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U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana receives the 2023-24 Guardian of Diversity Award

Release Date: 
Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Guardians of Diversity

                The Louisiana State Bar Association awarded the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana the 2023-24 Guardian of Diversity Award in recognition of its outstanding work to promote diversity. The Court presents thought-provoking programs and CLEs about diversity. It conducts naturalization ceremonies that highlight the diversity of new citizens. And the Court has worked to improve diversity in its workforce and jury pool. Led by the Court’s first African American Chief Judge, Nannette Jolivette Brown, the Court is honored to be recognized as a Guardian of Diversity.

                “A federal court is tasked with protecting and defending citizens’ rights under the Constitution,” explained Chief Judge Brown. “Considering that the underlying principle of the Constitution that holds this country together was to create a nation of people from all walks of life and experiences who share in the common values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, our Court takes seriously its responsibility to set an example and lead in the important goals of diversity and inclusion.”

                Highlights of the Court’s work include annual African American and Women’s History Month celebrations. These are large, substantive events often exceeding 300 participants. Recent programs highlighted the women leaders of local law enforcement agencies, Supreme Court Chief Justice Emeritus Bernette Joshua Johnson discussing the Civil Rights Movement, and the lost community of Fazendeville and other threatened communities of color. The Court has also hosted events highlighting Native American, Hispanic, and Asian cultures. 

                The Court holds other programs that make a significant impact on diversity issues in the legal profession. Perhaps most impressive was a two-hour reenactment of the legal events leading to the integration of the University of Mississippi. Several judges and James Meredith himself participated in the program produced with the Federal Bar Association. The Court also holds naturalization ceremonies with guest speakers who emphasize our nation’s strength in diversity.

                The Court has also expanded recruitment efforts to diversify its workforce. The Court is participating in a Judiciary program that provides internship opportunities for underserved students with an appreciation for DEI, preparing them for Judiciary careers. Likewise, the Clerk’s Office DE&I Committee promotes a culture of inclusion by producing events commemorating different cultures, including a Hispanic heritage program and a presentation on LGBTQ history remembering the victims of the tragic Upstairs Lounge fire. The committee also holds monthly lunches that spotlight Court employees’ diversity. 

                The Court is grateful to a number of organizations that have partnered with it in presenting diversity programs, including the Louisiana State Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, the New Orleans Bar Association, the Greater New Orleans Louis Martinet Legal Society, the Association for Women Attorneys, the Federal Public Defenders Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana.