Parker Poe has been listening deeply to our attorneys and staff as we process the horrific killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor over the past few weeks. Words cannot describe the anguish and outrage that we are feeling from those events and conversations, nor can they capture the pain of our colleagues who are people of color. We have also been listening to the voices of multitudes of other Americans who are protesting our country’s long history of racial injustice and systemic racism. These many voices, from within and without, inspire and challenge us to renew our commitment to our values and to stand against such injustice and inequality. We cannot sit idly by while it continues.
This requires action. It requires us to work for the change that we want to see. And our work continues as a firm:
- Our attorneys are actively pursuing pro bono cases representing individuals who have been arrested during peaceful protests.
- Our attorneys are counseling Black-owned businesses that have experienced distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Our annual, day-long Parker Poe Community Service Day has been revamped and extended beyond just one day, and it will be centered on organizations and opportunities that are committed to furthering racial equality.
- We are working with our long-time pro bono client Exodus Foundation, whose expressed mission is to stop the flow of African Americans to prison, in its effort to secure a space to which prisoners can be released to quarantine and prepare to return home and back to the workforce.
- We are encouraging our attorneys and staff to commit personally to address systemic racism. Whether it’s volunteering to mentor a child or working for broader change, our firm will support our family in making a difference.
- I am making a personal commitment. I will call on my fellow managing partners in our communities to harness our resources and energy to create long-term impact and address racial disparities and other injustices.
- And we are intensely focused on our own Parker Poe family, renewing our commitment to the recruitment, retention, development, and advancement of diverse attorneys, as well as training our leadership on implicit bias and managing across differences.
We want you to join us. Stand with our friends, colleagues, and neighbors in our African American community. Do not tolerate injustice. Resist complacency. Educate yourself. Reflect on what you are learning. Ask what you can do. Listen with an open mind. Volunteer. Speak up. No action is too small.
We are thankful for our clients, colleagues, and especially those in our Parker Poe family who have helped to shine a light on the injustice all around us. This is just a start, and we look forward to working within our communities to pursue lasting justice for all.