Juneteenth is an important day in American history which we should all know and celebrate. President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, but many Black people remained enslaved until June 19, 1865, when a Union army general finally announced to Texas that all enslaved people in the United States were free.
This day has been celebrated by Black Americans since 1866, but it has thus far had little resonance outside of Black culture. Now, 165 years later and 64 years after the Civil Rights Act ostensibly ended legal segregation and discrimination, the senseless killings of George Floyd and too many others, along with the disturbing use of race against Chris Cooper, have resulted in widescale recognition that racial oppression continues to be embedded into our systems.
For many in America, this understanding has long been in plain sight. Black people have recognized and experienced racial injustice for generations. But these events appear to have activated non-Black Americans in a new way. Those of us who have not received the message before are both hearing and understanding it now.
Only when a critical mass of America acknowledges and accepts that systemic racial injustice in America is real and continues to plague Black people, and other persons of color, can we start to effect change. Frost Brown Todd believes that America is ready to push for the changes needed to realize a more fair and just society for all Americans. And Frost Brown Todd is ready to be part of that critical mass that will pave the way for change and will contribute to the critical work that will follow.
Frost Brown Todd has focused on diversity and inclusion efforts for well over a decade. We recognize, however, that we must do more. Our leaders, attorneys, and business professionals must all do more. And today we kick off just that – doing much more for not just our Black colleagues, but those in our local communities. Specifically, Frost Brown Todd commits to the following strategies and efforts moving forward:
- Create and maintain forums for open dialogue among ourselves and with our communities about racism and racial injustice and what must be done to effect change.
- Further educate our leadership and colleagues on racial injustice and the need for each individual to take ownership in effecting change.
- Provide support resources to our colleagues most affected by racial injustice.
- Provide meaningful tools and resources for our allies, who are eager to promote racial justice.
- Provide financial support and personnel resources to organizations focused on racial equality.
- Relentlessly pursue more diversity and greater inclusion in our membership and leadership ranks.
We take pride in being an organization that genuinely cares about its people. We recognize that our Black colleagues are grieving. The rest of us are grieving with you. We extend our condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives to racial violence. Injustice wounds not only its direct victims, but all of society. As we come to terms with the injustice suffered by the Black community, let us take this opportunity to recognize that our educations are never complete, our perspectives are always limited by our individual experiences, and the fight for racial justice will not conclude with a few weeks of action. Justice requires an ongoing commitment to fighting injustice everywhere. Black lives do matter.
This statement was issued on June 19, 2020, by the following members of Frost Brown Todd’s leadership team:
Kim Amrine | Director of Diversity & Inclusion
Adam Hall | Chief Executive Officer
Kimera Hall | Diversity & Inclusion Committee Chair
Robert Sartin | Chairman
For more information, visit Frost Brown Todd’s Diversity & Inclusion page.