In early December, the Charles Houston Bar Association (CHBA) held its 65th annual Gala. A nonprofit composed of lawyers, judges, and law students throughout northern California, the CHBA is named in honor of the legendary civil rights practitioner Charles Hamilton Houston (1895-1950). CHBA continues his legacy by working to address the unique challenges facing the African American community, and the organization supports the next generation of lawyers in many ways, including interviewing and resume workshops, mentoring, and access to and guidance from established Bay Area practitioners.
This year, the CHBA Gala was an inspiring virtual event with a keynote address by Congresswoman Barbara Lee and the presentation of the inaugural CHBA Kamala Harris Woman of Excellence Award. CHBA awarded $28,000 in scholarships to nine deserving law students and presented awards to exceptional honorees committed to advocacy, community service, and racial justice. As part of the evening, CHBA honored one student and one staff member from Santa Clara Law.
Wilson X. Hall JD ’21 received a $2,000 Student Achievement Award for his extraordinary leadership skills, academic excellence, service, and commitment to advancing causes that CHBA values.
Deborah Moss-West JD ’94, executive director of the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center, received the President’s Award for her role as co-chair of the Racial Justice Task Force, formed in June 2020 to advance racial justice for African American people, utilizing education, advocacy, and the legislative and political process to interrupt the status quo, eradicate systemic racism, promote anti-racism policies, and effectuate equal protection under the law for all. Since the inception of the Task Force, members have led and participated in more than 60 education, advocacy, and speaking events, as well as get-out-the vote and legislative efforts.