(Boston 09/20/11) New England Law | Boston: “You are not judged on the height to which you have risen but on the depth from which you have climbed.” Michael Curry ’05, president of the Boston chapter of the NAACP, invoked the words of Frederick Douglass not only to describe the progress made by African Americans but to renew the call to fight ingrained racism.
Curry’s remarks were made on September 16, 2011, at the 28th annual Minority Alumni Welcome Reception, before approximately 180 members of the New England Law | Boston community.
Curry is legislative affairs director and senior counsel for the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. A Boston native, “…born and raised in the Lenox Street housing projects…” who attended public schools, he heads the first chartered branch of the NAACP. Curry was guest of honor at the reception in the Westin Copley Place Hotel, by coincidence the same setting for the Boston NAACP’s centennial celebration the very next evening. Representatives of New England Law attended the NAACP event.
“Building community is a concept that is central to the approach of tonight’s honoree,” noted Dean John F. O’Brien in his introductory remarks, “and that will be critical to his efforts this year as president of the NAACP Boston chapter. I want to congratulate Michael Curry, Class of 2005, on this new role. We are exceptionally proud that he is a graduate of our law school and that the leadership abilities he exhibited here have been recognized on a larger stage.”
Curry was an evening student at New England Law and worked during the day. He was a member of one of the law school’s first Frederick Douglass Moot Court teams and propelled it to the national competition.
On behalf of the law school, Dean O’Brien presented Curry with a framed citation and a New England Law chair with a personalized plaque on the back.
Curry recounted a century’s worth of legal triumphs and principled stands by his organization, making special note of efforts to counter police brutality and end public housing discrimination. He discussed examples of discrimination’s persistence and noted the longstanding involvement of attorneys in the NAACP’s fight against it.
Curry pointed out the value of networking at occasions like the Minority Alumni Welcome Reception and joked that he “…thought I’d be invited back when I was 60…” rather than at his relatively young age. He appealed to his contemporaries to join the Boston NAACP after sharing that it is on the upswing, with a growing membership that includes many young professionals.
“Get involved again,” he said. “We’re involved in erasing the taint of racism in our community.”
He saluted several members of the audience for serving as role models to the African American community and to all Bostonians, including two New England Law trustees: Wayne Budd, who currently serves as a senior counsel at Goodwin Procter LLP and formerly served as associate attorney general of the United States and United States attorney for the District of Massachusetts, and the Honorable Darrell L. Outlaw ’61, a retired associate justice of Dorchester District Court and formerly chairman of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
Carol Fulp, senior vice president of brand communications and corporate social responsibility for John Hancock Financial, former representative of the United States to the General Assembly of the UN, was also recognized. Ms. Fulp was presented with an honorary doctor of humanities degree as part of Commencement 2011.