Roger L. Johnson, Esq.
To the members and past presidents of the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter National Bar Association, it has been a privilege to serve on the Executive Board for the last three years, and I am honored to now lead this esteemed organization as your President. As we embark on a new chapter in this organization's storied history, it is my hope that we will do three things: build upon our foundation, cultivate the talents of our members, and expand our impact as the voice of Black attorneys and judges in the state of Florida.
Sometimes I am asked, “Who was Virgil Hawkins?” That question speaks to the necessity of this organization, to keep the story of Virgil’s fight for a legal education alive and to uphold his legacy in each initiative that we undertake. The journey of this organization began in 1955 with a group of legal legends who heroically fought against injustice and traveled tirelessly throughout the State of Florida providing support and strength to one another. Although we are nearly seven decades removed from that time, there are still many boulders that we face as Black lawyers and injustices that we encounter due to the color of our skin. However, the formula for conquering those boulders and injustices has not changed, and that is, working together.
This organization provides a safe space for collaboration, sharing knowledge, and collective action. It goes without saying that we are living in perilous and uncertain times here in the state of Florida. However, history tells us that we can strike a powerful blow when we join together in one voice, in spite of the political forces that continuously plot to stifle our progress.
Membership in our association is not just a title or payment of annual dues; it is a commitment to something greater than ourselves, to uphold the principles of justice, equity, and fairness. However, membership alone is not enough. Your support and presence is vital to our success and the causes we champion. We must support each other in our professional and personal endeavors, celebrate our achievements, and lift each other up in times of adversity.
I am excited to be joined on this year’s Board by a group of accomplished leaders. We met recently to discuss the vision and goals for this year, and I look forward to all of the great things we will accomplish together. We are committed to facilitating an atmosphere that allows professional development, mentorship, and social justice advocacy to flourish.
Lastly, this is not a position that I take lightly, and I will do my very best to maintain the integrity of our beloved organization and continue to push our mission forward. Thank you again for allowing me to serve!