ELKHART — Attorneys and judges talked about the importance of defending equality during their annual Law Day luncheon.
The luncheon, held Thursday, May 16, at the Lerner Theatre’s Crystal Ballroom, was organized by the Elkhart City Bar Association.
G. Michael Witte, executive secretary of the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, spoke at the event.
Witte, a third-generation Japanese American and the first Asia-American trial judge to be elected in Indiana, shared his family’s story to stress the importance of defending equality for those most vulnerable in society.
“Lawyers and judges should learn from this history of only 70 years past,” he said. “We must scrutinize the encroachment upon the rights of people who might only be guilty of looking like, or sounding like, or having a name like the enemy. But they are not the enemy, they are citizens with full protection under our Constitution and rights to be protected.”
The luncheon also featured the presentation of the Liberty Bell Award, an award the bar association gives to a person who is not usually a lawyer, but has contributed to the community.
This year’s recipient was Darrell Peterson, director of Lifeline Youth Ministries and the YMCA. Peterson talked about the progress with the Lifeline building, inviting others in the community to contribute in the rebuilding of the youth ministries.
Peterson talked about the importance of helping children who are members of Lifeline, and assured the audience that the youth center is going through significant growth.
“The conversations that are happening right now will change the face of Elkhart,” he said. “I think we are looking at some incredibly exciting things.”