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Liberty & Justice... for All?: Confronting Systemic Racism and Addressing Civil Unrest

On the heels of recent tragedies, including the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks, our nation is experiencing unprecedented civil unrest and has reached an inflection point. Protesters, advocates, and lawyers have united to demand meaningful change; are calling for an end to systemic racism, police brutality in communities of color; and encouraging personal and institutional reflection to further anti-racism. These protests remind us that Black Lives Matter, and that justice and fairness for all are fundamental cornerstones of our nation.Young lawyers have a critical responsibility as officers of the legal system, and as public citizens, to pursue and ensure quality of justice in America. To help drive the conversation, the ABA Young Lawyers Division is launching a five-part program series in support of racial equity, meaningful change, and justice.

This event, originally airing July 8, 2020, was the first in the series. This "fireside chat" style conversation was a candid conversation with thought-leaders Robert Grey and Lonita Baker, who will provide a unique perspective for today’s young lawyer based on their respective experiences.

During the in-depth conversation, Grey and Baker examined the state of our society, evaluated how we arrived at this current inflection point, and addressed the impact of these tragedies and broader systemic racism on communities of color.

Grey and Baker closed by addressing the question, “Where do we go from here?” Robert Grey Jr., serves as the President of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD). Founded in 2009, LCLD is an organization made up of more than 320 corporate chief legal officers and law firm managing partners, working together to build a more open and diverse legal profession. From 2004 through 2005, Robert Grey served as President of the American Bar Association, being only the second African-American to do so in the Association’s history. Lonita Baker serves as an attorney at the Sam Aguilar firm in Louisville, Kentucky. Recently, Ms. Baker has received national notoriety due to her vigorous representation of the family of Breonna Taylor who was murdered in her home by the Louisville Metro Police Department in March 2020. Ms. Baker also serves as vice-president of regions and affiliates for the National Bar Association (NBA).