FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Public Relations Consultant, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid
Orange is the New Black author Piper Kerman to headline Jacksonville Area Legal Aid event honoring attorney Buddy Schulz of Holland & Knight’s Jacksonville office
Robert J. Beckham Equal Justice Awards Celebration
Thursday, Sept. 20, 5:30 p.m.
Omni Jacksonville Hotel
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Aug. 8 – Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, will deliver the keynote address at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid’s 19th annual Equal Justice Awards Sept. 20 at the Omni Jacksonville Hotel.
Kerman’s memoir was adapted into the Netflix original series The Washington Post called “the best TV show about prison ever made.” Now in its sixth season, the Peabody and Emmy award-winning Orange is the New Black is based on Kerman’s story of the 13 months she spent in the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, after a brief involvement with drug trafficking sent her to prison on money laundering charges.
Kerman’s memoir raises provocative questions about the state of criminal justice in America and how incarceration affects individuals and communities. Since her release, she has worked tirelessly to promote the cause of prison and criminal justice reform. She works with nonprofits, philanthropies and other public interest organizations and has been called as a witness by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights to testify on solitary confinement and women prisoners, and by the U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs and Homeland Security Committee to testify about the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
“We have the biggest prison population in the world. We have the biggest prison population in human history here in the United States,” Kerman said. “The fastest-growing segment of our criminal justice system and that prison population has been women. Female incarceration has risen by 800 percent in this country… I believe that we’ve reached a point in this country where most people are questioning whether we have made the best choices.”
JALA’s Equal Justice Awards includes the presentation of the Robert J. Beckham Equal Justice Award, named for a former JALA board member and longtime supporter. It is bestowed on a person or organization who has notably promoted the cause of equal justice for low-income residents of Northeast Florida.
This year’s recipient is George E. “Buddy” Schulz Jr., a partner in Holland & Knight’s Jacksonville office.
Schulz, who has practiced law for 45 years, is the past chair of Holland & Knight’s litigation department and current chair of its Public and Charitable Service Department, which coordinates the firm’s pro bono and community initiatives that provide assistance to persons of limited means and organizations that help them. He is a recipient of The Florida Bar Pro Bono Service Award and has served as a cabinet member of United Way; general counsel of PACE Center for Girls/Jacksonville; a director of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Inc.; a director of the Jacksonville Urban League; a member of the City of Jacksonville Ethics Commission; and a member of the City of Jacksonville Juvenile Justice Comprehensive Strategy Board. He also volunteers with the Guardian Ad Litem program.
Since 1999, JALA has hosted an annual celebration of altruism and generosity to recognize members of the community who work for social justice and further equality through pro bono work and monetary donations.
Tickets to the event and to a pre-event VIP reception with Kerman, as well as event sponsorships, can be purchased online at www.JaxLegalAid.org/EqualJusticeAwards. Cocktails and dinner are included. All donations will support the work of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid. The event begins at 5:30 p.m.