The Diversity Conference’s inaugural year was a promising and successful one with much accomplished and much more planned in the year ahead. Its main accomplishment was to establish a Board of Governors with individuals who are energetic and focused on the Conference’s mission to:
Our Initial Board consisted of Manuel A. Capsalis (Chair), Michael HuYoung (Chair- Elect), Linda Y. Lambert (Secretary), Edward L. Weiner (Treasurer), Peter C. Burnett, Beverly J. A. Burton, Clarence M. Dunnaville, Jr., Michael A. Glasser, Manuel E. Leiva, Jennifer L. McClellan, Cathleen K. Memmer, Rupen R. Shah, Professor Henry L. Chambers, Jr., Dean Clinton W. Shinn, Judge Cleo E. Powell, John Y. Richardson, Jr., Kathy M. Coleman (Lay Member), and Michael Zajur (Lay Member). The Board met on at least six different occasions and in different locations throughout the state, and its members typified the true meaning of volunteer service to the legal profession and the community. Because of the staggered terms of our Board, Michael A. Glasser and Clinton W. Shinn have elected not to be re-appointed. They have been replaced by Latoya C. Asia and Marni E. Bynum.
Because of the fact that the Diversity Conference continues to operate without bar funding or active bar staff support, our main goal in this inaugural year was to raise funds so that we could accomplish the goals and plans established by the Board. To that effect, each member of the Board contributed financially to the Conference, and we did much of our own clerical and administrative work.
Our first major organized fundraiser, “Fore Diversity” Golf Tournament, was held during the VSB 2011 Annual Summer Conference in Virginia Beach at the Virginia Beach National Golf Club. Not only was a fun time had by all, but the golfers and members of the Bar also had the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with one another and establish new friendships. The Conference was able to raise more funds than expected. In fact, there were more sponsors and donors than golfers sending a message that the purpose behind the creation of the Diversity Conference is accepted by more than we know. The Diversity Conference raffled off many fine items, such as a full set of men’s Calloway golf clubs, a full set of women’s Galloway golf clubs, along with many other extravagant items. Since the Golf Tournament, Board members have heard from many who plan on playing next year. The Conference hopes to make the Golf Tournament an annual Diversity Conference event during the Annual Summer Conference in Virginia Beach.
Our second major organized fundraiser is Jazz 4 Justice to be held on September 17, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. at the Forbes Center, James Madison University’s new performing arts center. Jazz 4 Justice will be an evening of fabulous music and entertainment. Jazz 4 Justice will support not only the Diversity Conference, but also Blue Ridge Legal Services (BRLS) in the Shenandoah Valley area. BRLS provides free civil legal assistance to low income residents within the Shenandoah Valley. Jazz 4 Justice will also provide musical scholarships for students at JMU, and it will showcase talented music majors at the University. Individual tickets can be purchased for $15 at JMU’s box office or online at www.jmu.edu/JMUarts. The Conference expects this inaugural year of Jazz 4 Justice to be a “sellout” event with 600 people in attendance. A similar event has proven very successful at George Mason University winning awards from both the Virginia and National Bar Associations. The Diversity Conference looks forward to bringing this fun and successful event into the Shenandoah Valley, and we have sent out requests for sponsorship's.
However, the Conference’s efforts have not just gone to fundraising. The Conference has accomplished or participated in the following since its inception:
The following is our current agenda going into the next fiscal year:
Chair of the Diversity Conference
August 5, 2011