Judge Williams HeadshotThe Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Lecture Series, named after Judge Williams is dedicated to recognizing those individuals and organizations whose exemplary commitment to education, justice, and ethics inspires excellence and promotes the advancement of equity, pluralism, civic discourse, and democracy.

Each year the lecture focuses on one of the Center's three pillars: Education, Justice, and Ethics. During the event, a key note speaker will deliver an address to the audience and 3 organizations advancing the specific pillar will be honored. It is a day to celebrate the work of the Center and the many other organizations and individuals who are working to make this world an equitable one. 

The 4th Annual Lecture was focused on ethics. If you are interested in inquiring about opportunities to work in conjunction with the Center on the next important topic, please contact Karen Bond at kybond [at] umd.edu.  

Check out what the Center has done for the past four lectures below!

2018 Lecture

The Inaugural Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Lecture on Ethical Leadership and Civic Responsibility

"Together, I believe we can overcome cynicism by raising the expectations of civic leadership and re-imagining what it means to be a global citizen in the twenty-first century." -Judge A. Williams

On November 8, 2018, the Judge AW Center hosted the very first annual lecture which this year was centered on the theme of Ethical Leadership and Civic Responsibility. During the inaugural Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Lecture on Ethical Leadership & Civic Responsibility, the Center recognized individuals and organizations whose exemplary commitment to education, justice, and ethics inspire excellence and promote the advancement of pluralism, civic discourse, and democracy.

Attached below was an invitation for guests to attend and provide respected donations as desired:

Ethical Leadership & Civic Responsibility - JUDGE AW CENTER Lecture & Sponsorship Opportunities 08.18.pdf

Abolishing the Opportunity Gap Advancing Equity and Excellence in Public Education

On November 14, 2019, the Judge AW Center hosted the second annual lecture which this year was centered on the theme of Education. Rev. Dr. Alvin Thornton, Chair of the Prince George's County Board of Education spoke about the inequities within public education and inspired the audience to continue their commitment to advancing solutions to this issue.  

In addition to hearing Thornton's empowering lecture, the Center honored 3 organizations committed to continuously advocating for equity in education:

Loving 2 Learn Childcare Center provides all of the children in their care with a safe, nurturing, and stimulating environment.  Through our comprehensive learning program we develop and inspire children to become life long learners, develop good character, love themselves, love others, and love God.

Beloved Community Services, Inc. serves the educational, health & social services needs of underserved persons in Baltimore. Our direct services and programs are in the areas of education, job placement, food distribution, emergency funds, urban economic & commercial development, business incubation & community development. Specifically, their commercial development projects focus on restoration and rehabilitation of historic sites in Baltimore where they house organizations that provide resources, community space, commercial space and areas restored to its original state to preserve history.

The International Dyslexia Association (DCIDA) is an education and advocacy organization devoted to issues surrounding dyslexia and provides resources, opportunities, and programming to increase the understanding of dyslexia and how individuals with dyslexia can be supported in their language and literacy development.

For highlights from the lecture, check out the below video that is also on the Center's YouTube channel.

Erica Suter Speaking"More Than The Worst": Wrongful Convictions, Mass Incarceration, And Embracing The Challenges Ahead

On November 11, 2021, the Judge AW Center hosted the third annual lecture which this year was centered on the theme of Justice. Professor Erica J. Suter, Director of the Innocence Project Clinic at the University of Baltimore School of Law shared inspiring remarks about the continuous fight to bring justice to those wrongly convicted. Below are few of the many empowering quotes that were embedded within the lecture:

  1. "If you come to my home or my office you will see pictures of birds and bird figurines.  You will find bird feeders in my yard.  I love them for a simple reason.  They seem free to me. Every time I visit a client in prison I look for the birds because the idea that something can fly up and over those walls and fences whenever it wants gives me hope, the idea that something can choose to move away from what it knows and toward something it can’t yet see, gives me hope. In order to transform our criminal legal system and our society, which are inextricably linked, we must have the courage and vision to believe in something we cannot yet see, that something different is possible; and, that the unfamiliar and the uncomfortable are part of the path. "
  2. "9, 344, 000 days.  Nine Million Three Hundred Forty Four Thousand Days. 25, 600 years lost.  As of 2021, Exonerees, According to the National Registry of Exonerations served a collective 9, 344,00 days.  Men and women who were innocent of the crimes of which they were convicted. In Maryland, according to the Registry, just as of last week, there have been 42 exonerations since 1989.  And those exonerees have served a collective, 221, 555 days, 607 years."
  3. "An exoneration is a very particular thing.  It requires working against a system that is designed to preserve convictions.  Our criminal legal system worships at the altar of finality.  By the time someone has been convicted and sentenced, the burden is on them to prove that something went wrong with the trial.  The law presumes that the jury got it right and the opportunities to challenge that verdict are few and far between.  Even for the innocent, it is like threading the eye of a needle, while riding in a bus, being driven over a street filled with potholes.... On average, an exoneration takes about 7.5 years.... The exonerees are simply the ones that the public eventually knows about.  The exonerees are the miracles."
  4. "The path ahead toward a more just and equitable society is not a straight line.  It will inevitably involve joyous victories and painful defeats, but to quote Angela Davis, 'You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world.  And you have to do it all the time.'"
In addition to hearing Suter's remarks, the Center honored 3 organizations committed to pursuing justice.

Innocence Project Clinic at the University of Baltimore School of Law fights for the rights of those wrongly convicted and has won several cases to exonerate and free them.

Bridge Center at the Adam’s House is a one-stop shop in Prince George's County for returning citizens that provides critical supports needed to facilitate successfully reintegrate into their communities.

The Victim’s Rights Foundation is an organization supporting victims of violent crime.

For highlights from the lecture, check out the below video that is also on the Center's YouTube channel.

Check out some of the powerful images captured at the lecture!

Check out this video for the full lecture from Erica J. Suter. 

Judge AW Center 4th Annual Lecture on Ethics

Health Equity: At the Nexus of Science and Social Justice

“Addressing disparities necessarily requires dismantling the structural barriers that have disproportionately impacted health outcomes in historically marginalized and minoritized communities.” - Joseph L. Wright

On Thursday, November 10, 2022 from 5:30pm-8:00pm, the Judge Alexander Williams Center, Jr. Center for Education, Justice and Ethics hosted the Fourth Annual Lecture on Ethics titled "Health Equity: At the Nexus of Science and Social Justice". Joseph L. Wright, Chief Health Equity Officer of the University of Maryland Medical System, spoke about medical and structural racism and health inequities that disproportionately affect marginalized communities.

This year’s lecture was focused on Ethics. This year’s honorees were:

Roberta’s House: A Family Grief Support Center Roberta’s House is a safe place where children, teens and adults discover that they are not alone in their grief. Children with their families share their feelings, memories and experiences in an atmosphere of acceptance with the love and support of trained volunteers.

Maryland Center for Health Equity  The Maryland Center for Health Equity (M-CHE) is committed to improving the health of residents in the state of Maryland. Headquartered in the Office of the Dean at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, M-CHE is a TIER 3: Campus-wide Research Initiative Program.

Parole Health Center  From its beginnings as a PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) group offering health services to the community, to a vital, thriving health center serving Anne Arundel County residents, the Parole Health Center (PHC) has grown as the neighborhood has grown, because of the diligence and dedication of its community members. 

Click below for an online version of the program for the 4th Annual Lecture Series:

4th Lecture Flip Book