The Legal Defense Fund will hold its 34th National Equal Justice Awards (NEJAD) dinner, an event hosted to highlight the fund’s social justice advocacy and advancements and to celebrate Black community leaders who work to advance civil rights. 

Of the honorees to be presented with special awards at the ceremony in New York on May 10, is legendary musician Stevie Wonder, who will be receive the inaugural Icon Award for his philanthropic contributions over the course of his career. 

In a statement obtained by Billboard,  the fund said Wonder will be honored “in recognition of his steadfast work throughout his illustrious career, spanning over half a century, which embodies LDF’s values and demonstrates his commitment to confronting the barriers that face Black Americans and other marginalized communities.”

Likewise, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Nikole Hannah-Jones, will receive the Spirit of Justice Award in honor of her courage and dedication to civil rights, including her pioneering and groundbreaking collection of slavery stories illustrated in the 1619 project. LDF will also recognize their outgoing president, Sherrilyn Ifill, with the Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Since the organization’s founding in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund has been an ardent defender of civil rights, advocating for the social, political, educational, and economic advancement of Black Americans,” LDF’s president and director-counsel, Janai S. Nelson, said. “Our honorees have unapologetically used truth as power. They have refused to back down when others tried to silence them. And they have held their convictions fiercely and been unyielding to false narratives. Most importantly, they have used truth to shape outlooks, inform mindsets, and touch souls.”

Former first lady Michelle Obama and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick will attend the ceremony virtually, by sharing video messages that speak to this year’s theme of “Truth Is Power.”

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