By Mary Margaret Giannini, JBA Law Day Committee
The Jacksonville Bar Association is continuing its annual tradition of celebrating Law Day.
Law Day was instituted by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1958 and codified by Congress in 1961. Law Day encourages all citizens to honor the United States’ commitment to the rule of law.
This year’s Law Day theme is “Your Vote – Your Voice – Our Democracy.” It celebrates the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.
In recognition of the importance of the right of franchise for all, the JBA Law Day Committee will have a variety of activities in support of the official May 1 Law Day commemoration.
However, given the current events in our country and around the world, some of these events will be later this year to provide all with an opportunity to celebrate Law Day.
Check the JBA website, jaxbar.org, for rescheduled events and additional information.
The JBA Law Day Luncheon is scheduled May 6 at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.
Former state Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince will share her reflections about how the 19th Amendment has helped advance democracy for all Americans.
At the luncheon, the JBA will announce and honor this year’s recipient of the Liberty Bell Award. It recognizes outstanding service performed by a nonlawyer who has given time and energy to help foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the law and our legal community.
Further advancing Law Day’s theme of how a larger electorate enhances American democracy, in late February, Jacksonville volunteer attorneys spent time with elementary school students discussing the 19th Amendment and the importance of franchise for all American citizens.
Based on the students’ increased knowledge regarding the 19th Amendment, they created posters which will be posted on the JBA website.
We encourage all attorneys and members of the public to visit the website and vote for your favorite poster. Awards will be presented to the winning students and the top posters will be displayed later this year at the Duval County Courthouse when the traveling exhibit celebrating the 19th Amendment is installed.
We encourage you to vote now as we would like to award the students with their prizes during this school year.
A group of area legal organizations, as well as the JBA, were able to secure the display of the traveling 19th Amendment exhibit from the Law Library of Congress. Titled “100 Years After the 19th Amendment: Their Legacy, and Our Future,” the exhibit features historic photos and details the battle to ratify the 19th Amendment and the challenges that remain. This exhibition is postponed until September.
The annual Law Week naturalization ceremony at the Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse will be rescheduled for later this year.
The Law Week Committee also coordinates a number of fundraising activities. We have postponed the charitable activities, and intend to reschedule them in conjunction with the other events in September.
We will collect art supplies to be donated to local elementary schools, as well as a drive to collect toiletries for Downtown Ecumenical Services. It is anticipated that these facilities may be in even greater need in a few months. We hope that our legal community will help to support both drives.
Also, the annual Rendezvous on the Rooftop that benefits Dreams Come True will be rescheduled. The evening includes food, festivities and a raffle. Proceeds from the event benefit Dreams Come True, a Jacksonville nonprofit that grants wishes to terminally ill children.
For additional information about the drives and the Rendezvous on the Rooftop, check the JBA website and social media pages. We will update all with information as it becomes available.
Mary Margaret Giannini is an associate general counsel for the City of Jacksonville.