The killing of George Floyd by a police officer last week has hit hard. We are collectively horrified by the senseless brutality of his death, and the deaths of others like Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, that once again reveal to us the pervasiveness of systemic racism in our society, particularly toward African Americans. Unfortunately these are not unique events – a reality leaving us anguished over what to do and how to respond. Many of us are feeling an array of difficult emotions right now, including shock, anger, sadness, helplessness, disgust, grief and fear. This is happening amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic and economic crisis that amplify multiple long-existing rifts in our society and amidst a political divide that is as extreme as I have experienced in my lifetime. In addition, there have been increases in anti-Asian American bigotry and violence during the pandemic. People of color are bearing a disproportionate share of the adverse effects of this crisis. This should deeply concern us all.
Fenwick is a diverse and inclusive community, and we must prioritize ensuring that every individual at Fenwick can feel safe, is able to be heard, and is a welcomed and embraced member of our community. This must be true for all Fenwickians regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs, or position within the firm. Our diversity is our strength, and we should view it as an opportunity to grow and learn from one another. In these very troubled times, we must start by humbly recognizing that while we may feel sadness, anger or disgust about recent events, most of us cannot fully appreciate or internalize the reactions that are very personal and deeply painful to some of our colleagues.
“When we see injustice, bigotry or bias, we must use our privilege and our platform to redress it.”
We have a great deal of work ahead of us to heal the deep rifts in our society. We are a community of talented and privileged individuals who have the ability to make a real difference in that endeavor. We can be proud of being a leading law firm for diversity, and we will not let up in our work to ensure that our firm and our profession reflect and fairly serve all members of our society. This work is more important than ever. Take the opportunity to raise your own awareness and reflect on the actions that we can and should take to live up to our ideals. We have the ability to be persuasive voices for others, and it is our obligation to do so. When we see injustice, bigotry or bias, we must use our privilege and our platform to redress it. We can and will continue to support causes that strive toward equal justice, and many of our pro bono and community engagement activities will also afford us opportunities to turn toward action that supports these values.
I thank you for displaying the empathy and compassion needed to ensure that we fully reflect our firm values during such an extremely challenging time. I am disappointed in our society right now but I am not without hope. I hope that recent events will serve as a call to action for each of us individually, and collectively, as it is incumbent upon on every one of us to play a role in healing our society and blazing a new path toward equality and justice. I am proud to be a part of this community with you and look forward to the important work that we will continue to do together.
Sunday, May 31, 2020