The last two weeks have been filled with widespread protests in the US and across the world in response to the most recent scenes of our country’s systemic racial injustices. These injustices continue to pervade, despite the years, decades and centuries that tick by. At Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP, we are saddened, angered and horrified by the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and, sadly, countless others that came before them. The gross societal inequities highlighted by these recent events have provoked deep introspection throughout our Womble Bond Dickinson community.
In order to drive meaningful inclusion as a law firm, we need our sights set on consistent improvement and reflection on how we can make things better. It begins not only by speaking out about injustice, but by active listening. And we’ve taken this week to listen, to understand, and to connect internally. Listening to our employees, clients and communities as they share what it's like to be a person of color in our country today is a critical step to inform our unyielding focus on racial equity and our determined dedication to diversity. As attorneys and those dedicated to upholding justice and what is right, we understand the great responsibility we have to stand against injustice – and our firm has been taking action for forward progress since the 1920s, when partner Irving Carlyle advocated for African-American business owners to receive needed city licenses or in the 1950s, another partner, Bill Womble Sr., passionately defended the NAACP when he served as a member of the North Carolina General Assembly and other lawmakers introduced punitive legislation against the civil rights organization. Today and in the years to come, we will continue to search for those important actions we can take to push for progress both internally and within our communities.
Chief among our core values is Respect for the Individual – and inclusion and justice are inseparable from that concept. We stand for increased diversity and opportunity within the legal profession, and we support organizations that promote justice and equality. But we acknowledge that we can – and must – do more.
Our efforts will not stop with speaking out against gross injustices that still exist – this can only be the beginning. We have formed a taskforce of attorneys and staff, which will devise ways to effect meaningful, measurable change through internal dialogue sessions, pro bono efforts, community activism and leadership, and various other critical channels that align to help us make a bold, real difference.
As difficult as these weeks have been, the harder work is yet to come. As a country, we have seen an uprising for progress – and, as a firm, it is within our value set to: condemn institutional racism and injustice, listen actively and empathize with our people and our communities to better understand the issues, and effect positive change for equality – always.