In a celebration of the culture and heritage of the African-American community during Black History Month, the Nassau County Courts Black History Committee in tandem with the Amistad Long Island Black Bar Association honored several African-American judges and attorneys for their work in the justice system at the New York State Supreme Court in Mineola this past Friday afternoon.
The ceremony was held on the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, grouping various political leaders, community members and the Dutch Broadway Elementary School Select Chorus to perform.
Michele M. Woodard, the first black female Supreme Court Justice of New York’s 10th Judicial District, was the first scheduled to be honored — unbeknownst to her. After the “shock” of the announcement Woodard accepted her speech while paying it forward to the younger generation in attendance.
“Everyone benefits from learning Black history,” Woodard said. “My young people: without programs like this you might never have known who these leaders are… and you can be one too.”
Described as “quintessential, compassionate and efficient” by District Court Judge Tricia M. Ferrell county clerk specialist Cheryl Davis’s claim to fame is “embodying the character traits that all professionals should have.”
Davis was honored with the Longevity and Endurance Award.
As recipient of the Amistad Presidential Award, attorney Frederick K. Brewington was clear on his intent for a different future for minorities in contemporary society.
“We are on the precipice of making a difference in a world that desperately requires us to make a difference,” Brewington said.
Special attention was later devoted to New York State Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages and Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages. As minority leaders, their presence at the ceremony and work done especially for New York youth did not go unnoticed.
Becoming a prominent member of district 22 at the age of 27, Solages was introduced to the younger audience to inspire the future generation’s success.
The overriding message carried through the celebration was an acknowledgement of the advancement of the black community, with the understanding that there is still more work to be done.
“Law is like religion on Sunday,” said Judge Jerald Carter, who co-chaired the event. “Historic events have put us in the position we are in today.”