Welcome from the Chair and Vice Chairs
Martin Luther King notably and poignantly said “in the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” We, as the Chair and Co-Vice Chairs of the Minority Bar Committee, as Black lawyers, cannot be silent any longer. The mission of the Minority Bar Committee is to “assure full and equal participation of minorities in the PBA, the legal profession, and the justice system in general.”
We uphold the core values and beliefs of our mission as seen in our programming and initiatives. Now more than ever we remain committed to our diverse membership and allies in the seemingly endless fight for equality and fair treatment under our justice system.
We have consistently demonstrated that Black Lives Matter by highlighting relevant materials in our newsletter, “Houston’s Legacy.” You may read past issues here https://www.pabar.org/site/For-Lawyers/Committees-Commissions/Minority-Bar/News-and-Publications/Publications.
As you are certainly aware, unarmed Black Americans, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks were murdered by law enforcement or citizens purporting to affect a citizen’s arrest. Prior to these murders we were just grappling with understanding how the pandemic was disproportionately affecting Blacks, Latinos alongside other marginalized communities and why some individuals chose to use this pandemic to target minorities. Minorities have been under attack since the start of the pandemic. For example, there were reports of Asian discrimination and hate crimes because the origin of the virus is Wuhan, China. Blacks and Latinos were getting ill and dying at a much higher rate.
Sadly, the video captured murder of George Floyd caused us to once again fear for ourselves, our children and loved ones. While we are moved by the international movement that recently emerged to end systemic racism there is considerable work that needs to be done before the just system the Minority Bar Committee desires becomes a reality.
With the recent wave of racial injustices in America several companies and employers have issued statements in solidarity with the Black community, employees and customers. Now more than ever people are looking for ways to help end these disparities and blatantly racist applications of the law and to end the use of unjust practices in law enforcement.
We want to take this moment to remind all members of the Minority Bar Committee that we are here for you. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss these issues, your feelings, develop a potential program or event, or anything else that may be of concern.
Further, we invite all members of the Pennsylvania Bar Association to help further this discussion by becoming a member of our Committee and registering and attending our Diversity Summit on October 7, 2020.
Finally, we ask that all members of the Pennsylvania Bar Association commit to the mission of the Minority Bar Committee by adding your voice, mind and hands to “assure full and equal participation of minorities in the PBA, the legal profession, and the justice system in general.”
The African proverb states “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Let’s go far.
In your service,
Tyesha C. Miley, Chair
Tony J. Thompson, Co-Vice Chair
Anthony Cox, Co-Vice Chair
PBA Minority Bar Committee 2020-2021
The mission of the Minority Bar Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (hereinafter PBA) is to assure full and equal participation of minorities in the PBA, the legal profession, and the justice system in general. In order to achieve this mission, the Minority Bar Committee will:
- Identify and promote opportunities that allow minorities within the legal profession to participate fully in the work, responsibilities, and rewards of the PBA and the legal profession in general. Included in this objective are matters relating to the advancement of minorities within law firms and other professional and business entities, job opportunities for minorities, elimination of racial discrimination in the legal profession and within the broader community, and effective avenues for minority lawyers and judges to avail themselves of opportunities within the PBA to address issues of special interest to minority lawyers.
- Monitor the current status of minorities in the legal profession and the justice system in general, identify their career paths and goals, and actively promote their advancement and achievement.
- Develop educational programs in the way of seminars and surveys, among other measures, to address discrimination against minorities within the legal profession, and the justice system in general.
- Make recommendations to the PBA Board of Governors and House of Delegates for action on issues affecting minorities within the legal profession and the justice system in general.
- Make recommendations to the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of government, and other groups within the justice system on issues affecting racial minorities and their communities in accordance with the PBA Bylaws.