WASHINGTON, D.C., June 15, 2018 – Alliance for Justice is pleased to announce that it will honor advocates for the rights of women and workers with Champion of Justice Awards at its Justice First! Luncheon June 18 in Washington, D.C. The event will be keynoted by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and will be held at the Hyatt Regency Washington.
“Our AFJ Justice First! Luncheon is going to be unique and especially timely this year,” said Nan Aron, President of Alliance for Justice. “We are thrilled to be joined by Sen. Gillibrand as we honor individuals who are fighting for the rights of women workers and are on the front lines of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements combating sexual harassment and assault. We’re also giving a lifetime achievement award to a greatly admired colleague, Mike Trister, an attorney who has dedicated his legal career to the rights of workers and social justice organizations. These brave individuals remind us why we fight every day for a fair and accessible justice system.”
This year’s recipients of Champions of Justice Awards are Mónica Ramírez, co-founder and President, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (National Farmworker Women’s Alliance), who has long advocated with and for female farm workers; Diana Ramirez, Deputy Co-Director and Venorica Tucker, longest serving female member of Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, who are working to improve the lives of restaurant and low-wage workers nationally; and Julie Kushner, Director, United Auto Workers Region 9A (UAW) and Cera Fisher, member, UAW, Local 6950, who are fighting for workplace protections for graduate students.
Mr. Trister, the recipient of AFJ’s Lifetime Achievement Award, is a partner at Trister, Ross, Schadler & Gold and has five decades of experience as a counsel, professor, and mentor in the area of nonprofit law. From his groundbreaking work to transform poverty law practice in 1960s Mississippi while working at North Mississippi Rural Legal Services, to his extensive ties to grassroots organizing, Mr. Trister is a strong voice for social action and racial equity.
“Working families are the backbone of our society, yet they have had to fight for their rights every step of the way,” said Mr. Trister. “I’m honored to share a commitment to workers’ rights with this year’s Champions of Justice. I’m also honored to receive AFJ’s Lifetime Achievement Award because we’ve been in the fight for social justice together for many years now, and rarely have we seen a political climate that cries out for social justice advocacy more than the one we are in today.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is well known for her tenacious advocacy for women’s rights and for her work combating sexual assault, even before the birth of the #MeToo movement. Earlier this year, GQ magazine observed, “No politician in Washington has a longer and stronger track record of working on those issues.”
“We’ve seen over the last year that workplace sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination are far more pervasive than many people realized. We all have a role to play in making our country fairer, and by raising our individual voices when we see injustices happening around this, we can change society to be more just,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I am honored to stand with these extraordinary women and men who are fighting to make our workplaces safe for everyone, and I am proud to support the work that Alliance for Justice is doing to fight back against workplace discrimination.”
AFJ is proud to recognize the selfless and courageous work of this year’s award winners.
Past recipients of the Champion of Justice Award include Mary McClymont, former President and CEO of the Public Welfare Foundation; attorney Dean Strang; Judge Shira Scheindlin; Judge Abner Mikva; Judge Pat Wald; Sen. Dick Durbin; Sen. Chuck Schumer; Rep. John Lewis; Kate Michelman; and more. This year’s Justice First! Luncheon will be the 39th annual event.