Thank you for choosing me as your President for the 2019-2020 term. I am honored and humbled to serve as President, and to work with our dynamic Executive Board during this term. We are inspired by the legacy of greatness left for us by our Founding Members and Past Presidents, and are excited by this opportunity to contribute to that legacy, by doing our part in the advancement of equality in our profession.
The Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association is the oldest Black Bar Association in Miami. Established in 1977, the Association was founded during an era when black lawyers faced barriers to full inclusion in the profession. Our Founding Members, Harold Fields, George Knox, Harold Long, Jesse McCrary, Ralph Person, Clinton Pitts and H.T. Smith, sought to systemically advocate for and achieve equal access, equal opportunity, and equal justice in the legal system.
The Boycott Miami Movement, as celebrated during our “Legacy Ball: A Celebration of our Living Legends” last month, is an example of our members’ focus and dedication to these lofty goals. That movement taught us the importance of strategic organization and alliances. The black legal community formed a coalition with other community partners to effectuate change in greater Miami. Our members courageously advocated for change, despite the personal risk. If you missed our Legacy Ball, you missed an amazing, thought provoking party with a purpose.
While strides have been gained in the fight for inclusion and access, there is still much work to be done. As H.T. Smith noted while quoting Charles Hamilton Houston, during our Ball, “For a Black lawyer, you are either a social engineer or a parasite to your community.”
This is the year of the Social Engineer. We will be targeting particular attitudes and social behaviors in our efforts to effectuate change on a large scale. There is much work to be done in the advancement of equality in our profession and in our community. This term begins amongst the excitement of the current political climate and impending elections. We will continue to hold fast to the ideals of this Association and serve as the voice for change, tirelessly advocating for equal access, equal opportunity, and equal justice in our community.
Will YOU join us?
Yours In Service,
Loreal A. Arscott, Esq.
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