Greater Miami Legal Services Presents Three Equal Justice Leadership Awards

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Legal Services of Greater Miami (Legal Services), the largest provider of large-scale civil legal services for low-income residents of Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, virtually honored distinguished equal justice leaders from the South Florida community at the 12th Annual Heart of Giving Celebration and Court Reception.

The famous host, Neki Mohan, was the master of ceremonies for the virtual event presented on September 30.

Three trailblazers were recognized as incredible leaders who dedicated much of their lives to ensuring equal access to justice and opportunity:
• The 2021 Equal Justice Leadership Award to Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava;
• 2021 Equal Justice Judicial Leadership Award to Hon. Marcia G. Cooke, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and
• Equal Justice Philanthropic Prize awarded posthumously to Jacqueline Allee Smith.

The Heart of Giving celebration is an integral part of Legal Services‘ “Together We Must” campaign for justice. The campaign, co-chaired by Brigid Cech Samole (Greenberg Traurig), Jason Kellogg (Levine, Kellogg, Lehman, Schneider + Grossman) and Lilly Ann Sanchez (The L∙S Law Firm), was organized in 2009 to raise awareness of the critical need for free civil legal services for vulnerable members of our community and to raise funds for legal services to continue to meet this need. It celebrates community leaders and philanthropists who contribute to the mission of Legal Services and help in the fight for equal justice.

“The past year has taught us the importance of access to a safe place to call home as well as to food, health care and education, and we have learned how much that access is tenuous for so many of our neighbours,” said Monica Vigues-Pitan. , Executive Director of Greater Miami Legal Services.

“Our advocacy keeps families in their homes, provides medical coverage, provides supplemental income for food, and provides access to other essentials of personal safety and well-being. Over the past 55 years, our impact has never was only possible thanks to the support of the community which allows us to achieve far-reaching results for those who have nowhere to turn,” added Vigues-Pitan.

About 300 members of the legal and business community enjoyed two outstanding performances by Nicole Henry, one of jazz’s most acclaimed singers. Robert Fatovic, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Ryder System, title sponsor of the event, shared a touching and poignant message confirming a multi-year donation in memory of recently deceased Ryder attorney and member Julie Azuaje. of legal services advice for 15 years. .

Other highlights of the evening include a story from Army veteran, legal services client Felix Cepeda and special appearances from Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Jose “Pepe” Diaz and R. Donahue Peebles, Founder, President and CEO of Peebles Corporation.

Guests enjoyed the virtual presentation and raised funds through an online auction featuring a number of amazing items in the categories of fashion, art, personal care, epicurean delights, travel and more ; as well as a magnificent art exhibition curated by Susana Baker, entitled Murals of Humanity, “The Colors of Humanity”, which included many influential and impressive artisans from the South Florida community, including: Ekaterina Abramova, Armando Colls, Max Jamali, Monique Lassooij, Lindsey Lux and Diogo Snow.

The evening was a highly anticipated annual event, generously sponsored by nearly 70 companies and well attended by a video celebration by the professional community, in support of Greater Miami Legal Services. To view the Heart of Giving celebration on demand, please visit

Legal Services of Greater Miami is the largest provider of full-scale civil legal services for the poor in Miami-Dade and Monroe and is recognized statewide and nationwide as a model legal services program. For more information, visit

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