Stevie Wonder to Receive Icon Award From Legal Defense Fund – Billboard

Stevie Wonder has received countless awards for both his music and his work in advancing social justice, but the one he is set to get from the Legal Defense Fund on May 10 is especially meaningful. Wonder will receive the inaugural Icon Award at the 34th National Equal Justice Awards Dinner on Tuesday, May 10, at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.


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Wonder will be honored for “his steadfast work throughout his illustrious career, spanning over half a century, which embodies LDF’s values and demonstrates his commitment to confronting the barriers that face Black Americans and other marginalized communities,” according to a statement.

In addition, Nikole Hannah-Jones, journalist, professor, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The 1619 Project, will be recognized with the Spirit of Justice Award. Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF’s outgoing president and director-counsel, will be awarded the Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award.

With a theme of “Truth Is Power,” the evening will feature video messages from former first lady Michelle Obama and civil rights activist and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. In addition, the Dance Theater of Harlem will present two performances.

LDF’s signature event is an opportunity to recognize and honor leaders in law, the arts, business, and philanthropy who have demonstrated a commitment to the promotion of racial justice and equality. The evening will also serve as an opportunity to celebrate the civil rights work that has been accomplished by LDF over the past year.

“Since the organization’s founding in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund has been an ardent defender of civil rights, advocating for the social, political, educational, and economic advancement of Black Americans,” Janai S. Nelson, LDF’s president and director-counsel, said in a statement.

“Our honorees have unapologetically used truth as power,” Nelson added. “They have refused to back down when others tried to silence them. And they have held their convictions fiercely and been unyielding to false narratives. Most importantly, they have used truth to shape outlooks, inform mindsets, and touch souls.”

Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF was founded under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall, who in 1967 became the first Black associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

LDF has been separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights.

Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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