Shartsis Friese Reaffirms Commitment to Racial Justice and Equality; Commemorates Juneteenth with a Firm Holiday

The last few weeks have been remarkable in our country and around the world as people of all backgrounds have spoken out, protested, and engaged in important conversations about racial equality and justice. In response to recent events, the Shartsis Friese LLP Management Committee sent out the following statement to our lawyers and staff, which we will follow up with concrete actions.

While our Firm has refrained in the past from commenting on political issues because our people have a variety of views about most issues, the present circumstances extend beyond politics and require a response. The senseless death of George Floyd, following so closely after the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, the frustration and anger that have caused protests across the country, and some of the responses by the public, police and politicians, remind us that our society has a long way to go to deal with racial injustice. While these tragic deaths affect us all, we must acknowledge that many are in pain and feel isolated and vulnerable simply because of the color of their skin. As a society we need to do everything possible to bring an end to racial violence and discrimination. As a firm, we stand united as a community in support of one another, especially those who are hurting and grieving. We are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment, where every person is seen, heard and respected, has a sense of belonging, and has an equal opportunity to succeed. We will be following up on specific measures to improve our Firm in this regard, and we invite your suggestions as well.

This Friday, June 19, 2020, also known as Juneteenth, the lawyers and staff of Shartsis Friese LLP will pause to commemorate and celebrate the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth memorializes the date (June 19, 1865) that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that enslaved men, women, and children were now free. This notification took place two and one-half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. In light of current events, the Firm will be closed for Juneteenth this year to allow our lawyers and staff to celebrate and to reflect on how we can individually and as a community combat racism and promote racial justice and equality.