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Be a Drum Major for Justice

Jazzmin Gordon

African American History Month is a time to recognize the revolutionary work and contributions of African Americans. This month we should all take time to remember the strides and sacrifices that were made as it relates to civil rights, the right to vote, the right to education, and the right to achieve the American dream.

As a recently licensed African American attorney, I am reminded of civil rights icon, Justice Thurgood Marshall. One of Justice Marshall's greatest achievements was his victory as a young lawyer in the landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education, where he courageously challenged racial segregation and the doctrine of "separate but equal." Brown v. Board of Education provided the legal framework for the Civil Rights Movement. From there, Justice Marshall went on to become the first African American justice of the Supreme Court, where he successfully used his legal platform to champion equality for all. Justice Marshall paved the way for me and countless other African American attorneys in America.

It is critical, now more than ever, that we recognize the impact that African Americans have had on this country and continue to emulate their courageous actions. Despite the current divisiveness in our country, this is not a time for us to be discouraged. This is a time for us to continue to educate ourselves, work hard, and support each other without regard to race, religion or sexual orientation.

In his infamous Drum Major Instinct speech Martin Luther King, Jr. graciously said,

"Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter."

Here at Quarles & Brady, we all have the opportunity to be drum majors for justice. We can provide our clients with competent and thorough legal services. We can ensure that our clients' rights are protected under the law. We can demonstrate the highest of moral and ethical practices. And we can make a difference in our communities by providing pro bono services to people in need.

So for this Black History Month, I challenge you to not only remember the great achievements African Americans have accomplished in the past, but also recognize our current responsibilities to make this world a better place. Ask yourself: how can I be a drum major for justice?