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Frier Levitt Speaks Out and Stands Up Against Racism: An Open Letter to our Employees, Clients, Family and Friends

June 5, 2020

To our employees, clients, family and friends,

In its nearly 20-year history, the Firm has never affiliated itself with any particular political party or movement, out of respect for the diverse opinions and positions of our clients and staff.  However, in the wake of the wanton killing of George Floyd, we believe now is the time to take a definitive stand against the unjustified violence against African Americans that has persisted in the country despite the Civil Rights Movement, despite a black president, and despite too many examples of unnecessary police brutality against, in particular, young black men.  At some point, a failure to take a position against wrongdoing means that you’re supporting the wrongdoers.  As a Firm, we want our staff, attorneys and families to know that we condemn what happened to George Floyd in the strongest way, and will do our part to support the peaceful protests against institutionalized violence against African Americans and other minorities.

For those of us who are not persons of color, it is easy to be pulled into the slipstream of opinions focusing on the riots, violence and looting that has spun out of control under the cover of peaceful demonstrations.  For someone white, fully entrenched in the establishment, living in a mostly white community, and isolated from the unique struggles of African Americans, particularly those living in urban communities, sympathy can be challenging and empathy elusive.  However, it is our obligation as human beings, to take time to try to imagine what it must be like to experience the suffering and pain of others, and speak out against it in our social and business circles.  Imagine raising children in a community in which there is a real possibility that your son or daughter may be the victim of police violence.  Imagine having to “train” your son to understand that the police may instinctively assume that you are guilty of a crime, and that the police may punish you with impunity if you challenge them even verbally in a manner that is constitutionally protected speech.  Imagine if the very people paid to protect you, have, at times, used the power of their position and their weaponry to intimidate you and settle deep, racially-based grudges against your community.  Such an environment obviously creates a deep level of fear and mistrust of authority from an early age, but it also creates something more dangerous to the fabric of society – anger and hatred.  Being the subject of such injustice creates divisions in our country that hurt everyone, not just the immediate victims.  We are all part of the human family, and we are all lifted when others are lifted, and downtrodden when others are downtrodden.

We understand that many have focused on the riots and looting.  These heinous acts must stop and the perpetrators brought to justice, but this should not detract from the fact that most protesters are not looting and rioting, but rather are exercising their constitutional right to assemble and speak out against oppression.  We also acknowledge that the vast majority of police would never treat someone in the manner that George Floyd was treated, and many, many police officers are a positive beacon for their communities.  

To our employees, if any of you have been the subject of racism, or feel that the firm can do something to contribute to the movement against the type of violence and racism that killed George Floyd we encourage you to reach out to any one on our management team. We are committed to using the Firm’s resources to help.

How We are Committing to Help

To date, we have taken a few small steps in the right direction.  We have volunteered, and are in active talks, with a pharmacy owner in Minneapolis whose 112-year-old pharmacy was burned to the ground. We have volunteered on a pro bono basis, and are actively working to help a number of pharmacies and healthcare practices owned by persons of color.  We have agreed to donate $10,000.00 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.  The Firm also remains committed to diversity in our hiring and recruiting endeavors. We hope to learn of other ways that we can join the fight and show the world that we will not sit idly by. 

Stay Safe and Be Well,

Frier Levitt