Stevie Wonder Receives Icon Award From Legendary Civil Rights Organization, Legal Defense Fund
Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Legal Defense Fund

The Legal Defense Fund is back celebrating truth-tellers and justice fighters at its annual awards ceremony after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.

On Tuesday, at the 34th National Equal Justice Awards Dinner at Lincoln Center in New York City, LDF honored Stevie Wonder with its inaugural Icon Award. Previous LDF President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill received the historic civil rights organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and 1619 Project creator and ESSENCE cover star Nikole Hannah-Jones won the Spirit of Justice Award.

Founded by the first Black Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall, LDF has served Black people across the country for generations with hard-won legal victories, including Brown v. Board of Education.

The annual awards ceremony serves as a call to action to support the organization’s work, especially in an era when civil rights— from freedom of speech, to rights to privacy and bodily autonomy— continue to be eroded.

Here are 5 special moments from this year’s ceremony, themed “Truth is Power”:

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