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2014 Annual Dinner

Thank you to everyone who attended BPI’s 2014 Annual Dinner!

The evening featured keynoter Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and one of this country’s leading public interest lawyers. We also honored two extraordinary Chicago-based BPI Champions of the Public Interest: long-time community leader Crystal Palmer and the Children and Family Justice Center of the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law.

Click on the video below to enjoy highlights from Bryan Stevenson's keynote address!

Keynote Speaker

Bryan Stevenson

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth. In too many places the opposite of poverty is justice.”

Bryan Stevenson Considered one of the nation’s most effective public service lawyers, Bryan Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. He has gained broad recognition for his work in challenging bias against the poor and people of color in the criminal justice system. He and his staff have secured reversals or reduced sentences in over 65 death penalty cases and won major legal challenges in cases of unfair sentencing, abuse of the incarcerated and mentally ill, and children prosecuted as adults.

Mr. Stevenson is also a Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law and the recipient of many prestigious awards and honorary degrees, including the MacArthur Genius Award, Ford Foundation Visionaries Award, and NAACP William Robert Ming Advocacy Award. A graduate of Harvard Law School and Kennedy School of Government, he is a riveting speaker whose TED Talk and Colbert Report appearances have garnered a wide audience for his message.

Champions of the Public Interest

Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative (See bio above.)

Crystal Palmer

Crystal Palmer’s life’s work is service—in both her career in social services and her lifelong community activism. Ms. Palmer serves as the Chicago Housing Authority’s liaison to the residents’ Central Advisory Council. Before joining the CHA staff, she was a member of that Council as President of the Henry Horner Homes-Westhaven Local Advisory Council. She has worked as a case manager for the Horner Engagement Program and as CHA’s liaison to the FamilyWorks social services program. Among her many honors, Ms. Palmer was named one of “Ten Most Influential Women on the West Side” and a LISC/Chicago Community Hero. Ms. Palmer serves as Vice Chair of the National Public Housing Museum Board of Directors.


Children and Family Justice Center

Founded in 1992, the Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC) is a comprehensive children’s law office and part of the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law. On the front lines of the Illinois juvenile justice system, the Center’s attorneys, social worker, and law students work together to promote justice for children, adolescents, and their families through direct legal representation, policy advocacy, and law reform. Committed to teaching and mentoring the next generation of lawyers and policy advocates, the CFJC received the 2013 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Julie Biehl has served as the CFJC’s Director since 2009.

Recipient of the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions

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