In the wake of lawsuits and threats of lawsuits against Major League Baseball, Fortune 100 companies, and law firms over their diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, NELA reiterates its commitment to those essential values. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are part of NELA’s core values and essential to the achievement of our mission. When applied in unison, diversity, equity, and inclusion create meaningful representation and involvement of persons with varied backgrounds, experiences, identities, and abilities in every aspect of NELA’s work, each with the opportunity to make robust contributions to the organization without discriminatory barriers. NELA champions the culture of participation and equal opportunity that is woven into the fabric of our mission and vision for workers and workplaces nationwide.
NELA encourages its members to continue to do the hard work of advancing workers’ rights and fostering diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces, including their own. NELA is working with a consultant to help make its own policies and practices more inclusive and equitable and is in the process of revamping its election process and the application to run for the board of directors. Maintaining its organizational commitment to DEI, NELA will continue this work to ensure best practices and to continually improve how it shares information with its members and affiliate organizations about diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
NELA stands with the organizations working to preserve programs meant to ensure equal opportunity to people of all backgrounds despite this country’s history of racism, sexism, and other oppressive ideologies and stands with its colleagues in other parts of the bar who have maintained their commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the face of legal threats against them for those programs. NELA reminds employers that the consequences of refusing to hire and retain a diverse workforce may itself be discrimination, and NELA members are ready to enforce the civil rights of individuals from marginalized communities against those who perpetuate the harms of systemic racism and other oppressive ideologies by refusing to proactively address those harms by working towards diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces.
NELA applauds the efforts of its Affiliates with programs like fellowships and scholarships that have resulted in dozens of jobs and educational opportunities made available to people of historically marginalized identities in the legal profession.
As becomes appropriate, NELA will use its expertise in lobbying and amicus work to defend against the efforts to undermine the diversity, equity, and inclusion programs that have developed in recent decades.