Next generation of lawyers compete at Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights

 

What:     The 24th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major For Justice Advocacy Competition

Where:   Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne Law, 471 W. Palmer St., Detroit, MI 48202.

When:   Saturday, March 19, 2016, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Public Invited

The next generation of attorneys and judges will be honing their skills at the 24th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major For Justice Advocacy Competition. Eighty-two (82) student essays were submitted by 11th and 12th grade students from Metro Detroit area high schools to qualify for the competition. Six students from University High School Academy in Southfield, Southfield Lathrup and the Pontiac Academy for Excellence have been selected as finalist to compete in this exciting and worthwhile competition. The competition will take place at the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, the new permanent location for the competition.

Thanks to the generosity of a $100,000 endowment from Retired Magistrate-Judge Adrian Spinks, the 1st plaque has been renamed the A. Kay Stanfield Spinks Memorial Award of Excellence, and will be presented to the first place winner along with a cash award in the amount of $5,000.   A. Kay Stanfield Spinks was a co-founder and the second president of the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association and the creator of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Advocacy Competition.

Using the principles espoused by Dr. Martin Luther, King, Jr. the student are required to analyze an issue that relates directly to academic and/or societal realities that some students encounter each day. This year’s topic concerned the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The question:

The #BlackLivesMatter movement was created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. Many have criticized the #BlackLivesMatter movement for focusing on specific injustices done to African Americans stating there should be an #AllLivesMatter movement.

If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive, would he argue that Blacks should focus on the #AllLivesMatter movement to focus more globally and generally on all lives or would he support the #BlackLivesMatter movement?

The purpose of the MLK Advocacy Competition is to develop and improve the analytical and writing skills among high school students and to encourage and promote oral advocacy. A lawyer mentor will assist the finalist with preparing his/her oral presentation that is argued to a panel of judges from Michigan state and/or federal courts.

The lawyers serving as mentors are: Jehan Crump-Gibson, C&G Solutions PLC; Vassal N. Johnson II, Law Offices of Vassal N. Johnson II PLLC; Jeffrey Collins, Collins & Collins, P.C.; Earlene R. Baggett-Hayes – The Law & Mediation Center PLLC; Nikkiya Branch – The Perkins Law Group PLLC and Dawn Lee-Cotton, Wayne County.

Composing the three judge panel will be: Judge David Braxton, Chief Judge Pro Tem, Wayne County Probate Court, Judge Debra Nance, 46th District Court, Southfield and Judge Samir R. Hanna, Michigan Administrative Law.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major For Justice Advocacy Competition is a cooperative program by The D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, the Association of Black Judges of Michigan, and the Wolverine Bar Association and the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights. The membership of the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association and the Wolverine Bar Association primarily consists of African-American lawyers who practice in Oakland and Wayne counties. The membership of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan includes African-American judges presiding over courts throughout the State of Michigan. All three organizations endeavor to serve the communities where we live and work.

 

Contact: Michael K. Jackson, II, Chairperson,

Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Advocacy Competition Committee

Phone:   (248) 267-3202

Email:   jacksonm@millercanfield.com.

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