What does the 14th Amendment mean to you?
That isn’t a political discourse –– it’s the question the American Bar Association is posing for Law Day and The Jacksonville Bar Association is stepping up to the challenge.
Law Day is presented May 1 every year by the ABA to celebrate the role of law in our society and to cultivate a deeper understanding of the legal profession.
This year’s theme –– “The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy” –– is an opportunity to explore the many ways the amendment has reshaped American law and society.
The JBA Law Week Committee hosts several community service events in April and May to foster legal knowledge, camaraderie and the spirit of giving in the legal profession.
Citizenship Day, April 15, is a free workshop at Florida Coastal School of Law where attorneys, law students and volunteers provide assistance to lawful permanent residents interested in becoming U.S. citizens.
Our newest citizens-to-be receive free legal help from attorneys, including ensuring the applicant is eligible, legal advice on their particular case, application preparation and referral to pro bono agencies if any issues arise.
The event is coordinated with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.
Naturalization training is available. Email [email protected] for volunteer opportunities and details.
Swearing the oath of allegiance at a naturalization ceremony and receiving a certificate of naturalization is the last step on the path to citizenship.
Though the courthouse hosts a monthly ceremony, the Law Day naturalization ceremony on April 27 is special.
The presiding judge delivers a speech expounding upon the year’s theme, Bar associations are invited to attend and a speaker is asked to share her or his story of naturalization with their new fellow Americans.
Most ceremonies are open to guests. If you have not attended one, you should.
When the oldest and youngest applicants stand to be recognized as new citizens, you can’t help but gain a sense of respect for those going through the citizenship process and be grateful for the country that welcomes them.
In case you were wondering if the JBA lets loose at all for Law Day, check out the Rendezvous on the Rooftop (formerly Rendezvous on the River) charity fundraiser at Intuition Ale Works at 5:30 p.m. April 20.
While great views, beer, food and company are nice, the highlight of the event is the charity it benefits. All proceeds benefit Dreams Come True, Northeast Florida’s only wish-granting nonprofit.
If you are unfamiliar with the organization’s work, I encourage you to visit dreamscometrue.org and learn more about how you can help grant a child’s wish.
Register at jaxbar.org for a reduced entry fee or pay $25 at the door for two beers, food provided by Black Sheep restaurant, raffle tickets and more.
Email Megan Moon, [email protected], for sponsorship opportunities and details.
The lessons of democracy are best learned young, which is why the JBA doesn’t forget schools when hosting Law Week events.
Each year, the Law Week Committee conducts a poster contest at elementary schools and the judges are, well, judges.
The posters, crafted around the Law Day theme, line the walls at the Duval County Courthouse each year. Visit the courthouse to vote for your favorite and see what the 14th Amendment means to students.
The Law Week Committee also hosts an arts and toiletries supply drive, this year benefiting West Riverside Elementary School and Downtown Ecumenical Services.
Watch for bins at your firm or business and bring in all the supplies and toiletries you can donate.
If you still haven’t had enough by the time May rolls around, there’s the Law Day proclamation by Mayor Lenny Curry and the Law Week luncheon when the Liberty Bell Award for outstanding service is awarded to one of our community’s finest.
Have you figured out what the 14th Amendment means to you? Support, donate and attend one of our Law Week events to find out.
After all, it’s your right.