"We have to tell a different story"
Provoking thoughtful discussions for US Black History Month
To launch our celebrations of US Black History Month in February 2020, White & Case invited Dr. Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., chair of the Department of African American Studies and James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, to share his thoughts about racial issues in US society and within workplaces.
On February 7, Dr. Glaude presented "A Third American Founding: Race and the Future of Our Country" live in New York and via videoconference linking the Firm's nine US offices, followed by a robust question and answer session and closing comments from Arva Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League.
Partner Arlene Arin Hahn, Chair of the Firm's Global Diversity Committee, introduced Dr. Glaude while highlighting the Firm's longstanding commitment to diversity & inclusion and our current focus on "belonging," in which all individuals feel seen and accepted as their authentic selves at work and, as a result, are more likely to contribute their best ideas.
Acknowledging the "historical underrepresentation of black talent in big law firms" and the findings in the Center for Talent Innovation's recent report "Being Black in Corporate America," she explained: "We have to talk about race and racial difference in the workplace in order to see greater progress."
Dr. Glaude, who views Black History Month as "an occasion for introspection," agrees that "when we bring our full, authentic selves into a room, it automatically improves the outcomes," with years of data showing that diverse leadership and diverse teams produce the best work product and offer more opportunities for innovative thinking.
In addition, he argued: "We have to begin again" in the US with "a different story" so everyone has "a sense of belonging." Historians describe the period following the Civil War and the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the US Constitution as a "second" American founding, when the modern US nation came into existence and untethered the concept of citizenship from race. Now, we have an opportunity for a "third founding of America, where we can tell a different story about who we are" as a truly multiracial democracy.
"If you are to transform this Firm, you must dare to imagine a bolder vision for White & Case, to push even what you've been doing to the next level." Equally, "a bolder vision is needed" for US society, in which individuals do not need to "mute the particularity of who we are" in order to coexist and where equality, diversity and inclusion "are a reflection of who we are and what we value."
"You can lead the way right here" at White & Case.