The Oregon Women Lawyers 28th Annual Roberts & Deiz Award Dinner will honor Gina Johnnie with the Roberts & Deiz Award on March 13, 2020. Gina will be one of two recipients of the award. The OWLS Roberts & Deiz Award is presented each year to individuals based on their outstanding personal and professional contributions to promoting those from outside the dominant culture in our community. The award honors the legacies of Justice Betty Roberts (1923-2011) and Judge Mercedes Deiz (1917-2005), who worked to promote and advocate for women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and those with disabilities. Gina Johnnie has spent her career helping marginalized communities. Her long list of civic contributions includes positions of leadership with the Salem Outreach Center; Salem Kiwanis Club; YWCA Salem; Marion County Bar Association; Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties; Habitat for Humanity of the Mid-Willamette Valley; and the Oregon State Bar Board of Governors. Gina’s commitment and passion for service to each of these organizations has been described as “exceptional”.
Moreover, Gina’s many generous contributions to organizations and individuals have had a profound impact on her community. She single-handedly processes all mortgages for people who are purchasing their first home through the Mid-Willamette Valley Habitat for Humanity program. Jerry Ambris, executive director of the Mid-Willamette Valley Habitat for Humanity, noted that Gina’s work “is directly empowering and making life better for countless individuals in non-dominant cultures throughout Oregon.” His organization’s ability to depend on Gina’s legal counsel has better equipped it to fulfill its mission of providing everyone with a place to live. Gina has also served as a mentor and an example for attorneys in Salem. She has welcomed many to legal practice in Marion County. Colleagues say that her efforts have “allowed them to feel free to authentically be themselves.” Her legal leadership has led the way to creating policies at her firm to better accommodate new mothers, foster better work-life balance, and support nontraditional schedules with flexible work hours and telecommuting.
Additionally, her strong voice in the Marion County Courthouse Connection program, which facilitates discussion between judges, attorneys, and law clerks in the courthouse, has ensured that the group addresses topics like access to justice and environmental justice. Lastly, Gina was integral in bringing the CourtCare program to Marion County. CourtCare provides free, quality childcare in a safe, licensed environment for children whose parents or guardians have court or other local government business. The program shields children from witnessing tense and disturbing court proceedings, providing a critical resource to some of the most vulnerable members of Marion County’s marginalized communities.
This article was first published on oregonwomenlawyers.org