Speaking Up & Taking Action On Racism
Speaking Up & Taking Action On Racism — A Statement of Action From Diversity Lab
We denounce racism. We stand with those who experience it and with those who are fighting to eradicate it. But words alone are not sufficient in light of the recent inexplicable tragedies and long history of horrific systemic racial violence. Real change requires real actions that are meaningful and sustained long-term. And these actions must be the actions of many. In isolation, as one human or one organization, change only happens incrementally. But if enough people say there is no place for racism in their homes, workplaces, places of worship, places they frequent, and in their communities, we can embed equality into societal norms, workplace cultures, and systems of power so that these racial injustices stop once and for all.
At Diversity Lab, we fight for equality in the legal profession day-in and day-out. Our tremendous sadness and outrage surrounding the senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery along with countless other Black people has prompted us to ask ourselves, “what more can and should we be doing that is meaningful and will provoke change in and beyond the law? How can we further demonstrate through actions not just words that we care deeply about eliminating bias and creating equality in workplaces and all other facets of life?”
In addition to our current efforts, we will take the following steps:
- Starting this month and every month for the next many years to come, Diversity Lab will make donations to and amplify the messaging of organizations — such as Black Lives Matter, Campaign Zero, and Equal Justice Initiative — that are working to stop racial injustices. We will also continue to partner with and make monetary and in-kind donations to legal organizations such as the Diverse Attorney Pipeline Program, National Black Law Students Association, and Leadership Institute for Women of Color Attorneys to ensure that we have a diverse pipeline of lawmakers, allies, and upstanders in the leadership ranks in law. We’ll post our contributions on social media regularly so others can join us in donating and supporting them.
- We will keep a list of “public statements” that corporations and law firms make related to racial justice over the next year and follow-up to track and publicly announce the actions they are taking in hopes that these statements become true change and not just words.
- We will partner with other action-oriented legal organizations such as the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession so that the actions we take within the legal community to combat racism are united and not splintered into disparate less-impactful efforts. We are more powerful together. We will report on these collaborations and actions publicly so others can join us.
- And, of course, we will continue our work through the Mansfield Rule, the Move the Needle Fund, OnRamp Fellowship, and other efforts to help law firms and legal departments diversify their workforces. These organizations’ lawyers are powerful in the fight for equality on many fronts. They contribute more than five million hours annually in legal services for pro bono and civic causes, many of which are focused on stopping racial injustices and violence. They push for institutional change at the governmental level through reforms and legislation that reduce the power in prejudice. And many of them go on to become members of Congress, Senators, judges, attorneys general, and other influential forces who institute and uphold laws that support racial justice.
Words matter. But more than ever, we need actions that are transparent, accountable, and sustainable to back up those words. Our Black friends, neighbors, and colleagues need and deserve more than empty rhetoric.
From the team at Diversity Lab