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Akbar Thomas Resources and Education

[Video] Community Catch-up – July 2023

Here’s a Transcription of this Video for Easy Reading

[Amiya (Host)] Hey everyone, I’m Amiya, your host for today’s Community Catch-up with Akbar Thomas. Today we are thrilled to have the dynamic duo of our firm, Attorney Thomas and Attorney Akbar, with us. Today, we will spill the beans and update you on upcoming events in our community. Let’s dive right in.

[Amiya] Attorney Thomas, we’ve had a flurry of events in our community, could you share insights on what has impacted you the most?

[Attorney Thomas] Thankfully, the school year has concluded. It was a wonderful year, and I know many parents, like us, are excited about the summer. We’ve been fortunate to have our children around, bringing a different energy. As summer started, we sponsored The Joyce Elina Foundation Community Baby Shower. It was such a treat. We created a special day to shower  mothers in our community. They left with car seats, baby essentials, diapers, bottles, and other necessities for the first few weeks post-birth. It’s been a joy to support these moms.

[Amiya] Attorney Akbar, have there been any events this year that stood out for you?

[Attorney Akbar] Yes, there have been numerous events. As you may know, I’m both the president of NAACP Tallahassee Branch, and a managing partner here at the firm, which means I sometimes wear both hats as far as the activism and the community work that we’ve been doing. My recent participation in a bus tour through Florida is one to mention. It was a 15-city tour, with Tallahassee being the first stop. We had to shift our location to Bethel Baptist due to rain, but in that I had the opportunity to speak to people on the tour. I wanted to emphasize that it’s important not only to protest, but to actually do work, get people engaged, and get the community engaged, not just the people that are ordinarily protesting. Going into the communities like French Town where we are located and educating the community on why it’s important to be engaged politically. 

[Amiya] Why do you think it’s vital for Akbar Thomas to be actively involved in the community?

[Attorney Akbar] These events keep us motivated. Whether it’s an event for first-time mothers or “Know Your Rights” sessions, it’s crucial for us to stay engaged. A lesson from law school comes to mind: Charles Houston once said, “If you’re not a social engineer, then you’re merely a parasite on society.” As lawyers, we strive to be social engineers. We are deliberate in our work for the community, and that won’t change. 

[Attorney Thomas]: It’s been a remarkably busy year for us, with significant involvement in the community and numerous cases in the office. A particularly noteworthy case was that involving Sharon Lettman-Hicks and Andrew Gillum. We partnered with local attorney Robert Morris in this endeavor. Representing Sharon, who faced the majority of the charges, was a significant responsibility. But our successful defense wasn’t just a win for her; it symbolized justice for our entire community.

[Attorney Akbar]: The case indeed required an immense amount of work. We spent three taxing weeks in federal court. While Andrew Gillum was a notable figure in the case, it’s crucial to emphasize that Sharon was at the epicenter of most charges. With the federal government’s daunting 99% conviction rate, it was a heavy burden, and the post-trial advocacy was equally important as the trial itself. The jury was hung, meaning they didn’t reach a unanimous verdict. We made efforts to understand their perspectives, emphasizing our continuous commitment to Sharon. This case was not only a professional achievement but also demonstrated our unwavering dedication to the community. Collaborating with Robert Morris, whose expertise was invaluable, we ardently sought justice for our client and the community.

[Attorney Thomas]: The case undoubtedly stood as a testament to justice and the hard work our office pours into every endeavor. But, as they say, there’s no rest for the weary. Right after that trial, we had another case waiting, then mediations and more. Our office operates non-stop, driven by our commitment to the community, our clients, and our staff. Our very first billboard proclaimed us as advocates both in the courtroom and the community, a sentiment we’ve embodied for nearly a decade. We’re here not just as legal representatives but as genuine helpers for anyone in need. Every day, we aim to make a palpable difference.

[Attorney Akbar] While we’re always immersed in work, I am keenly looking forward to July 19th when I’ll be on a panel for the National Day of Social Action. The discussions will span from the nuances of protest to the promises of change, with topics like gun rights on the agenda. It promises to be an enlightening experience.

[Attorney Thomas] Additionally, as we do every year, we are gearing up for the Akbar Thomas Tailgating Experience. We’re committed to being present at all the home games for Florida University. If you’re interested, find us at space 616. For updates, visit the Akbar Thomas Facebook page.

[Amiya] It’s always a delight discussing with you both, Attorney Thomas and Attorney Akbar. Your commitment to our community is commendable. To our viewers, remember, if you need support after an injury or want to be more community-involved, reach out to us. Thank you for tuning in, and see you at our next community event!