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GABWA is a bar association formed in 1981 to serve the needs and interests of black women attorneys.
We provide an informed and reliable voice through which the needs of black women lawyers and the black community at large may be articulated.
GABWA includes judges, law students, professors, deans, government and public interest lawyers, television stars, state bar attorneys, in-house attorneys from small, mid-sized and Fortune 500 corporations, solo/small firm lawyers, and large firm lawyers.
GABWA's mission statement is as follows: The Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys is a voluntary bar organization that nurtures, supports and galvanizes the power of Black women attorneys, advocates for women and children and empowers our communities.
It is more than an honor and distinct pleasure to greet you as the 2014 president of The Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys. But, let me be clear. This year is not about me. This is about us. GABWA has been blessed to grow to more than 650 members strong across the state of Georgia. We have chapters in Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Savannah and Albany.
We are stronger together.
This year we will focus on “Honoring Our Past…Envisioning Our Future.” In order for us to move forward we must know and learn from our past. Knowing our past enables us to have a clear vision for our future. With clear vision, we will shine brighter than the brightest beacon on top of a hill because we know (1) who we are, (2) where we have been and (3) where we are going. In 2014 we will continue to fulfill GABWA’s mission of nurturing, supporting and galvanizing the power of black women attorneys, advocating for women and children and empowering our communities.
1. We will nurture, support and galvanize the power of black women attorneys.
We will use technology to bridge the gap to our regions and beyond. This month, we will unveil a new interactive website that features a media center, legislative updates, webinar capabilities, video messaging and an online directory.
Additionally, it has come to our attention that an alarming number of first-generation minority lawyers are being disbarred. I am a first-generation college graduate. I know how it feels to not have all of the answers. I know how it feels to be the first. But your present circumstances do not determine where you can go, they merely determine where you start. No woman or man is an island. We need each other.
We are stronger together.
GABWA is in the business of solutions. We will work closely with the State Bar of Georgia to provide resources for solo/small firm owners. We will host a Solo/Small Firm Symposium in September to make sure our members have the tools and resources to succeed in the practice of law.
2. We will advocate for women and children.
If you support women and children then you are a friend of GABWA. Please join us in our efforts this year. We need your support.
Our political action committee is up and running at full speed. It is our mission to guarantee that more black women ascend to the bench. We need women of color engaged in politics and minority women in leadership roles. It is imperative that our voices are heard. It is necessary that we have a seat at the table. We must be a part of the conversation. Our membership is diverse and well qualified. We must support each other and go out and share the good news of GABWA.
We are stronger together.
GABWA: What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Would your run for a judgeship and not passively sit by and hope for an appointment? Would you decide to seek an elected office in order to effect social change? Would you commit to partnership track at your firm knowing that it is possible to do so and be a wife and mother? GABWA, it time for us to have this conversation. Please let me know how I may be of service to you. This is the magic of GABWA. She allows us to dream BIG!
3. We will empower our communities.
This year GABWA will partner with Families First, a non-profit organization that strives to “ensure the success of children in jeopardy by empowering families.” Please visit www.familiesfirst.org to learn more about our sister organization and contact our community service chair Tawanna Morgan at email@example.com to get involved.
The Sankofa bird at the bottom of the front page of this newsletter represents the idea of looking back in order to move forward. The jewel in the bird’s mouth symbolizes the wisdom that the elders pass on to the future. This symbol is most fitting for our focus this year of honoring GABWA’s past while envisioning GABWA’s future. This year, through the Herstory Project, we will complete a documentary on the history of GABWA. We will record our history so that those behind us will be able to honor their past while moving forward.
Please join us in our efforts. We need your time and talents to move our great organization forward. We are all stronger together. Please let me know how you would like to be involved in 2014.
I look forward to being of service to you.
Tracee R. Benzo
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