How Lawyers Can Be Good Allies: A Strategic Engagement Conference

This post is by Kelly Dermody, Managing Partner of Lieff Cabraser’s San Francisco office and chair of the firm’s employment practice group.

Around 4:00 a.m. on November 9, I knew something fundamentally had changed. Our civic institutions, impartial judiciary, fair elections, and rule of law had been openly mocked and undermined.

Entire communities – Muslims, Latino Americans and Mexicans, African Americans, LGBTQ people, Americans with disabilities, and women – had been targets of demeaning slurs during national political discourse, and this had not been repudiated.

Over the course of the first week after the election, the Southern Poverty Law Center recorded nearly 500 incidents of intimidation targeting people of color, Muslims, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, and women.

But I knew that we were not powerless. Disenfranchised communities have always faced threats and backlash. We couldn’t curl up and hide now, especially those of us with the power and access of the legal system, education, documentation, and/or economic advantage. Something had to be done for more vulnerable people and communities.

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