Fredrikson & Byron stands in solidarity with the Black community, including our colleagues, clients and friends. We share the pain, frustration and anger at the persistent racism and inequality that the Black community faces every day. We are at an inflection point in our history. As a Firm, we are committed to identifying and confronting bias, systemic racism, and social and economic injustice, both in our communities and at the Firm.
Expressing our anger and empathy in the face of recent events is critically important, but it is not enough. Discussions about justice, human rights, and social and economic equity are hollow if we fail to take direct actions to ensure the same for Black people. We recognize we must do better.
Fredrikson & Byron pledges to do more to tackle this challenge by focusing on these key priorities:
As members of the legal community, we have a role to play in improving equal access to justice, and we take that responsibility seriously. Through our pro bono work, we continue to have a direct impact on many underserved communities and on racial justice issues. Through our financial support and service through our Firm and the Fredrikson & Byron Foundation, we support organizations that work to provide equal access to justice.
In recent weeks, to support important work for racial equity and justice, and working with Neighborhood Development Corp, Meda, Lake Street Council and Northside Economic Opportunity Network, Fredrikson launched a Rapid Response Program to provide pro bono services to businesses and individuals impacted by the recent riots in Minneapolis, and we will continue that work.
We will also place a priority on providing financial support and pro bono assistance to anti-racism and social and economic justice projects in all communities where we have offices.
Education and Dialogue
Those of us in the majority have an obligation to educate ourselves about white privilege and to acknowledge the impact of racial disparity in our lives. We must better understand the complex social justice issues that are at the core of the current protests.
Talking about race, racism, and social and economic injustice may be uncomfortable, and we are dedicated to creating safe spaces for honest and open communication. We need to learn from each other and to challenge our existing biases. As part of that effort, we celebrated Juneteenth as a firm holiday to allow time for service, reflection and recharging.
Action for a More Diverse and Inclusive Workplace
As a Firm, we must do better. We need to improve the way we hire, retain, develop and promote people of color. We will pressure test our formal and informal policies and practices, including those focused on practice development opportunities, mentorship, work allocation, access to resources and leadership paths. Where we find structures that lead to inequity, we will change them.
The pain of the last few weeks will move us forward only if we expand our role in the fight for justice. After the media attention fades, the real work must continue. Our communities are strong and resilient, and they are ready to face the problem and do the work necessary. We are too.