Mawuli Mel Davis (J.D. ’02)

Southern Center for Human Rights to Honor Davis (J.D. ’02)

The Southern Center for Human Rights will honor Mawuli Mel Davis (J.D. ’02) with its inaugural SCHR Luminary Award at its annual Justice Taking Root Benefit Reception on Tuesday, May 12.

The award recognizes a person who inspires and influences others by his or her fearless and relentless efforts to advance the cause of social justice. The center is honoring Davis for his work holding police accountable for misconduct and acts of violence.

While still on active duty as a Naval officer, Davis started at Georgia State University College of Law. “Before I entered law school, I had been exposed to progressive human rights activists who were organizing around issues that impacted people from my community,” Davis said. “I came to law school as an activist hoping to obtain additional skills that could be helpful in the ongoing struggle for civil and human rights.”

On his first day at Georgia State Law, Davis met Robert Bozeman (J.D. ’00). Together, they founded the Davis Bozeman Law Firm – a practice focused on personal injury, civil rights and criminal defense. Davis leads the Civil Rights and Criminal Defense Trial Sections. In recent years, the firm has a built a strong reputation for supporting social justice issues.

“We have been successful in fighting for social justice because we take it personally when someone in our community is injured. We have handled incidents of police shooting unarmed African-American men, paralyzing individuals they are taking into custody and arresting people without probable cause,” Davis said. “These cases are emotionally draining and difficult to win, but we have engaged the community when we handle them. They have responded by not only supporting the impacted families but the overall cause.”

In a letter to Davis about his award, Sara Totonchi, executive director, wrote, “There have been so many times in recent years that we have been so inspired by your leadership, your fearlessness and your steadfastness in taking on many social justice issues. Your work shines as a beacon of hope in an otherwise bleak political atmosphere. We admire your tenacity and take inspiration from your success.”

He is deeply honored to receive the Luminary Award. “I am humbled to receive this prestigious award from a leader in our profession in the human rights movement,” he said. “I consider it an acknowledgment of not only me, but also of our firm, my family and the activists that we have organized with over the years to stop police brutality and mass incarceration.”

Davis credits the connections he made while at Georgia State Law with helping him realize his potential as an activist attorney.

“When I arrived at Georgia State Law, I found professors, students, programs and services that encouraged me to remain engaged as an activist through the law. Those relationships continue to nurture me as activist attorney, and I am eternally grateful.”

The Southern Center for Human Rights is a nonprofit law organization based in Atlanta that provides legal representation to people facing the death penalty, challenges human rights violations in prisons, seeks to improve legal representation for poor people accused of crimes, and advocates for reforms on behalf of those affected by the criminal justice system in the Southern United States.


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