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January 11, 2015

Church of the Crossroads, January 19, 2015, 7 pm

Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing (AHFI) stockholder/director Ellen Godbey Carson has been selected for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Peacemaker Award at the annual MLK Celebration at the Church of the Crossroads. For more than 20 years, the Church has honored a Hawai`i community leader or organization whose life and work exemplify commitment to the ideals of peace, justice and equality in the spirit of Dr. King. This year, the award is presented jointly with St. Andrews Cathedral.

Carson has fought for equal justice throughout her 35-year legal career. She was one of the lead counsel in William Hohri et al vs. United States of America, the national class action lawsuit on behalf of Japanese-Americans deprived of their civil liberties and imprisoned in World War II internment camps. The 1984 lawsuit paved the way for a Presidential apology and Congressional redress payments to survivors. In Suzanne Osgood v. District of Columbia, Carson represented the plaintiff in a prisoner rights/religious freedom lawsuit resulting in a consent order against the Washington, DC, government requiring respect for the religious freedom of inmates.  Carson’s legal work in Hawai`i has focused primarily on healthcare law and litigation, women’s rights, alternative dispute resolution, and justice and equality issues. She was named the 2012 Hawai`i Healthcare Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America®, and has a Martindale-Hubbell AV rating. She is an honors graduate of Harvard Law School.

Carson has been recognized by the Hawaii State Bar Association with its 1989 Pro Bono Award for meritorious community service; by the American Bar Association with its 2006 Margaret Brent Award, given each year to just five women attorneys across the country who have made significant contributions toward securing equality for women; and by the Mediation Center of the Pacific with its 2012 Collaboration Award.  She has been active in seeking equality and respect for the lesbian, gay and transgender community, and has provided Biblical Self-Defense workshops within religious faith communities.  In her service as President of the Sex Abuse Treatment Center, the Institute for Human Services, Hawaii Women Lawyers and the Hawaii State Bar Association, she has advocated continuously for greater justice, respect and equality for marginalized persons, and assisted in providing expanded services for unmet needs of the community.  Born and raised in Tennessee, Carson was influenced by the racial discrimination witnessed there and decided to become a lawyer to advocate for justice and equality. 


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