OCBA's Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion
At its September 2, 2020 regular meeting, the Oakland County Bar Association adopted the following statement regarding its commitment to anti-racism.
OCBA Anti-Racism Statement
In recent months, your e-mail inboxes have likely been flooded with messages from leaders of businesses, large and small, denouncing systemic and institutional racism and proclaiming solidarity with Black individuals. The reality is that one third of the lawyers in the state of Michigan are residents of Oakland County, where approximately 400 of them identify as Black. Fourteen percent of our population also identifies as Black. These numbers are not adequately reflected in our local leadership roles or our legal system, illustrating that systemic racism plagues both our nation and our local community.
If you are an active member of the Oakland County Bar Association, you are aware that in the last couple of years we have made a renewed commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives, and as such, you may have been wondering why a message from us was not among those in your inbox. Statements of solidarity are nice and they serve a purpose, but they are not enough alone. As officers of the court and members of the legal community, we are key participants of one of many institutions that has been used as an instrument to perpetuate systemic racism. As unpleasant as it may be, we need to look internally first in order to help change it. We therefore have a larger responsibility to ensure that our allyship is not merely performative. In other words, it is important to walk the walk all the time.
Our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, therefore, has taken some additional time to craft this interactive statement that requests more than performative allyship. Our statement invites you – as officers of the court and members of our legal community – to join us in combating systemic racism by looking within yourself and contributing what you can.
We ask that you publicly sign on, either individually or as firm to show that you oppose systemic racism. To do so, enter your individual, firm and/or organization name below, along with your e-mail address and click “submit” to be included on the list.
We are asking you to take the time to review and/or participate in one or more of the resources identified by the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, which can be found to the right, if viewed on a PC, or the bottom, if viewed on a mobile device. It is not always easy to talk meaningfully about systemic racism, and there is room for healthy debate regarding approaches to attacking it. The following list has been compiled by our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and we hope you will take the time to engage further by reviewing and/or participating in one or more of the listed items.