The Edwards Wildman New York Diversity and Inclusion Committee hosted a Distinguished Speaker Series event with a keynote address by Donita Judge, project director of the Advancement Project, on October 29. The event featured a discussion of the impact of the Supreme Court's decision repealing the heart of the Voting Rights Act as well as the steps being taken to protect the rights of voters.
Judge has been an attorney in Advancement Project’s Power and Democracy Project since 2004 and served as the project director for her organization’s “Redistricting for an Inclusive Democracy Project.” During this redistricting cycle, Judge partnered with communities of color in Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Virginia to support building power through redistricting in these communities. Judge is also Advancement Project’s lead attorney for the state of Ohio and has challenged barriers to the ballot in every Ohio election since 2004. She has provided extensive testimony on voter suppression tactics during Ohio elections, including the state’s overuse and rejection of provisional ballots. In 2008, Judge’s advocacy resulted in Ohio issuing a key directive requiring voters receive due process before their removal from the voter rolls.
Edwards Wildman is committed to a diverse, inclusive culture for its attorneys and staff. The firm believes every person deserves a fair, merit-based opportunity for advancement and professional excellence. Edwards Wildman also understands that the development and retention of a diverse workforce strengthens its global business capabilities and leads to the best solution for the firm's clients. Edwards Wildman’s firm-wide Teamwork & Diversity Committee (TDC) provides leadership for its long-term efforts to enhance diversity within the firm. The TDC is charged with establishing policies that promote and support diversity and teamwork, and devising strategies and tactics to effectuate those policies. To support local initiatives, Edwards Wildman has also formed Diversity Committees in each of the firm’s offices.
Advancement Project is a multi-racial civil rights organization. Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project was created to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras. From Advancement Project's inception, the organization has worked "on-the-ground," helping organized communities of color dismantle and reform the unjust and inequitable policies that undermine the promise of democracy. Simultaneously, Advancement Project has aggressively sought and seized opportunities to promote this approach to racial justice.