PRESS RELEASE BY: La Raza Lawyers Association, Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California and Black Lawyers Association
Rain or shine, Come and Join your Community to Demonstrate for EQUALITY and REPRESENTATION!
When: Wednesday, January 20, 2010. At 4:30 – 6:30 pm
Where: Santa Clara County Bar Association Office
31 North 2nd Street, (at Santa Clara Street), Downtown San Jose
Last month, the Minority Bar Coalition learned that the Santa Clara County Bar Association has eliminated the Vietnamese American community and significantly reduced the Latino community participation in the process of selecting judges. The County Bar Association took an unprecedented step in increasing its Judiciary Committee to 30 members. Yet there is no Vietnamese American attorney, and only 1 Latino and 1 African American attorney on this committee. This is the lowest representation of Vietnamese, Latino, and African American attorneys in decades. The County Bar Association has other Asian American members on the Judiciary Committee, but failed to meet basic standards of representation for these important underrepresented groups.
The County Bar Association established a Blue Ribbon Commission on Diversity and asked over 20 large firms and corporations in the Silicon Valley to extend their diversity efforts and to do more than they had been doing to ensure social equality in the profession, not less. Companies such as Intel, Sun and Google participated in the Commission and have led the way in showing that they care about diversity.
We urge the County Bar Association to follow suit.
Asian Americans, Latinos and African Americans make up nearly 60% of the population in the Santa Clara County, yet only about 18% of judges in the County. If we are to have an inclusive and representative judiciary, we must start with the premise that the gatekeeper committee for judicial appointments must also be representative.
The Minority Bar Coalition met and conferred with the County Bar Association and provided them numerous, extremely well-qualified candidates to appoint. Unfortunately, the County Bar Association insists that its Judiciary Committee need not be representative of the county or community at large. The appointments process is completely within the discretion of the President of the County Bar Association, Mark Shem. We urge him to act swiftly to remedy this disparity.
*Minority Bar Coalition condemns the lack of diversity on the Judiciary Committee of the Santa Clara County Bar Association and urges President Mark Shem to appoint a representative body that properly reflects the community in Santa Clara County in this important screening committee for local Judges.
* Minority Bar Coalition of Santa Clara County:
La Raza Lawyers Association; Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California; Black Lawyers Association; and Asian Pacific Bar Association of Silicon Valley.
Others groups in support:
ACLU of Northern California, San Jose Office; La Raza Roundtable of San Jose; National Latino Peace Officers Association, Santa Clara Chapter; Asian Law Alliance; Organization of Chinese Americans; Silicon Valley Chapter; and BAYMEC.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
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