Congratulations to Georgia J. Lewis, Winner of the 2013 Julius L. Chambers Diversity Champion Award
The Julius L. Chambers Diversity Champion Award, which celebrates persons in our community who have advanced the cause of diversity and equal opportunity, will be presented to Georgia J. Lewis at the McMillan Fund Dinner on Feb. 21, 2013. Throughout her life, Ms. Lewis has been a front line advocate for the rights of women and minorities. Raised in humble surroundings, Ms. Lewis began her pioneering work as a social worker in New Mexico in the 1950s and later continued with her many years of professional, public and community service in North Carolina where she moved with her husband, pharmacist Robert L. Lewis.
A mother of five, Ms. Lewis continued her graduate education after she raised her children, and then, at the age of 53, enrolled and obtained her law degree at North Carolina Central University's School of Law. She was North Carolina's first Hispanic judicial official, serving as a civil and criminal magistrate in Mecklenburg County, as well as the first Hispanic to serve on a board of elections in North Carolina, ultimately serving as chair of the Mecklenburg County BOE. In private practice, she has worked as a lawyer for the Charlotte Catholic Diocese, represented immigrants in refugee cases, advocated for the homeless, fought to protect the franchise for minority voters and she struggled publicly to obtain fair-pricing on prescriptions for their pharmacy customers. She was also instrumental in organizing and leading bar organizations at the local, state and national levels to promote and protect the interests of Hispanic clients in North Carolina and provide networking and pipeline opportunities for Latino lawyers in this state.
Ms. Lewis has served as a regional president of the Hispanic National Bar Association, was the catalyst for the creation of the Hispanic Latino Lawyers Committee that continues to operate as part of the North Carolina Bar Association and was a co-founder of the Mecklenburg County Hispanic Latino Lawyers Bar. In addition to her legal work, Ms. Lewis founded the Emerging Latina Leadership Advocates, a local organization dedicated to helping Latina women (including lawyers) attain leadership positions in their communities. Ms. Lewis' outstanding public service work has not gone unnoticed, as she has received numerous honors at the local, state and national level.