New York, NY, May 31, 2020 – This evening, Gary M. Wingens, Chairman and Managing Partner of Lowenstein Sandler, issued the following statement to all of the firm's employees:
From: Wingens, Gary M.
Date: May 31, 2020 at 8:00:00 PM EDT
To: All Lowenstein Employees
Subject: Standing Together
Dear Lowenstein Colleagues:
The tragic death of George Floyd, captured in horrifying detail on video, is yet another traumatic event that exposes the deep, unhealed rifts in our society that reach back to our nation’s founding. This murder is another reminder that many Americans–including members of our Lowenstein Sandler family–worry every single day that they or their loved ones may be perceived as a “threat” because of the color of their skin. We stand with those members of our Lowenstein family as we experience this pain together.
Alan Lowenstein established this firm on the foundation of his commitment to equality and social justice. This foundation has never been shaken. Many of us joined this firm because of these core values and we continue to condemn racism, bigotry, and injustice in all of its ugly forms. I share this statement because silence is complicity. It is incumbent on each of us to speak out when we witness unfair attacks against anyone else.
In the workplace, whether we are in the office or working remotely, the first place to start is by really listening to each other and embracing more tightly the principles of inclusion and equity that are hallmarks of our law firm.
Do not be afraid to have what may be considered uncomfortable conversations. Check in with colleagues to see how they are doing. No one should feel that they need to make believe that “everything is okay.” Having these conversations is part of the healing process and brings us closer as a firm.
Here are some additional concrete actions we can take to support one another through these increasingly difficult days and into the future:
- Speak up. The burden of addressing hurtful or insensitive statements and conduct should not rest on the people who are most affected. We all share the obligation to address and correct the consequences of our statements and actions.
- Seek help if you need it. If you need help processing feelings of trauma at this time, please see the resources available on our LSWell resource page, and reach out to CCA, our employee assistance provider, for assistance.
- Support organizations dedicated to fighting racism and bigotry. There are many, such as the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Equal Justice Initiative, and the ACLU. Our firm has proudly supported the work of many of these organizations, as well as the groundbreaking efforts of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice since its founding in 1999 by Alan and Amy Lowenstein.
- Increase our pro bono commitment. Through the Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest, we work to protect the rights of the most vulnerable amongst us, in particular in the areas of civil rights and criminal justice reform. We are only limited in our efforts by our lawyers’ participation rate. Let’s do more!
This statement is not the end of the conversation. In the coming weeks, we will host multiple in-depth discussions exploring the impact of bias and racism on people of color and its corrosive impact on our society more generally, as well as what we can do to support one another.
I hope you will join those important conversations. If you would like to contribute to this programming, please contact Danielle Carr, our Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.
Please stay safe and well.
Gary M. Wingens
Chairman and Managing Partner
Lowenstein Sandler LLP