To My Community:
This week has been tough. And if I’m honest, it’s been exhausting. In the midst of pre-trial, hearing prep, bar leadership, committee chair work, COVID-19 safeguards, being a entrepreneur, daughter, mom, wife, friend— I have been BLACK in America.
It’s not just another week. It is a week to be more aware and to promote awareness of racist injustices. This week, I have had to remind my friends, colleagues, firm and my pre-teen daughter that while the past week’s focus has been on racism in America and its harsh realities, many of us have lived and been aware of this our entire lives.
Many of those realties began as early as birth and even during our mother’s prenatal care with the awareness of health disparities. Despite humble beginnings, we achieve in great numbers. We succeed in the space of our education. We dominate in our careers. We provide great leadership, both inside and outside, of board rooms. Yet, we remain aware and often face the reality of racism.
Some of it has been cloaked with “implicit biases” while others have been covered with “a comment that was well intended;” but nonetheless it hurts.
On yesterday, we had a MOMENT–as a firm. I reminded my firm, we are the only firm led by an African America woman of its size, in the state of Mississippi and it has its benefits, burdens, and challenges. I reminded them to recall that during each of their interviews, I had mentioned this very important fact. They nodded. I also reminded them that we were up for it and needed their help to make it a success. This week we still do! And they have yet to disappoint. It matters who is helping to hold your ladder. My team needed to hear from me and to know, though we are different, we are together.
As I sat in the Green Conference Room (named in honor of my beloved Daddy, a soldier, activist and minister), I shared my vulnerabilities. I looked into those masked faces and discussed my position on racism, and its impact on me, the firm and US. I shared my frustration, my hurt, my anger and I gave them real examples. One example of being in a classroom as a 3rd grader, whose raised hand was often dismissed—simply because I was Black. I shared stories of my parents’ advocacy for others. And finally, I reminded them of a pivotal firm decision where we took a stand on “calling out” the ways we were being assessed and evaluated differently (more harshly) than other firms, who were doing similar work for a client.
WE needed that MOMENT and space to breathe and to share. We needed the space, as a truly diverse firm, to share our experiences. While some felt comfortable to share in the open meeting and others shared privately—we shared the moment and I’m grateful. We shared the lessons of this being spiritual warfare —good vs evil. Love over Hate or even worse, indifference. And we walked away more hopeful that we could continue to share not only in birthdays, recovery in illnesses, graduations, baby showers, but also in our grief at the state of humanity.
We will continue to share, to reason, to engage and remain vulnerable. I’m grateful that silence is NOT an option. We stand together. We stand against racism, we stand for equality!! We stand because Black Lives Matter.
Now is the time to choose-you are either with US or against US. There is no other seat. The fence is burning! #justicemercyhumility #leadershipmatters
In Gratitude and Solidarity,
Amanda Alexander, Esq.
Founder of Alexander Law, P.A.