News Release

Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar to Present Stevie Wonder with Champion of Justice Award at Association’s “Race Matters” Conference In Los Angeles, CA on January 10, 2019

Washington, DC (Jan. 3, 2019) - The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) will honor one of the most celebrated and prominent figures in popular music. Singer, songwriter, musician, producer, and political activist, Stevie Wonder, will receive the Champion of Justice Award on Thursday, January 10, at NACDL’s Race Matters II: The Impact of Race on Criminal Justice conference at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, in Los Angeles.

“I am delighted to present the legendary Stevie Wonder, one of the most influential musicians of the modern era, with NACDL’s Champion of Justice Award,” said NACDL President Drew Findling. “Stevie Wonder has a long history of civic and humanitarian engagement, contributions, and leadership, including his work that helped make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday, as well as his use of his extraordinary musical talent and popularity to raise funds for humanitarian aid for Africa as well as for AIDS-related charities. Over the years, Stevie Wonder has supported children in need, the disabled, the sick, the poor, and the disenfranchised, and so many more. Through his generosity and leadership, he has shown the world that whatever talents and skills each of us have, we can use them to fix a broken world that is in desperate need of repair and make it a better place for everyone.”

Stevie Wonder is recognized by the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame as one of “those courageous soldiers of justice who sacrificed and struggled to make equality a reality for all.” Equally laudable are his humanitarian efforts, philanthropic leadership, and generosity of spirit. Stevie has received 25 Grammy Awards, an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and is the youngest recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. He is a Commander of France's National Order of Arts and Letters and has been inducted into, among others, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the NAACP Hall of Fame. He was awarded the Library of Congress' Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the Nelson Mandela Courage Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Civil Rights Museum. He received the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and is a designated U.N. Messenger of Peace with special focus on persons with disabilities. Stevie continues to be a pivotal influence in U.S. and world events, demonstrating the activism that has made him such a vital voice for social progress and world harmony.

About the Conference 

Race Matters in America’s criminal justice system. It affects what happens from initial contact with police on the street, to the end of the case and everything in between. As part of being effective advocates for their clients, criminal defense lawyers face the challenge of confronting the difficult issues presented by race in America.

This 2nd Annual NACDL event is designed to help criminal defense lawyers identify and confront issues of racial bias in the nation’s courts, the law enforcement community, by prosecutors, and yes, even the defense team. Attendees will hear from trial lawyers, academics, and formally incarcerated individuals who will offer their personal perspectives, strategies, and ideas on why Race Matters. Participants will leave with both a greater understanding of the issues and innovative tools to apply this knowledge. This program has been created to intentionally challenge you to push the envelope on your understanding of and willingness to attack racial bias in the criminal justice system.

You don't want to miss this ground-breaking event – learn more and register today at

Members of the media who wish to attend the award presentation should contact NACDL Senior Director of Public Affairs & Communications Ivan Dominguez at or 202-465-7662.

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Ivan Dominguez, NACDL Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications, (202) 465-7662 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.