We are drawing to the end of the 2014-2015 Bar Year, and I think it is a good time to take stock of where we are and what we have accomplished over the past several months, while considering where we are heading. The Standing Committee on Racial & Ethnic Minorities and the Law (REM) has accomplished a lot, although there is still much work to be done.
A) Renewed Focus on Useful and Effective CLE Programs
We have organized and hosted several successful programs over the course of the year, including:
• Human Trafficking and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (Presented in association with Baker & McKenzie LLP);
• Race & Sports: Racially Charged Sports Controversies and Legal Concerns; and
• Workplace Discrimination: Current Issues in Employment Law (Presented in association with Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP).
These programs proved to be useful resources for our legal community while also highlighting wider diversity issues. Our continuing legal education subcommittee members should be applauded for their efforts and success.
B) Gaining Ground
Over the course of the year, we were able to add new members, to the Standing Committee who proved to be amazing contributors to our efforts. Our new members, Korina Sanchez, Kiki Mosley, Ayesha Patel, and Geraldine D’Sousza, have provided new insights and fresh legs for the Committee, and we look forward to their contributions in the future.
We have commented on important diversity related legislation, including initiatives to better help our police officers communicate with and understand the communities they serve. Considering the current climate, we feel that this is extremely important work.
D) The Work that Remains
The importance of diversity and inclusion issues are in a state of flux both within and outside of the ISBA. Complacency usually precedes defeat. We cannot be complacent. In the coming bar year, the Committee and its members will work with the ISBA to improve diversity and diversity related programs within the ISBA, which will ultimately help to create a more diverse legal profession and community. With this in mind, I would like to ask all members of the ISBA to consider diversity issues as you progress through your daily practices. Consider how you can help make our profession more diverse. Consider how you can help make the ISBA more diverse. Consider why diversity is important. Ultimately remember that diversity is about inclusion, whether it be within the legal profession or otherwise.