In honor and recognition of Black History Month, please allow me a few minutes to reflect on a few leaders in our community who we lost in 2020. They were friends and mentors to me, and I will never forget their kindnesses. These are people who made me better simply by their presence and friendship, while at the same time had a profound impact on our entire community.
The Honorable Vivian Burke was a long-time community leader who many of us only read about in the news through her work in our great city. I had the honor and privilege of knowing her for more than three decades. She gave me encouragement and support as a young lawyer. At community events I always sought opportunities to sit at her table where she graciously welcomed me every time. She taught me lessons in leadership by the strongest possible method any of us have at our disposal . . . by example.
Likewise, my longtime good friend and lawyer Greg Davis served many years as the Federal Public Defender for the Middle District of North Carolina. Greg gave me guidance as a new lawyer almost 40 years ago, and he remained a good friend and colleague. He was a kind and gentle soul and a friend to all who knew him.