8 minutes and 46 seconds …
is the time it took for Minneapolis police officers to murder George Floyd. It took the same 8 minutes and 46 seconds for the world to decide it was time to address the pervasive problem of systemic racism.
Miller Johnson has decided that we must engage and be leaders in this fight. Through our commitment to foster an environment to help us identify the biases we each hold and to move beyond them; in our hiring, retention and promotion practices; in how we spend our dollars as a firm; and how we donate our time and legal services, we will show we are committed to being the change we want to see.
We invite you to join us in this transformation.
Please view the first videos in our Conversations for Change series:
“Conversations for Change” reiterates our commitment to engage in the collective conversation regarding racial inequality, social injustice and unconscious bias while explaining this endeavor to positively affect systemic changes requires time and commitment with both internal and forward-facing actions.
- Presenting Conversations for Change. Bob Wolford, Managing Member
- From the Bloodlines of Freedmen and Sharecroppers to Miller Johnson. Shoran Williams
- Racial Justice – Allies in the Classroom. Chelsea Austin
- The American Dream – An International Perspective. Loic Dimithe
“The Conversations for Change Webinar Series” expands on our video series to provide our clients and community an opportunity to engage with thought leaders in the collective conversation regarding racial inequality, social injustice and unconscious bias.
- Friday, February 5, 2021 – Conversations for Change: A Community Discussion
Sarah Anthony, Michigan State Representative, 68th House, Dr. Ashley Baker, Chief Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Officer, Michigan State University, Athletic Department and Rev. Joseph “Joe” Jones, President/CEO, The Hekima Group, LLC and Second Ward Commissioner the City of Grand Rapids have an open and frank discussion, moderated by Bob Wolford, Managing Member of Miller Johnson, on the importance of diversity in an organization and the community. Watch recording.
- Friday, June 4, 2021 – Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Bill and the Response to Racism Against Asian Americans
News reports have become full of coverage of the rise of hate crimes and safety concerns amongst Asian Americans. Miller Johnson’s Robert Schindler held a discussion with special guests Kim McLaughlin and Kim Bellware of the issues and impact of events and the experience of Asian Americans today. Watch Recording
Please read along with us in our Reading for Change series:
“Reading for Change” accepts that much of the work needed to effect lasting change regarding race relations is personal. We all have a different starting point and thoughtful reflection needs to be sustained long after the media glare of these issues wanes. As part of this effort, we would like to recommend books and reference materials that raise these topics for self-exploration, and we have provided all Miller Johnson personnel with copies of the following title to start our series.
- “How to be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi, The New York Times bestselling author and the Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. This work is described by Dr. Brene Brown, Endowed Chair at the University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work as “a groundbreaking approach to understanding, uprooting racism and inequality in our society and in ourselves.”
For those interested, this quarter we’re shaking things up in our Reading for Change series and listening to a short Code Switch podcast on NPR. The podcast we’ve selected is:
Two close friends both suffered from the same aggressive form of cancer. After years of treatment, one lived and the other died. And while many variables factored into what happened, the woman who survived — reporter Ibby Caputo — couldn’t help wondering what role race had played in the outcome.
Other books to consider include:
- “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander
- “I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness” by Austin Channing Brown
- “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
This effort intends to give voice to the experiences of our colleagues and expand our collective understanding of what it means to be black in America.