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The Drum Major

The Drum Major is a collection of essays prepared by the participants in the Martin Luther King Internship Program reflecting on their summer working in legal services.

Click here to read the compositions by this year's MLK interns.

Drum Major 2008
Drum Major 2007
Drum Major 2006
Drum Major 2005
Drum Major 2004
Drum Major 2003
Drum Major 2002

MLK Program Featured in The Pennsylvania Lawyer

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Summer Internship and Fellowship program is featured in an article entitled, Diversity Matters, in the Sept./Oct. issue of the The Pennsylvania Lawyer magazine published by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

The article outlines the operation of the program and highlights the important role it plays in promoting diversity within the public interest legal community.

A. Michael Pratt, a board member of PLAN and a longtime board member of Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, who is also currently chancellor-elect of the Philadelphia Bar Association is the author of the article.

The article is available at the link below.

Diversity Matters
©  Pennsylvania Bar Association

Martin Luther King, Jr. Summer Internship and Fellowship Program
Support the Martin Luther King, Jr. Program
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“The MLK Program: A Celebration of 15 Years”

Windows Media (9:00)
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15th Anniversary Celebration A Triumph !

Thanks to our Supporters
Photos from the Reception
Photos from the Luncheon

Introductory Remarks of Rasheedah Phillips, MLK Intern and Fellow
Keynote Address of Juan Williams, National Political Correspondent

Over 300 lawyers and judges crowded into the Pennsylvania Bar Institute facility in Philadelphia on Tuesday, October 23, to help celebrate the 15 years that the Martin Luther King, Jr. Summer Internships have been bringing diversity to legal aid.

The proceedings were not only televised on cable television, but they were simulcast to four other locations in Pennsylvania – Pittsburgh, Mechanicsburg, Erie and Stroudsburg – making this truly a statewide celebration.

Attendees heard words of praise, encouragement and thanks from First Judicial District President Judge C. Darnell Jones, II, Pennsylvania Bar Association President Andrew Susko, and Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Elect Michael Pratt.

Also speaking were Mid-Penn Legal Services Director Rhodia Thomas (a member of the MLK Celebration Committee), Community Impact Legal Services Director Carolyn Johnson (a founding member of the MLK Program), and Rasheedah Phillips (a former MLK Summer Intern who will begin her two-year service as an MLK Fellow next summer), whose speech about what diversity means and offers ended in a standing ovation from all present. The text of her speech is posted at the link above.

PLAN, Inc. Chief Administrative Officer Cynthia Newcomer introduced a video about the MLK Program, which was created specially for the Celebration and will now be shared with all law schools and bar associations across the state.

Executive Director Sam Milkes was able to announce that, thanks to almost single-handed efforts of long-time PLAN supporter Tobey Oxholm, the General Counsel of Drexel University, and Chair of the 15th Anniversary Celebration, PLAN, Inc. had received over $250,000 in cash and pledges to support the Martin Luther King, Jr. Program.

Rhodia Thomas told the attendees that, thanks to Drexel’s Information Resources and Technology Department, PLAN now has a data-searchable website on which the resumes and attributes of MLK Summer Interns and Fellows would be posted, providing a new diversity resource for PLAN programs and financial supporters interested in hiring minority attorneys – a talent pool that will increase each year as more law students enter the summer program and others are screened by PLAN, Inc.

The luncheon’s keynote speaker was NPR’s senior correspondent Juan Williams, author of the acclaimed Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965. Beginning with a story about Thurgood Marshall to explain how people misperceive others who do not share a common past, Williams engaged in a discussion with “the living Thurgood Marshall,” demonstrating the huge shifts in demographics that our country had gone through in the 40 years since the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

He told the assembled legal community that “we live at a time of great historical importance” and that lawyers in particular have the opportunity – and the duty – to be social engineers, using the law to ensure that all parts of American society are given the opportunity to succeed. He said the era of the melting pot was over, and America was now a social “chef’s salad” with its parts remaining separately identifiable, and the whole being greater than just the sum of the ingredients.

The luncheon celebration followed a reception in the elegant Mayor’s Conversation Hall at Philadelphia’s City Hall. More than 125 managing partners and hiring partners of law firms, members of the judiciary, MLK summer interns, and PLAN directors came together to celebrate the MLK Program’s 15 years and to encourage the profession to keep pursuing the twin objectives of providing legal aid to the indigent, and of encouraging diversity in the legal profession. The video was unveiled at this reception.

PLAN, Inc. was honored to have the Honorable Ronald D. Castille, the next Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and C. Darnell Jones, II, the President Judge of the First Judicial District, offer remarks in support of PLAN and the MLK Program. The reception was hosted by the Honorable John F. Street, Mayor of Philadelphia and long-time supporter of legal services and it was made possible thanks to the support of the Independence Foundation

About the MLK Program
Contribute to the MLK Program
Thanks to our Supporters

Funding for the Martin Luther King, Jr. program is provided by Pennsylvania IOLTA and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.

Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Recognizes Participants in 2008 Martin Luther King Jr. Internship Program

The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network celebrated the 2008 Martin Luther King Jr. Internship Program at a reception that was held on August 6, 2008 at the Dauphin County Bar Association in Harrisburg.

Pedro A. Cortes, Secretary of the Commonwealth was the keynote speaker at the  Recognition Reception.

Secretary Cortés was nominated as Secretary of the Commonwealth by Governor Rendell on April 2, 2003 and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on May 13, 2003, making him the first confirmed Latino Cabinet member in Pennsylvania history.

Funding and financial support for the MLK Internship program is provided by the Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers Trust Account Board and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. PLAN appreciates the ongoing support of these organizations for the MLK program.

The 2008 edition of The Drum Major, a collection of essays by the interns reflecting on their summer in legal services, was distributed at the reception. The essays included in The Drum Major may be viewed at the link below.

Certificates of Recognition were presented to the interns who participated in the internship program during 2008.  Interns receiving recognition included:

Mukta Agrawal
Pennsylvania Health Law Project

Sakeenah S. El-Amin
Community Legal Services

Karen Fernandez
Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project
Philadelphia Legal Assistance

Amanda K. Franzen
Neighborhood Legal Services Association

Benjamin Haire
Northwestern Legal Services

Ema L. Iruobe
Community Impact Legal Services

Cherie N. Long
Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania

Tedeisha Rowe
Regional Housing Legal Services

Sheldon A. Smith
North Penn Legal Services

Alejandro Ventura
Community Justice Project

Truniece L. White
MidPenn Legal Services

2008 Drum Major

Biography of Secretary Cortés


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