On September 16, 2017, the Terence Crutcher Foundation will present their Inaugural Memorial Gala themed “From Pain to Purpose”. This day will commemorate the one year anniversary of Terence Crutcher’s death. The featured keynote speaker for the gala will be Sherrilyn Ifill, President & Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. A host of Community Leaders and Activists will be honored including, Civil Rights Icon, Reverend Al Sharpton, Founder and President of the National Action Network. Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump with the Ben Crump Law Firm and host of television show “Evidence of Innocence” will emcee the event. The Gala will kick off with a social hour which will include a red carpet photo shoot and silent auction. One of the featured items to be auctioned will be the 2017 NBA MVP Russell Westbrook’s autographed jersey donated by Russell Westbrook himself, to benefit the foundation.
Sherrilyn Ifill is the seventh President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. Ms. Ifill is a long-time member of the LDF family. After graduating law school, Ifill served first as a fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union and then for five years as an assistant counsel in LDF’s New York office, where she litigated voting rights cases. Among her successful litigation was the landmark Voting Rights Act case Houston Lawyers’ Association vs. Attorney General of Texas, in which the Supreme Court held that judicial elections are covered by the provisions of section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
In 1993, Ms. Ifill joined the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Law, where, in addition to teaching Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law and variety of seminars, she continued to litigate and consult on a broad and diverse range of civil rights cases while grooming the next generation of civil rights lawyers. In addition to teaching in the classroom, Ms. Ifill launched several innovative legal offerings while at Maryland Law School, including an environmental justice course in which students represented rural communities in Maryland, and one of the first legal clinics in the nation focused on removing legal barriers to formerly incarcerated persons seeking to responsibly re-enter society. From her base in Baltimore, Ifill emerged as a highly regarded national civil rights strategist and public intellectual whose writings, speeches and media appearances enrich public debate about a range of political and civil rights issues.
A critically acclaimed author, her book “On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century,” reflects her lifelong engagement in and analysis of issues of race and American public life. Ifill's scholarly writing has focused on the importance of diversity on the bench, and she is currently writing a book about race and Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Ifill is the immediate past Chair of the Board of U.S. Programs at the Open Society Institute, one of the largest philanthropic supporters of civil rights and social justice organizations in the country.
Ms. Ifill is a graduate of Vassar College, and received her J.D. from New York University School of Law.
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