Legendary Attorney Tony Serra Among 10 Justice Warriors Honored at Vanguard Awards Gala

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On Thursday, October 19, 2023, at 6:00 pm the Vanguard News Group will be hosting its annual Justice Awards Gala and Ceremony at The Bank in downtown Sacramento.

Headlining the evening is keynote speaker Alex Vitale, author of the seminal book, The End of Policing. Vitale, Professor of Sociology, and Coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College has spent the last 30 years writing about policing and consults with both police departments and human rights organizations internationally.

Among the headlining awardees will be:

  • Tony Serra, Legendary San Francisco Attorney, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award;
  • State Senator Steven Bradford, author of SB 2 (the Police Decertification bill) and SB 50 which would ban pretext stops. Recipient of the Legislator of the Year award;
  • Franky Carrillo—wrongfully convicted and exonerated by The Innocence Project and now a candidate for Congress in Los Angeles, will receive the Exoneree of the Year award.

The Vanguard is a nonprofit news organization whose network of reporters and interns across the state monitor and report on criminal court proceedings. “We highlight cases that deserve more attention, whether it be wrongful convictions or to demonstrate the inhumane treatment of those trapped in a truly unforgiving system of injustice,” said David Greenwald, CEO of the Vanguard News Group.

During the awards ceremony, the Vanguard will be honoring ten individuals and/or groups and organizations who have helped to further the cause of social justice and criminal justice reform.

The proceeds from this event help fund the Vanguard Court Watch and Vanguard Incarcerated Press, featuring the voices of those incarcerated.

In the last two years, the internship program has helped dozens of women of color go to law school.

Tickets start at $100 per plate.  Sponsors at $250.  To sponsor this event and support this incredibly important cause – visit this website:  http://tinyurl.com/Vanguard2023.

Recipients of the 2023 Vanguard Justice Awards include:

  • Civil Rights Award: Joanne Scheer, Felony Murder Elimination Project
  • Distinguished Attorney: Juliana Drous, Criminal Defense/ Wrongful Convictions
  • Distinguished Attorney: Danielle Harris, SF Public Defender’s Office
  • Elected Official: Senator Steven Bradford
  • Formerly Incarcerated: Philip Melendez, Smart Justice California
  • Formerly Incarcerated: Jesse Vasquez, Friends of San Quentin News
  • Wrongful Conviction Award: Franky Carrillo, Exoneree
  • Social Justice Organization: Cristine Soto DeBerry/ Prosecutor’s Alliance
  • Youth Social Justice Award: Xochitl Lairos, CURYJ
  • Lifetime Achievement: Tony Serra, Legendary Attorney
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