‘It is our patriotic duty as Americans to stand up to bigotry,’ ABA president says


HIlarie Bass

American Bar Association President Hilarie Bass. Photo by Len Irish.

Hilarie Bass, president of the American Bar Association, released a statement Thursday saying that the organization is committed to principles of equality and justice in the United States and denounces individuals who try to subvert those values.

“The ABA believes it is our patriotic duty as Americans to stand up to bigotry, to speak out against hate, racism and anti-Semitism whenever and wherever it appears, and to support the rule of law” she said in the statement. “The ABA stands ready to declare loudly and clearly: American values of diversity, inclusion and equality will be celebrated and protected.”

The statement from Bass, co-president of the 2,000-lawyer firm Greenberg Traurig, notes that the ABA has numerous policies supporting equality and nondiscrimination in the workplace, throughout the justice system and in society.

“In fact, one of the ABA’s four main goals is to ‘eliminate bias and enhance diversity,’ ” the statement reads. “Our nation thrives when all, regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation, are treated with respect and afforded the rights and dignity guaranteed by our Constitution,” according to Bass. “An inclusive society makes us all stronger.”

The statement comes in the aftermath of a weekend demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, by white supremacists and neo-Nazis against the removal of a Robert E. Lee statute that led to violence and the death of a counterprotester.

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