“I am . . . because they were:
Reaffirming our commitment to Gate City in honor of those who came before us.”
Greetings! As the 2022 President of the Gate City Bar Association, it is my honor to welcome our new members and thank our current members for your continued support of our organization. Established in 1948, the Gate City Bar Association is the oldest African-American Bar Association in the State of Georgia. Our theme this year is: “I am . . . because they were: reaffirming our commitment to Gate City in honor of those who came before us.” Each of us are the embodiment of our Founders’ dreams and vision for Gate City. We, individually and collectively, have accomplished what we have today because our Founders established a clear mission that has been upheld and executed year after year by Past Presidents and members of Gate City. It states:
To create in the community a practical appreciation for the legal profession; to encourage persons of outstanding promise to attend first rate law schools and return to the communities that need their services most; to oppose arbitrary and capricious laws in our state with all the force and fiber of which we are capable as an organization; to uphold and extend the principles of justice in every phase of American life to the end that no one shall be discriminated against because of color, race, religious beliefs or national origin.
As we settle into 2022, we must evaluate how we can work together to fulfill the charge left by our Founders. We will resume some of the service-oriented programs that members have grown to love over the years. This includes our biannual participation in AVLF’s Saturday Lawyer Program – which we participated in on January 15, 2022, and will participate in again on August 13, 2022. We will also continue Gate City’s signature programs aimed at fulfilling the first two prongs of our Mission Statement. This includes the Community Law Clinic on May 21, 2022, the Summer Associate Program from May 31, 2022 – July 1, 2022, and the Justice Robert Benham Law Camp in June, 2022, just to name a few. Similarly, we will also continue Gate City L.E.A.D. started by Immediate Past-President, Candis R. Jones-Smith, as a means for all lawyers, regardless of age, experience or practice area, to cultivate leadership, foster a sense of belonging, and hone their legal expertise.
The third prong of our Mission Statement is evidenced by our commitment to keeping our members and community well-informed about voter-education events, recent legislative changes, and crucial election-related deadlines. The ballot box has and continues to be one of the strongest means to oppose arbitrary and capricious laws in our State. In that vein, on February 22, 2022, Gate City will be co-sponsoring a members-only event, The Black Roundtable – 2022 Legislative Reception. A few days later, on February 24, 2022, we will be hosting a virtual Black History Month panel discussion on recent history-making moments. This panel discussion will inspire all of us as change-makers to uphold and defend the principles of justice in every phase of our life so that no person faces the same systemic injustices that have plagued this country for centuries, as our Founders envisioned.
Next year, the Gate City Bar Association will celebrate its 75th Anniversary. We have persevered as an organization and the essence of our mission statement can still be seen today. I intend to stay the course and hold steadfast to the mission left by our Founders. And, the only thing that is missing is YOU! So, renew your membership or join Gate City on gatecitybar.org. I look forward to seeing you at our in-person and virtual events this year!
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