It's an honor to serve as LeGaL’s Board President, especially during this year, with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. That event, sparked by three trans women of color, became the fire that powered our drive to equality, and it is never far from my mind that it is on their shoulders - and the shoulders of those who have come before me in this great organization, on which all of us stand. We've come a long way since a small meeting 41 years ago in Prof. Art Leonard 's apartment. Our past president, Gennaro Savastano, and his predecessor, Meredith Miller deserve great thanks for helping to build LeGaL into the vibrant and important organization that we have today, a bar association that puts its values into practice throughout the legal system. At our clinics, we provide direct legal services to those in our community who need help. We bring impact cases that defend the rights of LGBTQI New Yorkers, including non-biological parents. And we provide support and career development services to members, including a mentoring program designed to bring along the next generation of attorneys who, simply by their visibility, are already champions for equality. Atop that, we have one of my favorite initiatives - LeGaL's visible and highly effective presence that is bringing about legislative change. We expect to celebrate two major successes next week, when both houses of the New York Legislature are expected to pass a statewide ban on conversion therapy and GENDA, barring discrimination against transgender New Yorkers and bringing them within the protection of our state's hate crimes statutes. We expect Governor Cuomo will sign both bills into law in the coming days. I'll be in Albany on Tuesday with our Executive Director, Eric Lesh, and many LeGaL leaders for the floor votes. I urge those of you who can to join us, and the legislators who've championed those bills for decades, as we see the first dividends from last November's sea change in the makeup of the State Senate. And March 7th we'll be holding LeGaL's annual gala - with a lot to celebrate - at a new and larger venue. You'll see the invitations soon for a very special evening at Cipriani Wall Street. But that's just the very beginning. New partnerships with other bar associations will bring immediate benefits to LeGaL members. You'll see the first announcements in just a couple of days. In short, this year is one of great promise, with huge progress in New York on our immediate horizon. I'm hoping that you will join and support LeGaL in bringing and celebrating that change.
With gratitude for the confidence you've shown in me and great respect for the tasks ahead,
Kristen Prata Browde LeGaL President