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Birmingham Bar Associations Bulletin Summer 2015

... it is increasingly important that we, who are blessed with education and an understanding of the foundation of our democracy, participate in the conversation to address the daunting social ills and challenges that face our country.”" The website that hosts the pledge, www.thebirminghampledge.org, encourages individuals, one at a time, to “sign it, live it, and share it.” The tenets of the pledge strike at the center of much of the tumult and unrest that our country is experiencing, and the message bears repeating time and again. At the beginning of my term as Bar President, I reviewed the BBA Constitution, which states, in pertinent part, that “the purposes of the Bar Association are . . . to exercise a constructive influence among members of the legal profession and upon the life of the community. . .” (Emphasis added). And make no mistake, many of our members are actively engaged with a variety of community groups, churches and civic organizations, and voluntarily leverage their skills to help improve the life of our community. But as our society grows and evolves, it is increasingly important that we, who are blessed with education and an understanding of the foundation of our democracy, participate in the conversation to address the daunting social ills and challenges that face our country. And I encourage the members of our Bar association to do just that - - to actively engage with legislators, and community leaders, in schools and churches and community organizations. As lawyers, we play major roles in judicial and legislative processes within our communities, states and nation. We are largely viewed as “problem solvers” and are truly fortunate to have obtained an education that so many others can only dream about. We have the capability to influence, and to participate meaningfully in efforts to help solve systemic challenges within our communities and our country. I also encourage every member of our Bar association to take the Birmingham Pledge, and to share it with family, friends, and colleagues, and to ask them to do the same. A quote attributed to President Theodore Roosevelt says to “do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” The simplicity of this statement belies its empowering quality but also recognizes the limitations that all of us have. Some of us are more influential than others, and some are more adept as change agents. But all of us share certain commonalities, beginning with an education and an understanding of the history and evolution of our democracy. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. One heart at a time.  That is one way to minimize the strife in our country as we work to know each other and see life through each other’s eyes and walk in each other’s shoes. Make the effort to do that when it is presented to you. We are uniquely positioned to see the world through different perspectives. And as we do that, we should do as we are called to do in many areas of life: lead others into change . . . change that is right and good. The world today is vastly different than the worlds in which many of us were raised. If history is an indication, we will continue to face significant challenges, but we will also enjoy progress and hope. When I visit with my grandchildren, I wonder what the world will look like when they are my age, and I question whether I am doing all that I can to ensure that their world will be as safe as possible and one with opportunity. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. G Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Birmingham Bar Bulletin/ Summer 2015 9


Birmingham Bar Associations Bulletin Summer 2015
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