Longstanding systemic racism coupled with recent heartbreaking events—including the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Riah Milton—have had a profound impact on our nation, communities, individuals and our firm. Feelings of anger, frustration and pain are strong. But we cannot become paralyzed. The attention on this issue has created an opportunity for action, change and sustained momentum.
Although Shook has always held a passionate commitment to diversity, inclusion and social justice issues, now more than ever we have a chance to redouble our efforts, seize the moment, and advance diversity and inclusion even more—both inside and outside the firm.
Shook believes in the First Amendment and its protection of the right to assemble, peaceful protest and the protections of a free press. We support everyone who decides to peacefully exercise this basic right. We believe that the promise of civil rights is the promise of freedom from the threat of violence in all communities. We believe that conscious and unconscious biases have harmed our institutions and our profession. We are using our talents and resources to provide important leadership on diversity, inclusion and related social justice issues.
We will continue to partner with many different organizations, including the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession; the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity; Minority Corporate Counsel Association; Equal Justice; and state, local and minority bar associations. Shook’s pro bono team is also working with Legal Aid and other services to represent peaceful protesters and others expressing and protecting civil rights and those adversely affected by misuse of authority.
In addition to seeking creative solutions as a firm to enhance our world, our employees are also encouraged and supported to personally engage in promoting racial equity. We were all granted a personal day of reflection and introspection to develop individual and group plans of action. There are countless ways to engage including pro bono representation, mentorship, volunteer services, writing letters to decision-makers and holding open conversations on difficult topics. We strive to inspire other law firms and businesses.
United, we will make a difference.