A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.
– Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. on courage, March 8, 1965
Loosely translated, this has become “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” I recently read this and was immediately drawn to thoughts of HCCLA. I decided this would be my inspiration for my second term as President of HCCLA; a theme for my term.
Justice begins to die the day we, as an organization and as criminal defense lawyers, become silent. Constitutional rights begin to erode when we refuse to stand up for what is right. Government is allowed to oppress its people if we refuse to take a stand for that which is true.
My promise to you, members of the bar and of HCCLA, is that I will stand up. I will not become silent. And together we will stand up for that which is true. We will live for those things that matter: constitutional rights, justice, and fairness.
The Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association will stand for you and your clients. We will stand for justice. We will stand for what is right. We will stand for that which is true.
As I undertake my second term as President, I am humbled and thankful for a strong membership and a strong board. Your board has worked hard for many years to grow our organization, strengthen our credibility, and pave a way to raise the bar (a bar that already stands on the shoulders of local giants who are the best criminal defense attorneys in the nation). We have a strong membership active in our daily listserv ready to help any of our members. We have a successful CLE training program that provides free and low cost CLE through local and national speakers who are revered for their own work and the training they provide to others. We have an invaluable second chair program that is the best in the country. We have a worthy and relevant television program to educate attorneys and the general public about criminal justice issues. We have an exemplary magazine providing legal articles and general tips for practice. We have an excellent strike force ready and able to defend members as they fight for their clients. For all our strengths, I am thankful for those who built, and continue to build, this organization and these programs.
Now, together we will continue those traditions while we move forward. Our organization is successful because of you; yes, you! Let’s work together. Bring your ideas for growth and improvement. Join me as we stand for those things that matter. We cannot refuse to speak out. We will not refuse to stand up. Together we will live and honor those things that matter.
I look forward to another successful term with the help of the best local defense bar in the country.