April is Celebrate Diversity Month, a time to recognize, honor and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the diversity surrounding us all. Celebrate Diversity Month is about opening dialogues that foster an appreciation of the differences that separate us, as well as the similarities that unite us. This is a time to celebrate diversity within the workplace, profession, friend groups and within our society as a whole.
In honor of Celebrate Diversity Month, the IndyBar Women and the Law Division would like to celebrate the diversity among our trailblazing past recipients of the Antoinette Dakin Leach Award who have paved the way for other female attorneys of color to continue breaking barriers in the legal profession. We are proud to celebrate past award winners Pamela Carter, Myra Selby and the Honorable Tanya Walton Pratt. You can read more about them below!
You can celebrate this great month by seeking opportunities to understand and learn about other cultures. Here are a few suggestions on how you can honor Celebrate Diversity Month:
- Support local minority-owned businesses
- Try a recipe from a different culture
- LinkedIn Learning offers free online courses about unconscious bias, diversity, and inclusion
- Have a discussion around diversity and inclusion with friends and family
- Watch a movie/documentary or read a book on race and culture
Ms. Carter was the first African-American woman to serve as a state’s attor¬ney general, serving as the Indiana Attorney General from 1993 to 1997. She was both the first woman and the first African American to serve as Attorney General in Indiana. Prior to this, she served as Par-liamentarian of the Indiana House of Representatives, as Deputy Chief-of-Staff to Governor Evan Bayh and as Executive Assistant for Health Policy and Human Services and Security Enforcement Attorney for the Office of the Secretary of State. After her term as Attorney General, Ms. Carter joined Cummins Inc. and worked there until her retirement in 2015.
Former Justice Selby was the first woman and the first African American to serve as an associate justice on the Indiana Supreme Court, serving on the court from 1995-1999. During that time, she authored more than 100 majority opinions and received national recognition. She is currently a partner at Ice Miller LLP and was nominated by President Obama in 2016 to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She has been awarded the Legacy Award from the James C. Kimbrough Bar Association; the Woman of Impact Award in Busi¬ness from the NFL Players’ Wives Association; the Leadership in Law Award, Distinguished Barrister, from the Indiana Lawyer; the Trailblazer Torchbearer Award from the Indiana Commission for Women and more. She is a Distinguished Fellow of the Indianapolis Bar Foundation.
Judge Walton Pratt was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate to the United States District Court, Southern Dis¬trict of Indiana in June 2010. Prior to her confirmation to federal court, she was three-time elected judge of Marion Superior Court, serving from 1997-2008 in the major felony criminal division and as probate judge from 2008-2010. As a Superior Court judge, she tried over 150 jury trials, served on the court’s executive committee and was the supervising judge of the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center. Before being elected judge, she was a Master Commissioner in the Marion Superior Court, a public defender and a private practitioner. Judge Walton Pratt is active in several bar associations and community organizations. She has served the Indianapolis Bar Association in many capacities, in¬cluding as vice president of the Board of Directors (2006), member of the Board of Directors and chair of the Professionalism Committee (2010-2012). Judge Walton Pratt is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the Indianapolis Bar Foundation.