Racial Equity: What You Can Do

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What You Can Do

Advocate for Change

Take Action
Visit the State Bar of Wisconsin Advocacy Network to stay informed on priority state and federal legislation, and build relationships with your lawmakers.

Stay Connected
Subscribe to Rotunda Report, the e-newsletter from the State Bar of Wisconsin’s government relations program; follow @SBWRotundaRpt on Twitter; and contact org dmartin wisbar Devin Martin, grassroots outreach coordinator.

Help Your Communities Get Out and Vote

The November election will be here before you know it. Amidst COVID-19, many people will want to know how to vote via absentee ballot, and lawyers can help their communities understand the timelines and requirements for doing so. In addition, Wisconsin municipalities are expected to be short of poll workers. Help fill this void. Read the 2020 Election Voting Guide​.

Volunteer Your Time

Use your lawyering skills and truly make a difference. Volunteer your time and talents to the organizations listed below:

Wisconsin Free Legal Answers offers brief and free online civil legal services to income-eligible people.

Legal Action of Wisconsin provides free legal services to low-income people who would be denied justice without help. Volunteer for the Volunteer Lawyer Project or Eviction Defense Project.

Wisconsin Judicare is a nonprofit law firm that provides equal access to justice for residents living in Wisconsin’s northern 33 counties and 11 federally recognized Indian tribes.

ACLU Wisconsin is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, private organization dedicated to defending civil liberties and civil rights of all Wisconsin residents.

Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee helps provide free legal assistance to low-income Milwaukee residents with civil legal problems.

Marquette Volunteer Attorney Legal Clinics provide free brief legal advice to the Milwaukee community.

Milwaukee Justice Center addresses the unmet legal needs of Milwaukee County’s low-income unrepresented litigants through court-based programs and legal resources.

Educate Yourself about Racism & Bias

Learn more about racism, bias, and what you can do to help improve racial equity in the legal system. Check out the resources listed below:

July/Aug 2020 Wisconsin Lawyer magazine

On Racial Equity: 26 Voices
What does this moment in American racial, social, and legal justice reform mean to the legal community? We invited a cross-section of lawyers to tell us.

Learn from Thought Leaders

On Racial Equity: 26 Voices (July/Aug. 2020): What does this moment in American racial, social, and legal justice reform mean to the legal community? We invited a cross-section of lawyers to tell us.

It's Time to Address Racial Inequities in Elder Law (Aug. 14, 2020): Attorney Carol J. Wessels discusses areas of apparent racial inequity within the elder care system in U.S. society.

WAAL Presidents Discuss Racism, Protests (June 17, 2020): Presidents of the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers discuss police brutality, civil unrest, and what the legal community should do to effect change.

Real Talk Virtual Summit on Racial Justice (June 5, 2020): Sponsored by madison365.com, Black community leaders discuss government policy, corporate leadership, and criminal justice and education reform.

Lawyers are Central to Helping ‘Others’: Acclaimed author, veteran, Rhodes Scholar, and CEO, Wes Moore says lawyers have a large role when it comes to fixing cycles of poverty.

Race and Policing: A Roadmap to Reform: Prof. Samuel Walker, a national authority on police accountability, discusses efforts to address racial bias and reform policing techniques. Lawyers play a crucial role in protecting the civil liberties of all persons – especially persons of color – during encounters with police.

Wisconsin’s Mass & Disparate Incarceration: How Did We Get Here? This article explores the realities and costs of mass and disparate incarceration for Wisconsin residents and communities and how Wisconsin might change course.

Bryan Stevenson at AMC: “We Cannot Create Justice from a Distance”: Alabama public-interest attorney says we need to get closer to the injustices that are happening in our communities. “We cannot create justice from a distance.”

‘Duty to Act:’ 15 Ways to Personally Combat Racism: Presidents of the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers discuss what the legal community should do to effect change.

From Lip Service to Commitment: A More Inclusive Profession: Despite stronger support in recent years for diversity and inclusion within the legal profession, progress is lagging. Here’s how legal employers can pick up the pace for attracting and retaining a wide range of talent.

Don’t Forget About Women Lawyers of Color: Women of color in the legal profession must deal with the belief that traditional gender roles of women are at odds with the necessary attributes of a good leader and stereotypes about people of color that are applied to women with extra force.

WAAL Presidents Kristen Hardy, Makda Fessahaye, and William Sutton

WAAL Presidents Discuss Racism, Protests
Presidents of the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers discuss police brutality, civil unrest, and what the legal community should do to effect change.

Understand Your Implicit Bias

Know Your Bias: Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge Carl Ashley took the Harvard Implicit Bias Test. Find out what he learned.

Read the ABA’s report on interrupting bias in the legal profession, You Can’t Change What You Can’t See, designed to reduce the effects of bias in law firms and corporate legal departments.

Review ABA resources on implicit bias.

Take the Harvard Implicit Bias Test, designed by researchers at Harvard University, tests our implicit associations about race, gender, sexual orientation, and other topics.

Bias Worksheet: Understand how bias affects you.

Bias Worksheet: Shield against bias coming your way.

Read, Listen, Watch – Take a Challenge

Learn how to talk about racism, racial identity, and the way these forces shape every aspect of society at The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture online portal, Talking About Race.

Take the ABA’s 21-Day Racial Equity Habitat-Building Challenge© . Take up the challenge with your law firm or organization. It will open minds and enhance needed dialogue.

Scan an in-depth list of resources and tools on the ABA’s Racial Equity in the Justice System website.

Review State Bar of Wisconsin resources and toolkits that explain why diversity and inclusion matters, and how to bring diversity to State Bar leadership.

Read a book, listen to a podcast, or watch a movie with your family. Check out this website for resources on raising anti-racist children and other things you can do to fight racism.

Take a Class

  • YWCA Madison offers a Racial Justice Series of learning experiences to develop a foundational understanding the System of Racial Inequity.
  • YWCA Southeast Wisconsin offers About Unlearning Racism: Tools for Action©.
  • YWCA Rock County offers racial justice outreach including its 6th annual Racial Justice Conference on Nov. 12, 2020 and monthly conversations on race and current events.
  • YWCA Green Bay, in conjunction with The Privilige Insititute, offers "Where We Live: Green Bay Virtual Town Hall" series.
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