Attorney Jessica Butler Challenges Black Lawyers

Attorney-Jessica-Butler Challenges-Black-Lawyers

To Resolve Black Community’s Problems

Milwaukee: On September 28, the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers’ (WAAL) newly-installed president, attorney Jessica Butler, implored her colleagues to step up their game.

Before an audience filled with lawyers and judges, she stated: “I challenge you to develop your network and use it to help position black lawyers so that the black community can look to us to resolve their problems rather than feel powerless and frustrated. … A large part of the frustration coming from the black community is due to a lack of advocacy on behalf of those who have been disenfranchised. They do not have equal access to justice and when they find ways to speak out in protest, their message is typically shut down or made to seem controversial.”

Butler’s call to action was well received by those attending the VelanDale Scholarship Dinner. Among those in attendance were former WAAL presidents, including Milwaukee’sChief Judge Maxine White. Also attending this event wereMilwaukee Judge Marshall Murray, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Nancy Joseph, Butler’s father former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler, and Butler’s two beautiful daughters.

Receiving WAAL’s Lifetime Achievement Award was recently retired U.S. District Court Judge Charles Clevert. For four decades, Judge Clevert served on the federal bench in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, located in Milwaukee. He was the first and only African-American serving in that capacity.

Lamenting the fact that no new African-American judges have been added to the State or Federal benches since the recent retirements of Clevert and several other African-American judges, Butler said: “With these judges leaving the bench, and no black judges filling their vacancies, we are losing significant influence …But we don’t just need judges, we need legislators, politicians, partners at law firms, businessmen & women, educators and religious leaders.”

Assisting Butler as she takes WAAL’s helm are an impressive group of young lawyers. Serving as elected board members are attorneys Kristen Hardy, Steven DeVougas, William Sulton, Danielle White, Jennifer Johnson, and Brittany Grayson.

By: Dr. Anne T. Sulton, Esq.
JA Senior International Correspondent