CBA Record March-April 2020
CBANEWS T he Dickerson Awards are presented to minority lawyers who honor the memory of Earl B. Dickerson 2020 Earl B. Dickerson Award Luncheon By Clare McMahon, CBA Editorial Board Member
by working to help others gain equality and justice, and the recipients who were honored in 2020 are excellent examples of his spirit. Earl Dickerson not only exemplified professional excellence, he is also a symbol of how amazing talent can break through racial prejudice, not only in the work one does, but also through the examples set in our communities. Dickerson not only challenged racial prejudice in the cases he took on, such as the U.S. Supreme Court case of Hansberry v. Lee (successfully challenging racially restrictive real estate covenants), but he also fostered and pro- tected black communities through other actions, including protection of the Burr Oak Cemetery. Dickerson also blazed a path for other minorities through his leadership in pro- fessional, corporate, civic, and political organizations, opening doors for others to shine their talents and prove their excel- lence in positions of power today. This year’s Dickerson Awards, held February 27, honored five lawyers: Nina Fain, G.A. Finch, Circuit Court Judge Cheyrl D. Ingram, Circuit Court Judge Dianne Shelley, and Retired Circuit Court Judge Anthony L. Young. It is hard to summarize the depth of talent that was on the stage at the awards program, with each recipient exemplifying human excellence and achievement. Their impressive professional and civic experi- ence certainly spoke to the quality of the honorees and to the level of lifetime excel- lence required to obtain this recognition. Recipients spoke of their passion for justice
It was a celebration of diversity and inclusion as five Chicago attorneys who have fought for justice and equality in the legal profession over the course of their careers were presented with The Chicago Bar Association’s distinguished Earl B. Dickerson Award. The Dickerson Award Luncheon, now in its 30th year, honors top attorneys in the name of Dickerson, one of the first African Americanmembers of the CBAwhose prestigious legal career wasmarked by his courage and dedication to making the law the key to justice for all of society. Pictured at the 2020 Dickerson Award Luncheon are (left to right) Cook County Circuit Court Judge Anthony L. Young (Ret.), G.A. Finch, Partner at Hoogendoorn & Talbot LLP, Nina Fain, Trust Counsel of JSS Family Trusts, CBA First Vice President Maryam Ahmad, CBA Past President and Dickerson Committee Chair Judge E. Kenneth Wright Jr., Cook County Circuit Court Judge Cheyrl D. Ingram, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Diane M. Shelley, and CBA Executive Direc- tor Terry Murphy.
is not in the glass-filled board rooms or stately courtrooms where hard work cul- minates, but in the seemingly mundane daily interactions we have with neighbors, community members, and colleagues. As recipient Nina Fain stated, “If you do not honor your community, it will not honor you.” In fact, in that spirit, attendees took the time at the end of the luncheon to recog- nize Bill Richert, the CBA’s long-standing photographer for the last three decades. Through his photographs, Bill has helped memorialize decades of legal talent and equality trail blazers.
and civic obligation and many humbly thanked those individuals and communi- ties that cared and fostered them through the hard times. Each honoree has blazed a trail through barriers that make their accomplishments even more impressive and hopefully make it easier for the world to see their many talents. The honorees and attendees also spoke personally of their memories of Dicker- son, mostly from when they were young lawyers, or growing up in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. These recol- lections are prescient reminders that small interactions in our communities help form the generations behind us. Our legacy
10 March/April 2020
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