A Message From The President

When was the last time you woke up and thought to yourself, “today, I’m going to be someone’s hero”? Probably never. Waking up and deciding that you’re going to be a hero may feel like arrogance or conceit, but why is that? We often reserve the term “heroic” to describe super-human acts of courage or bravery, but you don’t have to have superpowers to be someone’s hero. True heroism, as we see in tonight’s theme, is standing up in service of others. Using your natural abilities, resources, and privileges to help someone who is in need. How much better would the world be if people woke up and thought to themselves “today, I’m going to do what I can to help someone”?

Two years ago, I joined the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Foundation because I wanted to serve the Black community in San Diego County. I was born in San Diego, lived in the same house off Woodman St. until I left for college, and I know first-hand how wonderful this city can be, but also how isolating it can feel when you constantly work in spaces where you don’t see people who look like you. Outside of my church family, I was always in the minority. In elementary school, I joined the Filipino club because there was no African American club. I knew in the third grade I wanted to be a lawyer, but there were no lawyers in my family. I had no close relationships with Black lawyers in this community, and no one to show me how to achieve my goals. Fortunately, I had other heroes in my corner encouraging me to keep moving forward. As supporters of this Foundation, you all can be heroes in the lives of law students and young professionals who have chosen a noble, but difficult profession.

Being on the Board of this Foundation has given me a community of exemplary Black attorneys in diverse fields; people I would never have met were it not for Foundation events. As president, I want to expand that community. Next year the Foundation will focus on creating new events that foster community amongst new attorneys here in San Diego. We will build upon our “Inspiring Future Leaders” series showing underserved K-12 students that there are successful lawyers who look like they do, who come from and work in their communities. And of course, we will continue to raise money for scholarships for law students. A record number of applicants this year has reaffirmed that there is a great need, and we will continue this Foundation’s tradition of increasing the scholarship funds given to students year after year.

I’m truly honored to serve as the President of this Foundation (and quite frankly a little terrified), but I know that we do not operate in a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. I’ve seen what this Board can do, and I know the incredible talent that we are adding to this Board next year. I have no doubt, that we are going to perform “heroic” acts that alone I could never even have dreamed of. With that in mind, I won’t ask you to wake up and tell yourself “I’m going to be a hero today.” But do wake up and say, “I’m going to do what I can to make someone else’s life a little bit better.” Make the daily decision to be better, for yourself and for others. In doing so we create the next generation of heroes who will continue to make this world a little bit better, one step at a time.

-Isaac Jackson

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The Earl B. Gilliam Bar Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and gifts made to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Please click here to donate today.

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Earl B. Gilliam Bar Foundation
PO Box 124923
San Diego, CA

Phone: (619) 693-6050

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