In addition to the unprecedented challenges of 2020 sparked by the global health crisis of Covid-19, we are in a period of national outrage and anguish over the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. These acts are just the latest in a tragically long list of violence against Black Americans, but they have sparked a recognition around the globe of a truth which Black Americans live every day: racism throughout the United States continues to endanger lives, delay justice, and suppress equity.
The FCBA stands with our Black members and staff, and our Black past, present, and future leaders. We understand that we must work as individuals and as an organization to make our bar, our industry, the legal profession, and this nation a place where every person feels valued and safe.
The FCBA is a bar association comprised of people who care deeply about the world around us. We also work in a field with a boundless capacity to help bring about profound change in our society. Our compassion, combined with the nature of our industry and our collective experience in law and policy, sets us up to be a force for good. Indeed, the same technologies and policies that have shrunk the world around us—cameras on phones, broadband, and more—have also led to enhanced transparency and accountability. And they have made it much harder for abuses to hide under cover of darkness, denial, and silence.
Our members may disagree on tech policy, but we all agree that technology has the power to drive inclusion and equity. Our members may work in different communications industry sectors, but we all agree that forming real connections—including through virtual communities—can help reduce conflict. Our members may represent competing platforms, but we all agree on the importance of freedom of the press in covering this critical issue.
And so we take this moment to ask of our FCBA community: How can we come together as lawyers—specifically, as lawyers in the communications and technology industry—to further the cause of justice and undo the harms of racism? How can we help form and strengthen constructive connections in communities? What role can we play to move this nation forward? Many FCBA members and the companies and organizations for which they work are already constructively engaged in these issues. We thank you and look forward to drawing on your expertise.
We pledge to consider how existing and future FCBA programs can further these goals. For example, our newly launched Summer Series for Students presents an opportunity to engage diverse law students in our bar, and we plan to continue that effort in a more targeted manner as we continue to build our Diversity Pipeline Program. The Young Lawyers Committee Charity Auction historically has supported organizations that are focused on raising up the local community here in Washington, D.C. The FCBA Foundation, through its scholarship and stipend programs, helps diverse students access college and law school opportunities that otherwise might be cost-prohibitive.
While we are proud of our past and continuing efforts, we recognize that they are not enough. There is much more we can do, and this must be the beginning of a new stage of the conversation about diversity, inclusion, and equity in our bar and beyond—a conversation that does not fade away, but that leads to real, concrete change.
We encourage you to read this article written by Sanford Williams, Director of the Office of Communications Business Opportunities at the FCC and a co-chair of the FCBA Diversity Committee, https://medium.com/@williamswwjd5/its-not-just-about-george-floyd-cb02a5b82775, and to think about the actions all of us can take to help our bar, our profession, and our world move forward into a more inclusive and just future.
FCBA Executive Committee
FCBA Foundation Board of Trustees