Mazzoni Center Will Honor Lambda Legal's Kevin Cathcart and Civil Rights Advocate Michael P. Williams at Justice in Action event

On Friday, February 26, 2016, Mazzoni Center Legal Services will honor Kevin Cathcart, Esq. and Michael Williams, Esq. at the agency’s 7th annual “Justice in Action” event.  Each year this event brings together legal professionals, law students, and others to raise funds for and awareness about Mazzoni Center’s Legal Services program, which provides direct legal assistance for individuals facing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and is the only program offering free legal services tailored towards low-income LGBT Pennsylvanians.  This year’s event will take place from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Loews Philadelphia Hotel (1200 Market Street), and will include a luncheon and presentation of the “Justice in Action” awards.    
As part of the event Mazzoni will celebrate the program’s 20-year history of impact on the status of LGBT rights, and will acknowledge the previous executive and legal directors whose work championed LGBT rights. 
Mazzoni Legal and Public Policy Director Thomas Ude, Jr., said:  “We are thrilled to honor Kevin Cathcart and Michael Williams, both of whom have dedicated their lives to advocating for LGBT rights, and have worked to ensure that the fight for equality is informed by racial and economic justice issues and can reach the most vulnerable members of the LGBT community.”
Cathcart has led Lambda Legal for more than 20 years. During that time, he quintupled Lambda Legal’s staff while ensuring that its work and its expressed mission furthered the rights of the most vulnerable members our community – people living with HIV, people who are transgender, and LGBT youth, to name three – so that they would not be left behind when gains were made in formal equal rights. Williams has impacted LGBT rights by drafting the legislation that ultimately added gender identity protection to antidiscrimination laws in Philadelphia and New Hope, PA.  Throughout his career he has incorporated justice into his life’s work through leadership and advocacy in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.
Prior to the luncheon, Mazzoni will present a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) session from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. entitled Developments in Transgender Rights: How They Fit with Poverty and Discrimination Law, led by an expert panel that includes M. Dru Levasseur, Esq., Lambda Legal’s National Transgender Rights Project Director; Andrew A. Chirls, Esq.; R. Barrett Marshall, Esq. Mazzoni Center Legal Services’ Supervising Attorney; and Benjamin L. Jerner, Esq., of Jerner & Palmer, P.C.
“Each year this event provides an opportunity to hear from people on the forefront of the LGBT legal rights and advocacy movements,” event co-chair Jessica Meller, Esq. of Saul Ewing, LLP said.  “We are excited to hear from both Kevin and Michael about their legacies, challenges, and achievements, as well as their vision of where the LGBT rights movement is headed in the years to come.”
Co-chair Michael Soileau added: “This event helps to sustain the work of a critically important direct service program, and also reinforces the connection between advances made on the national civil rights front and the everyday work of attorneys at programs like Mazzoni Legal Services in advocating for individuals in our own communities.”
Tickets to “Justice in Action” are $75; $60 for public interest lawyers; and $50 for law students.  Tickets and more information are available at ; tickets can also be purchased at the door.  Proceeds from “Justice in Action” support Mazzoni Center’s direct legal assistance to low-income LGBT individuals.  
Host committee members of the 2016 “Justice in Action” event are: John Alchin and Hal Marryatt; Jeffrey Boles, Ph.D.; Andrew A. Chirls, Esq.; David F. Huting, CFA; Sara Jacobson, Esq.; Margaret Klaw, Esq.; and Juli Miller-Robinson, Ph.D.
Advocate-level sponsors for the 2016 “Justice in Action” event are: Comcast, Athena Global Advisors, and Saul Ewing, LLP. Amicus sponsors are: Berner Klaw & Watson LLP, Drucker & Scaccetti,  Fineman Krekstein & Harris P.C., Fox Rothschild LLP, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young LLP, PNC Investments, and Sellers Dorsey.
About Mazzoni Center Legal Services
Mazzoni Center Legal Services is the only program offering free legal services tailored towards low-income LGBT individuals in Pennsylvania, and also takes on cases that may have an impact on the status of LGBT rights within Pennsylvania.  Mazzoni Center’s Legal Services department handles approximately 500 intakes annually. At any given time, The department’s active docketed cases include representing clients in legal name changes and other identity document changes, family law matters, discrimination in workplace, health care, and public accommodation settings, insurance coverage, and requests for advanced planning documents.  The department also works to spread awareness of issues that impact our clients and our LGBT community through community and media outreach, an electronic newsletter, and presentations at public and private events throughout the region.  
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