Patel honored with St. Thomas Black Law Student Association’s MLK Award
St. Thomas College of Law’s Black Law Student Association presented its inaugural Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Award to alumnus and philanthropist Ricky Patel.
The MLK Award is given to someone who has continued to show dedication to serving and uplifting the Black community.
Judge Tarlika Navarro presented Patel the award, in recognition of his efforts for helping the African American community. In 2019, Patel established ITS4THEKIDS with the intention of making a larger direct impact in underprivileged communities. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020, ITS4THEKIDS developed Bridge The Gap, a program in which the organization collects items and donates them to police departments in Miami for its officers to hand-deliver to underserved communities where they work in an effort to forge better relations between police officers and civilians in those communities.
Notable attendees included LaToya Ratlieff, a protestor who was shot in the face with a rubber bullet on May 31 while protesting police violence. LaToya drove four hours to watch Patel receive the award, and at the ceremony she spoke about becoming the face of Bridge The Gap, a program she says is very passionate about.
ITS4THEKIDS is a philanthropic foundation that provides aid and support to children who are facing unique challenges to their health and wellbeing. Mr. Patel and his team strongly believe their approach will provide children the opportunity to become healthy and fulfilled adults who could then help others in the community and around the world.
Patel is a senior partner at Farrell, Patel, Jomarron & Lopez law firm, and president of The Spot Barbershop. The son of refugees, he was the first in his family to graduate from high school. Having lived in communities where he faced harsh prejudices himself, he was motivated to become a lawyer so that he could make a difference in the community as a crusader for justice, and so he could dedicate his time and resources to charitable causes.
In the past 10 years, Patel has donated $2.5 million to organizations like Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation, Fashion Gives Back, Gracious Hands Orphanage in Haiti, United Way, Little Lighthouse Foundation, Miami Children’s Hospital, and more.