Section of Litigation

Message from the Chief Diversity Officer

Chauntis Jenkins-Floyd, the Section of Litigation's Chief Diversity Officer

Chauntis Jenkins-Floyd, the Section of Litigation's Chief Diversity Officer

The year 2020 isn’t over yet, but it is already unforgettable. I truly have a greater appreciation for all the things in my life that really matter. I hold life, good health, family, and friends dearer than ever before. Pivoting is now a part of my daily exercise routine. While I am grateful for all that I have, I am deeply humbled by the immense loss that humanity has experienced. As a woman, my heart aches when I reflect on the deaths of Breonna Taylor and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, although in different ways. I celebrate the life of Justice Ginsburg, yet I am simultaneously exhausted by the ongoing indifference toward the life of Breonna Taylor.

What does the death of one woman have to do with the other? At first glance, they appear very different. Yet, if we look past their age and the color of their skin, there are striking similarities. Both were strong women. They both came from diverse backgrounds. Both had professions that served the public. Justice Ginsburg’s landmark dissent in case of Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company paved the way for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Arguably, Breonna Taylor benefitted from this law because it reduced the gender wage gap for women. They were both victims of discrimination and they forced this nation to reevaluate its moral compass. Justice Ginsburg died fighting for justice and Breonna Taylor died due to injustice. Before their deaths, both led meaningful and purposeful lives.

The commonalities between Breonna Taylor and Justice Ginsburg underscore why truthful discussions regarding diversity, equity and inclusion are relevant more than ever. The social unrest and racial injustice that has been highlighted in this COVID-19 environment demand that we work together to ensure that unconscious bias and systemic racism are erased from the legal system. The Section of Litigation is the pulse of the ABA and together, my friends, we are perfectly suited to lead this discussion. Diversity adds value to the Section of Litigation and our profession as a whole. I look forward to working with each of you to increase diversity and find inclusive solutions that strengthen our profession.

Chauntis Jenkins Floyd