I'm on the road today. Actually, I was yesterday, too. I'm down in Washington, DC, attending the annual dinner for the Southern Center for Human Rights. It's an organization that was formed back in 1976, and does prison reform and death penalty defense throughout the South.
My brother Bob used to work for them. Bob took up public interest law from the time he graduated from law school, working in a variety of places -- Billings, Montana; Altoona, Pa.; and Plattsburgh, NY -- which would earn their way onto anybody's list of Places Where If I Had to Live There More than Two Years I'd Eat a Gun. After doing work for Haitian immigrants in Liberty City, Miami, he found a home with the SCHR. He was real good at it, too, winning several key cases on prisoners rights.
On Sunday, February 1, 1998, he went to take pictures of an inmate at the Fulton County Jail who'd been beaten by guards. The jail refused to let him take the pictures, so the next morning, he walked into Federal court and filed a lawsuit, and had the pictures by that afternoon. The next day, he headed off to Valdosta to see a couple more clients in the prison there. On the way back, he was killed in an automobile accident.
The SCHR sent me an invitation to their annual dinner a couple of months back, with a short note from the head of the organization telling me they were going to do a little remembrance of Bob at the dinner. That didn't surprise me. I met a lot of them when I went down for Bob's funeral, and a nicer group of people you couldn't hope to meet, and it was clear that they thought the world of him.
The organization has a real nice web site, and it recounts the many successes they've had, not only in prison reform but in death penalty litigation as well. If you've got some spare coin, they're a 501(c)(3) organization, so any contributions are tax deductible. If you want, you can earmark them for the Robert F. Bensing Fellowship Fund.
I'll be back on Monday. Have a good weekend.