There has never been a greater time in this country for civics, civility, and collaboration than now.
The discourse has grown significantly over the past decade. More often than not, civic debate and collaboration have taken a back seat to creating division, personal attacks and punchlines.
This year’s Law Day Theme, “Cornerstones of Democracy: Civics, Civility, and Collaboration,” could not have come at a better time.
The rule of law and democracy go hand-in-hand. No country can maintain the rule of law if its people do not respect the law. While we may not like the law, or agree with the law, we have to respect the law.
The way to change the law is through civic debate, exercising our fundamental right to vote, and the democratic process.
Law Day is celebrated every year throughout May all across the country. Law Day marks the celebration of the rule of law in our society since it was created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958.
Law Day programs are designed to help people better understand how the law protects our liberty and how our legal system strives to achieve justice.
Law Day has always been one of my favorite JBA events. Not only is it for the benefit of the bench and bar, but it also gives our community a better understanding of the importance of the rule of law.
Getting involved with the JBA and the Law Day committee made me realize the positive impact we can have on members of our community.
One of my favorite events to participate in has been the Naturalization Ceremony where individuals from dozens of countries become naturalized citizens of the United States.
It is a moving and emotional ceremony for the attendees and their families.
I will always remember when I spoke at the Law Day Naturalization Ceremony years ago. I spoke about how my family immigrated to the United States when I was 2 years old and we grew up with very little.
I spoke about the socioeconomic challenges we faced, overcoming those challenges and pursuing the American Dream.
Weeks after speaking at the Law Day Naturalization Ceremony, my family and I went out to dinner. One of our newest citizens who was naturalized at the Law Day Ceremony happened to be our server at the restaurant.
He recounted parts of my speech, described how his background and story were similar to my family’s and told me he hoped to achieve the same American Dream.
I would wholeheartedly encourage you to attend the next Naturalization Ceremony. It is an experience you will not forget.
Another highlight of Law Day is the elementary school poster contest. This is yet another example of the JBA collaborating with the community to promote the rule of law and the annual Law Day theme. The event includes volunteer attorneys discussing the Law Day theme with elementary school students and the students creating posters to interpret the Law Day theme.
There are many more Law Day events the JBA hosts to connect with our community including Edwards & Ragatz Law Day in May to benefit Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, an arts supply and toiletry drive to benefit a local elementary school, and Rendezvous on the Rooftop, a fundraiser to benefit a local nonprofit.
I want to thank our Law Day Committee Chair Alex Underkofler and the entire committee for the countless hours they have volunteered to make this a memorable year. I hope to see you at the upcoming events.
Fraz Ahmed is a partner Board Certified Trial Attorney at Coker Law and practices in the field of plaintiff personal injury including automobile accident, wrongful death, traumatic brain injury, premises liability, and negligent security.