The Federal Bar Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee has had a busy year, intentionally so.
Last year the committee released its first strategic plan, which called for plenty of new programming, said Danielle Mair, diversity co-chair and law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Becky R. Thorson. Mair co-chairs the committee with Vildan Teske of Minneapolis-based Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel.
Just this year the committee already has sponsored 10 programs at various locations and featuring a wide range of speakers, she said. The “signature piece” has been a hate crime series of four programs held at a law firm, a Bloomington mosque, a law school and a conference at the IDS building.
“A big part of this is collaboration with other groups in our community,” Mair said. “We get various affinity bars to co-sponsor events with us.”
Programs in the series covered hate speech and the First Amendment, and hate crimes based on immigration, gender and sexual orientation. The final session covered the rise of hate groups.
“We were able to do a large amount of programming because our committee members are passionate about D&I and willing to commit time and energy to it,” Teske said. “Our goal was, and continues to be, to help make our profession and community as inclusive as possible.”
The programs offer the opportunity for discussion and reflection. “Every interaction with diversity brings understanding,” she said. “I think diverse ideas improve our problem solving and better the judicial system as a whole.”