Lisa M. Taylor '96
Consider a few of the ways Lisa Taylor, a civil rights attorney at the United States Department of Justice, has-so early in a career-brought change to families, classrooms, communities, and the lives of Americans:
In 2009, she successfully negotiated the settlement of a case in rural Louisiana's Evangeline Parish, securing for Ville Platte High School's students- the majority of whom are African American-$3 million in building renovations, an enhanced Advanced Placement program, and additional African-American teachers.
Last year, she prevailed in a case in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, correcting the over-identification of African-American students who were placed in special education classes.
She has monitored voting precincts in Florida to ensure that Haitian-American voters were not disenfranchised; and she developed an intake process to address post-September 11th backlash discrimination complaints.
In her current responsibilities at the Justice Department, Lisa enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act, investigating claims of discrimination in employment, education, and hospitals throughout the country.
Given that record, it is not surprising that Lisa has received numerous Department of Justice awards for her outstanding performance in enforcing civil rights laws since she joined Justice in 2001 as one of ten Honors Attorneys, having graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law. She is chair of the Department's Association of Black Attorneys, and in that role has met with Attorney General Eric Holder to encourage enhanced diversity at the Department and ensure that qualified black candidates are considered for the position of United States Attorney in districts throughout the country. She also partnered with the other DOJ organizations of color, DOJ Pride, and the Attorney General's Advisory Committee on Disabilities to encourage diversity at the greatest level in the Department.
An English major at Holy Cross where she was a NROTC student, SGA co-chair and a Presidential Service Award recipient, Lisa served onboard the USS Tarawa after graduation. There she supervised a 42-member division; trained a crew of 900 personnel; and developed the ship's first sexual harassment program.
Lisa has said that she decided to go to law school to strengthen her ability to serve those who could not serve themselves. And she has said that as a civil rights attorney for the United States of America, she believes she has the best job in the world.
For her unwavering commitment to public service; for working to ensure that no child is denied an educational opportunity; for her tenacity, passion, and promotion of justice, the College of the Holy Cross presents to Lisa M. Taylor the Sanctae Crucis Award.