June 11, 2020 --The Kansas Women Attorneys Association (KWAA) condemns racism and discrimination in all forms, and is recommitting itself to one of our founding principles: “to promote equality and social justice for all people.” Systemic racism is pervasive and we must work to identify and dismantle it within our profession. Every day, inequality and bias impact our minority members, our organization, our friends, our clients, and our legal system. We hear the international call for racial equity in the justice system in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black lives, and KWAA stands in support.
As we listen and learn, KWAA also knows action is imperative to uphold the ideals of our organization. In consultation with its membership and the Minority Women in the Profession, Education and Outreach, Small Firm and Solo Practice, and Public Policy and Gender Committees, KWAA is pursuing the following actions:
- KWAA’s Executive and Minority Women in the Profession Committees are reviewing and evaluating KWAA’s policies and committee structure and responsibilities to determine how KWAA may be improved to better serve marginalized members of KWAA and the legal community.
- KWAA’s Small Firm and Solo Practice Committee is hosting a book club to further educate our members on issues of racial equity in our society. The first book discussed will be White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Race by Robin DiAngelo. Discussion will be held virtually via Zoom on June 18 at 6:30 p.m. with Chief Judge Karen Arnold-Burger serving as facilitator. We invite you to join and hope to continue the book club with additional titles.
- KWAA’s Outreach and Education Committee is exploring opportunities to inform legislators about the judicial system and inform attorneys about the legislative process.
- KWAA is developing a CLE to include a panel of experts to discuss issues of racial inequality in the legal system.
- KWAA is exploring opportunities to financially and professionally support marginalized members of the legal community.
These are not KWAA’s first steps in confronting racial equity in the legal system, and they will not be our last. We are committed to continuing the work and know we can do better. We are always looking for ways to improve and better serve our members and the legal community at large. In the coming days, weeks, months, and years, KWAA is committed to not only reflecting on how we can better support marginalized communities in the legal system, but also taking steps to put ideas into action. We welcome your feedback and ask that you hold KWAA accountable in fulfilling our commitment to promote equality and social justice for all people.
KWAA members with judicial and other governmental positions did not participate in the issuance of this