On December 16, 2014, the Anti-Defamation League recognized Lieff Cabraser partner Kelly M. Dermody with its Distinguished Jurisprudence Award at a gala luncheon in San Francisco. The award celebrated Dermody’s leadership and dedication to serving the public interest, improving access to justice, and ensuring that the rights of historically disenfranchised persons are protected. Lieff Cabraser Managing Partner and ADL New York regional board member Steven E. Fineman introduced and presented the award to Dermody.
In her remarks to the audience of judges, elected officials, community and nonprofit organization leaders, and attorneys, Dermody applauded ADL’s work combatting anti-Semitism and its goal of creating a world without hate. She observed the difficulty of achieving that ideal at a time when so many tragedies have been piling up across the country. She passionately called for the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and other unarmed African Americans to be “our wake-up call. We will be the generation that says ‘not one more.'” Dermody stated, “The disease of racism takes vigilance to eradicate. We have to drive these demons from our national psyche. We need to speak up. We need to make empathy a job requirement for anyone interfacing with the public.”
Dermody also addressed institutional threats to our democracy only 50 years from the historic voting rights battles in Mississippi and across the South. “At a minimum, we need to keep our eyes on the prize – and that is protecting access to our government and the electoral process,” Dermody observed.
Dermody concluded her remarks by observing that we also must remain vigilant across all communities, noting that “we are witnessing hate activity against the Jewish community here and internationally that would have been unthinkable only 20 years ago.”
Click here to read the speech in full.