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The Florida Bar Path to Unity Program Highlights Trailblazing Diverse Lawyers

Path to Unity

The Florida Bar Diversity and Inclusion Committee is launching a new program featuring five trailblazing Florida lawyers whose significant contributions paved the way for others. The Path to Unity program will prominently display portraits of the lawyers during a year-long tour throughout Florida. The lawyers were selected based on their achievements championing race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability issues.

 

The Path to Unity exhibit, which includes commissioned portraits of the lawyers, will travel to courthouses statewide. Tours will be offered to middle and high school students and led by volunteer lawyers. Students will have the opportunity to discover the stories of the five lawyers alongside the history of the U.S. Constitution and its amendments, federal laws, and U.S. Supreme Court rulings. In addition, students will be encouraged to learn more about careers in the legal profession and their power to have a transformative and lasting impact on underrepresented communities, our rights, and our society.

 

The Path to Unity tour will launch on September 20, 2021, in Jacksonville, home of one of the featured lawyers, James Weldon Johnson. Other tour locations include courthouses in Orange County, Hillsborough County, St. Petersburg, Manatee County, Sarasota County, and Palm Beach County.

 

The esteemed lawyers being featured in the exhibit include:

 

  • James Weldon Johnson – the first Black person admitted to The Florida Bar through an individual examination who also wrote the hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing” in 1900 that became referred to as the Black national anthem
  • Anna Brenner Meyers – the founding member and first president of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers
  • Judge Mario Goderich – the first president of the Cuban American Bar Association and the first Hispanic/Cuban American to hold all of his judicial posts
  • Larry D. Smith – a tireless advocate for the LGBTQ community and the first openly gay member to serve on the Supreme Court Commission of Florida
  • James Kracht – a blind and fierce advocate for blind lawyers in Florida and past president of the Florida Council for the Blind, who helped organize The Florida Bar’s first CLE seminar about lawyers with disabilities 

 

“I am excited for the Path to Unity program to be showcased throughout our state,” said Starlett Massey, Founding Shareholder of Massey Law Group (MLG). “The Diversity and Inclusion Committee looks for meaningful ways to promote equality, and what better way than by inspiring young people through the legacies of respected lawyers who fought for and achieved lasting positive change.”

 

Starlett has served on The Florida Bar Diversity and Inclusion Committee since 2018. She is a co-author of the Path to Unity school presentation, a Co-Chair of the Get Involved Subcommittee that is assisting with the rollout of the statewide program, and a Co-Chair of the Pinellas County Path to Unity Committee. Starlett founded MLG around a commitment to justice and equality and the principles of diversity, inclusion, and equity. She regularly works with organizations to promote these beliefs.

 

For more information, to schedule the exhibit at your courthouse, or to support the Path to Unity and make a donation, please contact Tameika Wright, TFB Diversity & Inclusion Program Coordinator, at tawright@floridabar.org or Charlie Ann Syprett, CDI Chair, at csyprett@verizon.net or at (941)350-1089.

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