Racial Injustice – Where We Stand and What We Are Doing
On May 31, we wrote to our Smith Anderson family about the killing of Black citizens and our call as a firm to do everything we can to be strong and to defend against the injustices that continue to exist in our society. Today, we want to share our commitment with the broader community.
The violent injustice inflicted upon George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many others whose names we know and do not know requires us to acknowledge, collectively and individually, the existence and pervasiveness of racism in our country.
Today we feel it is important as a law firm and as leaders in our community, to say clearly and unequivocally to our clients, our employees, and our neighbors that we stand firmly on the side of justice, equality and truth.
We believe speaking out against systemic racism is necessary, but alone insufficient. At Smith Anderson we intend to take immediate and sustained action to make a difference.
We will support change by listening and engaging in honest conversations and truthful, if sometimes uncomfortable, self-examination. Through our Diversity & Inclusion Committee we will provide opportunities for training, collective learning, and honest conversation about race in our country. We will redouble our existing initiatives in service of justice, equality and truth. Through our volunteer efforts and pro bono legal services, we will do our part to alleviate the symptoms of systemic racism. For example, we will continue our efforts to eliminate healthcare disparities and to keep people in their homes by preventing evictions. We will use our Smith Anderson Community Fund to provide new or increased financial support to non-profits working for racial justice. We will seek out opportunities for long-term partnerships with Black and other minority-owned businesses. We will continue to look for opportunities to lead change in our community. And, most importantly, we are urgently exploring new efforts to support the Black community. We will accomplish this by encouraging participation in our efforts by every member of our firm while also strengthening and expanding our collaborative relationships with other organizations and leaders in our community.
We join arms with all those reshaping our society into one where all Black lives matter to everyone, not only today, but for as long as it takes for the promise of justice and equality to become a reality for all.
Smith Anderson Blount Dorsett Mitchell & Jernigan LLP
Byron B. Kirkland, Managing Partner
Amy M. Batten, Management Committee Chair
Gerald F. Roach, Firm Chair
Sharita M. Whitaker, Diversity & Inclusion Committee Co-Chair
Kerry A. Shad, Diversity & Inclusion Committee Co-Chair