by Robyn K. Riedel, Photos by Kevin Graft
Operation Protect and Defend is a program by lawyers and judges committed to civic education in public schools, reflecting the wisdom of Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy that “Democracy must be taught.”
Since 2001, Operation Protect & Defend (OPD) has hosted its Annual Law Day Dinner. In May, with over 250 people in attendance, OPD honored over 30 students from 12 local high schools for their achievements in OPD’s classroom dialogues and Story of America Essay Contest and Modern Masters of Art Contest. The dinner is the culmination of OPD’s year-long effort and provides students an opportunity to interact with judges and attorneys from the Sacramento region.
OPD’s Executive Chair, Deborah Barnes, welcomed all in attendance and recognized the importance of instilling civics in our high school students. Master of Ceremonies Justice Elena J. Duarte and Ann Kanter, Director of Modern Masters of America contest, presented the awards. Justice Duarte also introduced the evening’s keynote speaker California Supreme Court Associate Justice Goodwin Liu. Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. (Ret.), a founder of OPD, provided closing remarks, which included a look back at the history of OPD. Judge Damrell introduced the previous OPD Executive Chairs, and incoming Executive Chair, Kelley Lincoln.
The event was co-sponsored by Sacramento County Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association. The strong support of the Sacramento legal community—bench and bar—continues to make OPD’s Annual Law Day Dinner a huge success, especially for the students who are engaged in civics education.