Sherry P. Broder
One would think that after working on a single case for 25 years, the fire would start to fade, but that is hardly the truth for Honolulu human rights attorney Sherry Broder.
Broder has been closely involved with the human-rights abuse case against former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos since 1987, a case that in January awarded $10 million in settlement distribution money to claimants, a large majority of whom live in poverty in the Philippines.
“It is very important to hold these dictators accountable. They use their positions not just for power, but also to be corrupt and to take money from a country that belongs to the people,” says Broder, who graced MidWeek‘s cover on Nov. 7, 1992. “These cases are especially important now as we see allegations being made against Mubarak of Egypt, and former president of Haiti Jean-Claude Duvalier, who is trying to recover funds from a Swiss bank account.”
A prominent and established attorney, Broder has received numerous awards and accolades for work throughout her career. She is most proud of the Ved Nanda Center for International Law Human Rights Award she received in 2007.
“It was the first award they have given out for human rights. It was for my collective work on the Marcos case as well as other work on social justice issues on a national level,” she says. “The award really means a lot to me.”
Broder, who in 1993 was the first woman elected president of the Hawaii State Bar Association, still sits as chairwoman of the awards committee for the association. Broder also has been very much involved recently with philanthropic initiatives, as she has been appointed director of the Sam L. Cohen foundation, supporting education, arts and culture, and civic and community improvement.
On a state level, Broder finds that Hawaii is very fortunate to have our judiciary system, but her only concern is that furlough days could negatively affect the justice system.
“Our judges already work very hard and, with furloughs, that could mean that justice delayed in certain cases can be justice denied, especially in the civil arena,” she says.
When she isn’t working to bring justice to those who most deserve it, Broder enjoys gardening, reading and has recently gotten back on her surf-board.
As someone whose career was driven by a passion for justice, Broder says, “It is very important to follow a path in life that has meaning for you as a person, and that allows you to have passion in your work.”
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