To our Clients, Alumni/ae, and Friends,
In 1991, I watched a video of LAPD officers savagely beating an unarmed man, Rodney King. I was horrified and shocked, but believed that there would be consequences. In 1992, as I was just beginning my legal career, I was devastated as the law let us down and not one of the officers involved was found guilty of using excessive force.
Many African Americans did not share my shock, understanding what I did not: This story began long before 1991. And since then, I have been devastated by a seemingly endless cycle of police brutality and racial injustice: Amadou Diallo, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd. These names are lives to be remembered.
As a firm, Morrison & Foerster stands against this injustice. We stand not only against police brutality, but also against the racism that we see poison and destroy so much around us. We see this racism in the senseless murder of Ahmaud Arbery, the disproportionate number of African Americans and Native Americans who have died of COVID-19, the rise of anti-Asian discrimination and bias related to COVID-19, and the disproportionate numbers of African Americans and Latinos incarcerated in our country. We believe to see it and call it out is the first step of many that we must take to do more.
While the firm has a historical commitment to diversity and racial justice, we must do more to help, take action, enact change, and protect our colleagues, clients, and communities.
Today, I want to share with you what I shared with our attorneys and staff. Beginning immediately, we will concentrate our efforts in four areas at both the individual level and the firm level: education, legal services to support racial justice, charitable donations and community action. In the days and weeks to come, we will share the specifics of what we are doing in each of these areas through The Morrison & Foerster Foundation, our pro bono work, and other community engagement work.
As I reflect on these incidents, I am reminded of Martin Luther King Jr.'s words, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
We will not be casual observers to injustice. We will do more, and we will do it together. We hope you will too. If you would like to partner with the firm in any way to fight injustice, please reach out to us.
Larren M. Nashelsky, Chair
Morrison & Foerster LLP