Seven people honored in the 2020 Luminary Awards

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Several people were honored on Martin Luther King Jr. Day for carrying on his fight for civil and human rights.

Seven Memphis-based attorneys were honored in the Luminary Awards. The ceremony started two years ago, and the surviving members of the 1968 sanitation workers strike in Memphis were honored.

Judge Bernice Donald was one of those who were honored. She was recognized for her long list of accomplishments, including being the first African-American woman elected as a judge in Memphis.

"For me, it means that women have to take our place," Donald said. "We've always been in the background, supporting, working and pushing, but it's also OK to stand front and center."

Attorney Mike Cody was also one of the seven award recipients. He sat with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the day before he was shot and killed at the Lorraine Motel. He was working on a federal injunction to help with the civil rights leader's protest in Memphis for the sanitation workers.

"The Civil Rights Movement was black people and white people, and that's all we focused on," Cody said. "Today, the ground is much wider. We've got multiple races, gender issues and transgender issues. We've got a much more broadly defined need for civil rights."


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