The first day of May each year marks Law Day. This celebration is intended to be a time of reflection on the role of law in the foundation of our country and to recognize the law’s importance in our society. It is a day aimed to help people appreciate their liberties, especially with regard to equality and justice. It also aims to cultivate respect for the law, which is vital to our democratic way of life.
Law Day originated in 1957 when American Bar Association President Charles Rhyne envisioned a special day of celebrating the U.S. legal system. On Feb. 3, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower established Law Day by a proclamation, a practice every president since has followed. In 1961, May 1 was designated by a joint resolution of Congress as the official date of Law Day.
This year, the theme of law day is “Realizing the Dream: Equality for All.” As noted on the ABA’s Law Day website:
The year 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1963, during the Proclamation’s centennial, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and called upon our nation to live up to the great promise, enshrined in its founding documents, of equality for all. Five decades later, the inspirational words of Rev. Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech continue to resonate and challenge us to live up to our national ideal of equality under the law. The legacy of the Civil Rights Movement can be seen in the strides that have been made against discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, disability, and sexual orientation.
Law Day events will be hosted throughout Maryland. The Maryland State Bar Association conducts a day-long seminar for high school students from around the state, featuring a video and art contest. The Baltimore County Bar Association organizes an Annual Law Day Breakfast and a free afternoon program at the steps of the Baltimore City Circuit Court in Towson beginning at noon.
Law Day events are plentiful throughout Maryland. If you are organizing an event, we would like to hear about it in the comments section.