Category Archives: Press Releases

March 5, 2015 – Metropolitan Black Bar Association of New York City (“MBBA”) Announces its 2015 Anniversary Awards Gala Honorees

MBBA President, Taa R. Grays, announces that the MBBA will hold its Thirty-First Anniversary Awards Gala on Friday, May 15, 2015 at Pier Sixty in New York, NY. The theme of the Gala is “Empowering Community. Engaging Leadership. Ensuring Justice.” Rhonda Joy McLean, Deputy General Counsel of Time, Inc. and Jeremiah A. DeBerry, Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Mayer Brown will serve as Honorary Co-Chairs of the MBBA Gala.

In addition to the President, the MBBA Gala Committee members include Christine Appah, Jason Clark, Paula Edgar, George Flowers, Luwick Francois, Hon. Cheryl L. Gonzales, Co-Chair of the Gala Committee, Erica Holder, Wayne McKenzie, Kersuze Morancy, Zalika Pierre, Sheronda C. Rochelle, LaKisha Spence and Hon. Alvin M. Yearwood, Co-Chair of the Gala Committee.

The 2015 MBBA Annual Gala Honorees are as follows:

TRAILBLAZER OF THE YEAR:

Michele Roberts, Executive Director

National Basketball Player’s Association

PRIVATE PRACTITIONER OF THE YEAR:

Ackneil “Trey” M. Muldrow III, Partner

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

CORPORATE COUNSEL OF THE YEAR:

Reginald Rasch, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary

Rakuten Marketing

PUBLIC SERVANT OF THE YEAR:

Eric Adams, Borough President of Brooklyn, New York City

BAR LEADERS OF THE YEAR:

Zenith Taylor, President

Queens County Women’s Bar Association

Dawn Reid-Green, President

State Island Women’s Bar Association

MEMBER OF THE YEAR:

Greg Harmon (Posthumously), Past President

Bronx Black Bar Association

For more information on this event, or to schedule an interview with MBBA President Taa R. Grays,please contact Kersuze Morancy at info@mbbanyc.org. For sponsorship inquiries, please contact the Gala Committee at gala@mbbanyc.org.

Metropolitan Black Bar Association Calls for Change: Demands Dan Donovan, the Staten Island District Attorney Be Transparent in the Grand Jury Trial of Eric Garner

New York, NY — The Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA) joins the National Bar Association (NBA) in questioning how a Staten Island Grand Jury, considering the evidence presented before them, could reach the conclusion not to indict Daniel Pantaleo, a New York Police Officer involved in the death of Eric Garner.

On July 17, 2014, a video recorded by a bystander shows Officer Pantaleo placing a chokehold around Garner's neck with his arm, while trying to restrain Garner with other officers. In the video, once he was restrained on the ground during the arrest, Garner can be heard telling officers, "I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”

"The decision by the Staten Island Grand Jury brings a great level of disappointment, as justice for yet another black unarmed male goes unanswered," stated Pamela Meanes, President of the NBA. "Within a week, this country has now been devastated with the lack of addressing issues of inequality and racial bias in policing, the justice system, and violence against members of minority communities,” says President Meanes.

How can a grand jury not indict on the charges presented by the prosecutor where a primary part of the evidence is video showing a police officer employing a tactic that is banned by his department specifically because of its potential lethality? "The citizens of the City of New York and the Nation understandably question how the District Attorney's office handled the investigation and presentment of this matter to the grand jury," questions Taa Grays, President of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association.

In the wake of the Garner decision, the Ferguson decision last week, and the killing of yet another innocent and unarmed black man by a rookie NYPD officer in the stairwell of his Brooklyn residence, the MBBA is deeply concerned. Together with the NBA, we question whether, under the current legal standard, a victim of excessive and/or deadly force by the hands of a police officer in America can receive fair and equal justice.

“These actions also speak to the ongoing demonization of the black male by certain segments of our society whereby our fathers, brothers and sons are perceived as a threat first and a human being last, President Grays added. “While ultimately we aspire to a place of mutual understanding and respect, clearly that must be preceded by accountability”.

The MBBA is calling on Dan Donovan to continue to release information as authorized by the New York State Supreme Court about the matter including the transcript and the exhibits on the Eric Garner Case. Local district attorneys like Staten Island’s Daniel Donovan, who presented the evidence in this case, are too close to law enforcement to effectively handle such cases. An independent prosecutor would significantly increase the public confidence in grand jury decisions. MBBA stands ready and is committed to continue to fight for change, and reform including the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate cases of police killings of civilians.

About the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA):

The Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA), a unified citywide association of over 1000 African-American and other minority lawyers members and supporters, who advance equality and excellence in the pursuit of justice, aid the progress of Blacks and other minorities in the profession, address legal issues affecting the citywide community, and foster the study of law by encouraging the personal and professional development of young lawyers and law students.

Joint Diverse Bar Association Judicial Screening Panel

The Joint Diverse Bar Association Judicial Screening Panel (the “Panel”) has interviewed and rated judicial candidates nominated by the New York State Commission on Judicial Nominations to fill the vacancy on the New York State Court of Appeals created by the retirement of Associate Judge Carmen B. Ciparick. The Panel was comprised of members of various affinity bar associations including the Asian American Bar Association of New York, the Association of Black Women Attorneys, the Black Bar Association of Bronx County, the Dominican Bar Association, the Korean Lawyers Association of Greater New York, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association

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July 19, 2013 – The MBBA Urges DOJ to Take Action in Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case

The MBBA is committed to seeking justice and will lend its efforts to repeal Florida’s Stand Your Ground law and other laws like it.  We urge the U. S. Department of Justice to take immediate action and to file federal charges against George Zimmerman.  The MBBA is committed to seeking justice for Trayvon and will continue to work tirelessly to promote equal access to the law.

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April 8, 2013 – Hon. Sheila Abdus-Salaam Nominated as the First African-American Female Judge for the New York Court of Appeals

Justice Abdus-Salaam is a highly respected jurist who possesses an exemplary judicial record of achievement, fairness and justice.  We trust that she will continue to serve the citizens of the State of New York with excellence.  We congratulate Justice Abdus-Salaam in her accomplishments, which have led to this historic nomination.

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February 8, 2013 – The MBBA Annouces 2013 Annual Awards Gala Honorees

MBBA President, R. Nadine Fontaine, announces that the MBBA will hold its Twenty-Ninth Anniversary Awards Gala on Friday, May 10, 2013 at Gotham Hall in New York, NY.  The theme of the Gala is “Celebrating Visionaries and Leadership."

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January 20, 2012 – The MBBA Announces its 2012 Annual Awards Gala Honorees

MBBA President, Joseph M. Drayton, announces that the MBBA will hold its Twenty-Eighth Anniversary Awards Gala on Friday, May 18, 2012 at Gotham Hall in New York, NY. The theme of the Gala is “Making Your Mark: Leadership, Vision and Innovation".

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March 10, 2011 – The MBBA Announces its 2011 Annual Gala Honorees

MBBA President, Joseph M. Drayton, announces that the MBBA will hold its Twenty-Seventh Anniversary Awards Gala on Thursday, May 19, 2011 at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, New York.  The theme of the Gala is “Answering the Call to Lead."

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