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Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission launches scholarship contest for WNY students


Tue, Sep 19th 2023 09:45 am

One high school student and one college student will receive scholarship award

The Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission has launched a scholarship essay contest for Western New York-area high school juniors and seniors and college students. Students are encouraged to write or videorecord essays about how they can contribute to Franklin H. Williams’ legacy of advancing racial equality, civil rights, and equal justice under law.

A press release stated, “Franklin H. Williams was a civil rights leader, lawyer, diplomat, associate of Thurgood Marshall, and chair of the first judicial commission dedicated to racial fairness. The award-winning PBS documentary, ‘A Bridge to Justice: The Life of Franklin H. Williams,’ describes his life, his accomplishments, and his legacy. Students are asked to view the documentary and reflect on how they can advance Ambassador Williams’ work.”

Mary Lynn Nicolas-Brewster, Esq., executive director of the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission, said, “Franklin H. Williams was a trailblazer for justice and a hidden figure of the civil rights movement who made a significant impact on the New York state court system. He sought to advance civil rights and civil liberties, eradicate racism, and championed the court’s efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, judiciary and court system.”

To be eligible for the scholarship essay contest, students must attend a high school or college/university in Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, Wyoming or Genesee counties.

Written essays are limited to 500 words and videorecorded essays are limited to three minutes. Submissions must be received by 11:59 p.m. Oct. 6. One high school student and one college student will each receive a $500 educational scholarship and be invited to attend a red-carpet event in Buffalo on Tuesday, Oct. 24.

Students may enter the contest by going to https://forms.gle/7MtixyuyAaEqTE2Q9. For more information about the essay contest, or the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission’s work, please contact [email protected].

More About Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission

The Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission is an independent commission that works to educate and advise decision makers in the New York Court System on issues affecting both employees and litigants of color, and implements recommendations developed to address said issues. The commission, which is co-chaired by Associate Justice Troy K. Webber (Appellate Division, First Department) and Acting Justice Richard Rivera (Supreme Court, Albany County and Supervising Judge of the Family Court, Third Judicial District), develops programs to improve the perception of fairness within the court system and to ensure equal justice in New York state. Learn more by visiting www.nycourts.gov/FHW.

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