Over 400 members of the legal community were in attendance to celebrate the work of the Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) of the Bar Association of San Francisco on September 27 at JDC’s Annual Gala.
The gala raised more than $360,000 to support the Pro Bono Legal Services Program, Homeless Advocacy Project, Immigrant Legal Defense Program, and Diversity Educational Programs including Law Academy and the Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship program.
This year’s Gala Co-Chairs, David Kelly, General Counsel and Vice President, Basketball Legal Affairs for the Golden State Warriors, and Sara Finigan, Co-Managing Partner, Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass, set the tone for the evening by sharing their personal commitment to JDC’s work.
“Justice means to me fairness and equality,” said Kelly, “But fairness is based on one’s perspective. So, you can’t have a full perspective unless you have diversity. If you don’t have all the perspectives represented, then you will never have justice.”
Following introductory remarks by 2018 President Malcolm A. Heinicke, Su Yan Yu, a client of JDC’s Family Law Project, spoke next. Su shared how she got custody of her three-year-old daughter, thanks to her pro bono lawyer, Anne Fokstuen. She and her daughter now enjoy a safe life, and she hopes that more people will step up as Anne did to make all the difference in the world for newcomers to this country.
Kitty Zeng, a high school student who is part of Law Academy and spent her summer working as a fellow at the Bar Association of San Francisco, shared her experiences next. From learning about different types of law, to participating in meetings, Kitty sharpened her communication and public speaking skills this summer. In addition, Kitty noted that she learned the power of paying it forward: “I definitely want to give back by donating whatever I can. I want to be someone who gives back because I know what it’s like to not have much and how it feels when someone helps you out,” she said.
The evening ended with a dance party with DJ D Sharp, DJ to the Golden State Warriors.
To see more photos from the gala, visit our Facebook page.
For those not able to attend the Gala, hear the guest speakers’ stories first hand: Watch their videos below: