The National Bar Association, the nation's largest association of African American lawyers and judges, hosted an inaugural ball last night that brought together over 1,100 of its members from across the country. Everyone interviewed by the BLT at the gala said they couldn't be more "excited" about tomorrow's inauguration.
"I never thought it would happen this soon. It's a great day for America," says San Diego assistant U.S. attorney Randy Jones.
"Everyone's excited. Everyone's hopeful, and that's exactly what the country needs right now," says Darrell Cooper, director of practice support at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft in New York.
"I'm ecstatic," says Marian Glenn, a Justice Department attorney in the National Security Division. "I tell my children, 'You have to dare to dream because now there aren't any more hypotheticals. It's really happening.'"
The ball was a veritable who's who of the African-American legal community.
Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) put in a late appearance. Beveridge & Diamond managing partner Benjamin Wilson (far right) was there, displaying some rather impressive dance moves. Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Peggy Quince sat quietly off to the side. NBA President Rodney Moore, of counsel at Greenberg Traurig in Atlanta, worked the crowd, obviously enjoying the electricity in the air.
R&B singer Brian McKnight (below) headlined the event, opening with an original composition titled "Yes We Can" from the independent documentary Barack Obama: The Man and His Journey. McKnight's set was on the shorter side, comprising only four songs.
Despite the palpable excitement in the air at the event, Wilson reminded the crowd that "Obama's inauguration is only the beginning."
"Come Wednesday, we have a lot of work to do to enact change in this country," Wilson says.