician and activist Stevie Wonder, journalist, professor, and author of The 1619 Project Nikole Hannah-Jones, and Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF’s former President and Director-Counsel. The evening also featured a special video message from former First Lady Michelle Obama, remarks by screen legend Rita Moreno, and performances by the Dance Theater of Harlem, Hailey Kilgore, and Stevie Wonder and John Legend