Elisa Chinn-Gary Named 2014 Julius L. Chambers Diversity Champion


Elisa Chinn-Gary The Mecklenburg County Bar will honor Elisa Chinn-Gary with the 2014 Julius L. Chambers Diversity Champion Award at the McMillan Fellowship Fund Dinner on Thurs., Feb. 27, 2014. The Julius L. Chambers Diversity Champion Award is presented to an individual who embodies high ethical standards, unquestioned integrity, consistent competence and who champions diversity in the legal profession.

Chinn-Gary is Mecklenburg County’s Family Court Administrator and a leader in building and strengthening Race Matters for Juvenile Justice (RMJJ).  RMJJ is a collaboration of judicial officials, systems' experts, service providers and community partners that works to mitigate the impact of implicit bias and institutional racism to children and families.  RMJJ's vision is a Charlotte-Mecklenburg community where the composition and outcomes of juvenile courts cannot be predicted by race and/or ethnicity. 

Under Chinn-Gary's leadership, RMJJ partnered with CMPD, CMS, The Department of Social Services (DSS), The Guardian Ad Litem Program (GAL), UNCC, The District Attorney's Office, The Council for Children's Rights, The Division of Juvenile Justice, Area Mental Health/MeckCares, and other stakeholders to train more than 200 leaders in a series of workshops entitled "Dismantling Racism."  The series was so successful that the stakeholders requested the series be continued and Chief Rodney Monroe asked that all CMPD school resource officers receive the training, which Chinn-Gary made happen.

Through RMJJ, Chinn-Gary partnered with CMS and the US Attorney's Office to bring CMS students together to learn about Implicit Bias and the History of Racism in our Country.  She also worked with Mecklenburg County Judges and advocates to implement a series of roundtable discussions among school leaders, law enforcement, judges, attorneys, advocates and juvenile probation to discuss School Discipline and Court referral policies to reduce suspension rates, impact dropout and graduation rates, and limit the number of juvenile delinquency petitions.

Chinn-Gary earned a Master of Social Work and Juris Doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was admitted to the North Carolina State Bar in 1999. She was the recipient of the 2010 Raising the Bar Award and was honored by the Judiciary and Justice Initiatives for her excellence in Court Administration.

The Julius L. Chambers Diversity Champion Award is named after its first honoree, the distinguished civil rights attorney Julius L. Chambers. Mr. Chambers represented the plaintiffs in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school desegregation case Swann v. Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education. Previous recipients of the Julius L. Chambers Diversity Champion Award include George V. Hanna, The Honorable Clifton E. Johnson, James L. Ferguson, Georgia Lewis, and The Honorable Rickye McKoy-Mitchell.