Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor
Black History Month Celebration
Feb. 26, 2018

(Remarks prepared for delivery on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center)

Thank you, Mike.

Good afternoon, everyone – fellow justices and staff, educators, students and citizens.

As Mike noted, we’re gathered here today for the 10th time to celebrate Black History Month with a distinguished speaker.

So, it is my pleasure today to introduce Maurice Clarett.

Introducing a sports figure is something I’m not accustomed to doing.

But I try as often as I can to introduce and promote fellow Ohioans who have a passion for justice – people who are dedicated to serving the public and helping all who find themselves in need. And that is the course that Maurice Clarett is traveling. Listen closely, and you will learn a lot of things today that you can apply to your own life.

I understand that the students here today were treated to a short video clip in school of Maurice’s prowess on the football field, and the story of his life since then.

As the nation’s most exciting running back, Maurice was a key player in the Ohio State Buckeyes’ 2002 national championship season.

Today, Maurice is dedicated to educating and empowering people to create goals for themselves and develop ways to reach their goals.

He is co-founder of The Red Zone, a resource for those struggling with mental illness, drugs, alcohol and other issues.

He is a civic leader in Youngstown, his home town, and he’s a motivational speaker, traveling the nation to help people envision a better life for themselves.

Since this is Black History Month, it is fitting for me to paraphrase a great American from our past – the social scholar, statesman and human rights advocate, Frederick Douglass. He noted that our past as Americans is most useful when we apply it to our present and to our future.

Our speaker will relate to you a story of redemption – his past and how he applied it to his present – so that you can apply his many lessons to your future.

Please join me in welcoming the Supreme Court’s guest speaker for Black History Month ... Maurice Clarett.