Yesterday, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs (WLC) hosted the 45th annual Wiley A. Branton Awards Luncheon in downtown Washington, D.C. , honoring law firms, lawyers and other individuals for their notable work in civil rights.
The luncheon’s namesake, Wiley A. Branton, was a civil rights attorney best known for his work to end segregation in Arkansas. He then led a distinguished career in government service, and actively promoted voting rights for African Americans. Later in his career, Branton served as the Dean of Howard Law School.
At the luncheon, Bruce Hubbard, a career employee of the U.S. Postal Service, was awarded the 2013 Alfred McKenzie Award. Granted annually in recognition of dedication and courage in producing significant civil rights victories, the Alfred McKenzie Award was awarded to Hubbard for his work on behalf of the Deaf and hard of hearing. Following the 2001 anthrax crisis, Hubbard represented himself and a class of fellow Deaf and hard of hearing workers challenging the U.S. Postal Service for failing to provide legally mandated sign language interpreters. In a lawsuit against the post office, Hubbard led the plaintiff class and was very involved in the negotiations. Represented by the WLC and Convington & Burling LLP, a settlement was reached providing for significant improvements in how the Postal Service communicated with its Deaf and hard of hearing employees, and Hubbard maintains an active presence in the prolonged proceedings.
Following a brief lunch, there was a video presentation that highlighted the work of the law firm Dickstein Shapiro LLP, which often partners with WLC. Under the guidance of named partner Sidney Dickstein, the firm was recognized for its work with D.C. Public Schools, including the WLC’s D.C. Public School Partnership Program. Through this program, Dickstein Shapiro holds biweekly meetings with students to discuss current affairs, provides mentors to students, and provides coaches for the D.C.-wide High School Mock Trial tournament. For this incredible work, both Sidney Dickstein and Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools, were awarded the 2013 Vincent Reed Award, which honors individuals who devote their time to providing equal education opportunities for all students. (more…)