- December 5, 2017
The 2023 Path to Unity luncheon paid tribute to five trailblazing Florida law figures throughout history at Michael's On East on Jan. 26.
The luncheon, put on by the Sarasota County Bar Association Council for Diversity and Inclusion and the Florida Bar Standing Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, brought hundreds of lawyers, judges, law figures, city government figures and others to celebrate the lawyers who brought change to Florida.
That included James Weldon Johnson, the first African-American lawyer admitted to the Florida Bar; Judge Mario Goderich, the first Hispanic judge to hold several judicial posts; James Kracht, a blind laywer who constantly challenged disability rules; first president of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers Anna Brenner Meyers and longtime LGBTQ advocate Larry Smith.
Those figures were memorialized with paintings that were present at the luncheon and will hang at the Florida Bar building in Tallahassee.
Judge Charles Williams led the luncheon and recited a poem to the audience before past chair Charlie Ann Syprett delivered historical remarks before being presented with an award for her work. Mayor Kyle Battie later issued a proclamation.
The audience enjoyed lunch while Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe members put on a number of performances.
The luncheon carried on with a legal legend presentation where local figured told the stories of the honorees.