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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/18/2018

Contact: Michael Avitzur
Director of Government Relations
617-778-1942

2018 Beacon Awards to Honor Macey Russell, Yes on 3: Freedom for All Massachusetts and Vertex

The Boston Bar Association is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 Beacon Awards for Diversity & Inclusion. On December 6 at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, we will bring members of the legal community together for an evening of where we will celebrate progress and inspire future action. Guests at this year’s Beacon Award will help honor true leaders in diversity & inclusion, and celebrate with live music, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction.
The Beacon Award recognizes exceptional leaders working to illuminate a new path forward toward a more diverse and inclusive legal profession in Greater Boston.

Voice of Change Award
E. Macey Russell, Choate 

Macey Russell is a partner in Choate’s Litigation Department and sits on the firm’s Diversity Committee. He is regarded nationally as a thought leader on increasing diversity in the legal profession and frequently speaks at events and conferences on the subject. He is also a member of the advisory board of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, and a past member of the executive committee of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association. Russell has served as co-chair of the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Section and as a member of the section’s steering committee. As a steering committee member, he co-chaired a subcommittee on the diversity pipeline. Russell was also on the BBF Grants Committee from 2006 until 2010. In 2009, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly named him a “Diversity Hero.”

“I believe as a profession, we need to figure out how we value the different strengths and contributions that diverse people bring. I look forward to the Beacon Award ceremony as an opportunity to amplify that message and encourage others to step up and be heard on issues of diversity and inclusion,” Russell said.

The Voice of Change Award recognizes a luminary leader in the legal community who has forged a new path and played an extensive role in advancing diversity and inclusion within the profession.

Empowerment Award
Yes on 3: Freedom for All Massachusetts

The Yes on 3: Freedom for All Massachusetts coalition is the bipartisan campaign to uphold the state's law protecting transgender people from discrimination in public places, such as restaurants, retails shops, and medical offices. The protections, passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Baker in 2016, are now at risk, as the law is on the ballot for repeal in November 218. The coalition has launched a far-reaching public education campaign to inform voters about the facts of the issue; they are phone banking and canvassing multiple days per week, as well as utilizing social media and running ads in mainstream media outlets. There are more than 1,500 members of the coalition, including businesses, non-profits, colleges & universities, public officials, faith leaders, law enforcement, bar associations, domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy organizations, labor unions, and sports teams. The BBA is a member of the Coalition Leadership Committee, a group of 30 organizations with an elevated level of engagement in the campaign.
 
“As a coalition, our goal is to engage as many community leaders as we can in the fight to keep necessary legal protections for transgender individuals in place. By the time of the Beacon Award ceremony in December, I am hopeful that we will be able to say that Massachusetts stood up to defend transgender rights at the polls. In the meantime, we will continue to work tirelessly toward that end,” Yes on 3: Freedom for All Massachusetts Coalition Director and Suffolk Law School graduate Krina Patel said.

The Empowerment Award recognizes a powerful advocate working to create systemic change in the wider community, advancing civil rights, access to justice, and/or diversity and inclusion, and amplifying the voices of underrepresented groups.

Corporate Champion Award
Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Vertex is a global biotechnology company that has made diversity and inclusion an ongoing focus of its company culture and hiring practices. Employee Resource Networks are available to support and form connections between diverse employees, and leadership consults these networks when making decisions on policy related to diversity and inclusion. In 2017, Vertex celebrated its first Diversity Week, during which Employee Resource Networks collaborated with the company’s leadership to present workshops and activities. Employees were also encouraged to write personal messages about why diversity is important to them.

“As lawyers, we are trained to think around all perspectives. In its essence, that is diversity: to allow different points of view, from different backgrounds, to help make the best decision possible. We have a strong aspirational desire to be the best company on this front, and we are grateful to the BBA for recognizing these efforts,” Michael J. Parini, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal and Administrative Officer of Vertex, said.

The Corporate Champion Award recognizes an in-house legal department that has been a leader in internal and/or external projects and practices that promote a more diverse and inclusive legal profession.

Space is limited for this exciting event, and registration information will be available soon. For more information about this event and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Sarah McDonagh at smcdonagh@bostonbar.org or (617) 778-1932.

The Boston Bar Association traces its origins to meetings convened by John Adams, who provided pro bono representation to the British soldiers prosecuted for the Boston Massacre and went on to become the nation’s second president. Its mission is to advance the highest standards of excellence for the legal profession, facilitate access to justice, serve the community at large and promote diversity and inclusion.