The City of Winston-Salem presented its latest Martin Luther King Jr. Young Dreamers awards last week to attorneys Valene Franco and Ivy Lee Brown.
Each January, the awards are presented to a male and female outstanding, emerging or proven young adult leader whose work has produced a meaningful result in community inclusiveness and race relations.
Franco is the managing attorney in the Family Law Division of Legal Aid of North Carolina and has been hailed as a trailblazer for the rights of disenfranchised clients seeking civil remedies in the areas of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
On any given day, Franco may be presenting to the Governor’s Crime Commission on the finer points of domestic violence funding, representing clients in Forsyth County District Court, working with the local Domestic Violence Community Council or Sexual Assault Response Team or handling the business of her personal family. She is also a board member of Authoring Action, a local social change organization that empowers young people to use artistic expression as a vehicle toward self and community development. Franco has announced plans to run for the newly-created District Court judgeship in Forsyth County.
Brown provides pro bono legal services through the North Carolina Bar Association and has served on various legal boards and commissions, ranging from the Law School Liaison Committee of the NC Bar Association (NCBA) to the editorial board for the National Association of College and University Attorneys.
In 2010, he provided free wills, living wills and powers of attorney for the nation’s first responders through the NCBA’s Wills for Heroes program. Since 2011, Brown has provided free legal counsel for a number of clients who cannot afford representation through the NC Bar Call 4All program.
In 2009, he volunteered as a part of the WINGS, a youth tutoring and mentoring program of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce. Since 2010, he has served as a mentor through the Big Brother/Big Sisters, Graduate, It Pays and the Senior Academy programs.