Bay Area Civil Rights Group Announces MLK Award Winners


News from LCCR – SF Bay Area

February 19, 2020

Contact: Matt Kovac,, (415) 510-9601

Bay Area Civil Rights Group Announces MLK Award Winners

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra among awardees

SAN FRANCISCO – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR) announced the recipients of its annual MLK Awards for civil rights advocacy today.

Awardees will be honored at LCCR’s 33rd Annual MLK Awards Dinner at the Hyatt Regency on Wednesday, Feb. 26th, which will include remarks from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Dr. Monique W. Morris, author of Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools.

“Now more than ever, we need bold leadership on civil rights,” said Monika Kalra Varma, LCCR Executive Director. “We have been deeply moved over the past year by our awardees’ unrelenting advocacy for racial, economic, and immigrant justice in California and across the country.”

This year’s awardees include pro bono partners Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, for their work protecting immigrant children from an unlawful Trump administration policy; Cooley LLP, for their representation of small business owners of color; trial attorney Eduard Meleshinsky for his work with the GLIDE Unconditional Legal Clinic in the Tenderloin; and consulting firm Analysis Group for data analysis of poverty tows in California.

California Rural Legal Assistance and Director of Litigation, Training and Advocacy Cynthia Rice will be honored for the organization’s longstanding advocacy for education rights in rural school districts across the state.

“For over 50 years, our work has been fueled by strong partnerships within the Bay Area legal community,” said Elica Vafaie, LCCR Director of Pro Bono and Strategic Partnerships. “We congratulate the awardees on leveraging their time and talents to build a better Bay Area.”

The Awards Dinner starts at 7 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency at 5 Embarcadero Center in San Francisco. To support the fight for civil rights and LCCR-SF Bay Area, visit Please contact Matt Kovac at for press credentials.

The full awardee list can be viewed below.


Living the Dream Award
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra,

Award of Honor
Dr. Monique W. Morris

James T. Caleshu Award
Cooley LLP
Rachel Boyce

Father Cuchulain Moriarty Award
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
Sirena Castillo

Keta Taylor Colby Award
Eduard Meleshinsky

Robert G. Sproul, Jr. Award
Analysis Group
David Sosa, Aaron Yeater, Peter Hess, Deepshekhar Gupta, Alex Enrique, and Claire Yi

Jack W. Londen Award
California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc.
Cynthia L. Rice