The Thurgood Marshall Forum/Constitution Week took place at Emmanuel Baptist Church on Thursday, September 19 to a full sanctuary.
The keynote address was delivered by Jacqueline A. Berrien, chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Ms. Berrien was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009 to lead the commission.
The event also featured remarks by Kenneth Thompson, Esq., and an educational community of inquiry comprising: Dr. Lester Young, Jr., chair, NYS Regents Committee on Higher Education; Dr. Esmeralda Simmons, Esq., executive director, Center for Law and Social Justice; Mr. Leonard Britton, president, NY State Association of Minority Contractors; Jalani Ramsey, executive officer, Guns Down. Professor Roger Green was the evening’s host. There was a special reading by playwright J.E. Franklin and a performance of musical interludes by The Daughters of Judah. Councilwoman Letitia James, in photo on left, in the running for Public Advocate of the City of New York, honored Ms. Berrien with a Proclamation.
The DuBois-Bunche Center for Public Policy and the Medgar Evers College Department of Public Administration also were sponsors. The annual Public Policy Forum, named in honor of Justice Thurgood Marshall, will encourage a school and community-wide discourse on the status of the civil and voter rights covenants inherent in the Constitution.
The forum serves as a collaboration between the NAACP student chapter at Medgar Evers College, the Center for Law and Social Justice, the Brooklyn Chapter of the NAACP, the DuBois-Bunche Center for Public Policy, the Center for Black Literature and the American Democracy Project.
Thurgood Marshall, the great-grandson of slaves, was the first African-American justice appointed to the United States Supreme Court, where he served from 1967 to 1991. Earlier in his career, Marshall was a pioneering civil rights attorney who successfully argued the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education (a major step in the fight to desegregate American schools). The 1954 Brown decision is considered one of the most significant civil rights victories of the 20th century.