We mourn the unconscionable and senseless killing of George Floyd, and so many other Black lives this year, and every year, at the hands of those professing to protect and serve. We acknowledge the brutality and racism that too many of our brothers, sisters, and siblings have had to endure all our lives. We all grieve the loss and feel the pain, anger, frustration, and worry as our country faces a crossroads of despair and determination, of darkness and light. We must join together now to address and defeat systemic and institutional racism.
I can’t breathe is a literal and figurative cry of suffering that so many unheard, unseen American people and communities of color have had to swallow – their needs, their dignity, their very breath – in order to survive in a world that devalues their minds and souls, and their very lives.
In this era of COVID-19, which had already laid bare the systemic racial inequality in the U.S. and around the world, we felt we were almost at the breaking point. Then we realized that the pandemic, as horrendous as it continues to be, is only another tangible manifestation of the injustices that Black and Brown Americans are forced to endure.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
So we at PBI join with you as you rededicate yourselves to intensify the fight for justice for George Floyd, for breath for underserved and marginalized people everywhere, and for access to justice and equality for all.
In response to the pandemic, PBI pivoted to its first-ever Virtual Conference to keep providing the important content and resources of our Annual Conference.
The Virtual Conference spanned the entire month of June and featured dynamic keynote speakers addressing racial equality and voter suppression issues. Many sessions are still available through West LegalEdcenter and offer CLE credit. For example, check out The Poverty Penalty: the Criminalization of Poverty through Driver’s License Suspension, or Using Media in Your Cases: Perspectives from the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund.
On October 1, PBI presented the 2020 John H. Pickering Award and 2020 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Awards during the premiere of its Awards Gala.
The Business Community’s Role in Championing Racial Justice
Released in February, ‘The Nature and Prevalence of Pro Bono Partner Roles Globally’, produced by law firm DLA Piper*† with the Australian Pro Bono Centre, Pro Bono Institute, and the Thomson Reuters Foundation, traces the rise of the pro bono partner role around the world.
The 2020 PBI Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® Report showed another healthy year for pro bono programs. The report looks at the pro bono performance of firms that are signatories to the PBI Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge initiative during the 2019 calendar year. Firms reported performing a total of 4,993,398 hours of pro bono work in 2019, a result on par with record-breaking 2018, despite one less firm reporting. This is only the second time signatories have collectively hit the 5 million hours mark since the implementation of the Challenge in 1995.