The Upstate Mediation Center (“UMC”) is pleased to announce the 2020 Peacemaker Award recipient is Meliah Bowers Jefferson. Ms. Jefferson was nominated for her work in organizing the Lawyers Standing Against Racial Injustice Protest, a peaceful protest by lawyers in Greenville, this summer following the death of George Floyd.
Ms. Jefferson, a litigation attorney with Wyche, PA, was inspired to bring together members of the Greenville County Bar Association to stand together against racial injustice. She organized a peaceful protest for attorneys: plaintiff attorneys and defense attorneys; solicitors and defenders; adversaries and advocates. Bringing together all members of the Bar regardless of their demographics, Ms. Jefferson invited the attorneys to gather on a summer afternoon in front of the Peace Center in downtown Greenville in solidarity with those across the country protesting racial injustice. South Carolina Legal Services Deputy Director of Operations and General Council Rusty Infinger recalls, “She encouraged us to show up and publicly stand against the long-standing atrocities being faced by African Americans and people of color. She encouraged all to come together to sing, chant, make signs and demonstrate our commitment against racial injustice. As lawyers, we are the stewards of bringing about justice. Because of Meliah’s efforts we had a platform to do this–to demonstrate to the community that racial injustice in any form and in any location is intolerable in a just society.”
The UMC Board of Directors feel that Ms. Jefferson’s inspired leadership exemplifies the purpose the Peacemaker Award.
The Peacemaker Award is designed to recognize a member of the community who has made a significant difference in promoting tolerance, building good will and understanding, resolving conflict, and striving for peace.
The award will be given in the Spring. An event is tentatively planned to be held at the Peacemaker Bench in Cleveland Park where Ms. Jefferson’s name will be added to a plaque recognizing past Peacemakers.
The Upstate Mediation Center is a non-profit organization that offers a voluntary alternative to the adversarial Court process by resolving disputes through use of mediation. The Upstate Mediation Center aims to promote the use of mediation and other non-adversarial means of resolving conflicts and to nurture peace by restoring and strengthening family, business and community relationships. For more information about the center and the Peacemaker Celebration, see www.upstatemediation.com.
Wyche is a full-service law firm that has practiced law and served the community for more than 100 years. In that time, Wyche has participated in landmark litigation, served as counsel on cutting-edge transactions, and provided community leadership that has helped shape and drive our region’s growth and success. With offices in Greenville, Spartanburg, and Columbia, Wyche is the South Carolina member of Lex Mundi, the world’s leading association of independent law firms.